The 1956 Austin Healey 3000 wasn’t exactly the car that it was destined to be, mostly because it was quite under-powered. While it was certainly appreciated for its looks, serious drivers found the lack of torque, and and overall engine power to be disappointing, particularly when compared to previous models on which the car was based. The all-around drum brakes were also considered sub-par, although that was quick to change. 1959 proved to be the year that things started turning around for the Austin Healey 3000, when it was provided with front disc brakes as well as a new engine that did honor to the car.
1959 saw the arrival of a 2.9-liter, straight-six engine developing 124 horsepower and plenty of torque, which was useful in getting the car off the line. Over the years, it was tweaked and adjusted until it produced 150 horsepower. In that incarnation it could push the 3000 to a 120 mph top speed, and accelerate to 60 mph in 10 seconds.
Unfortunately for the Austin Healey 3000, 1967 saw the introduction of new ‘safety’ rules for the US market, which the little car simply could not meet. Since the US was the 3000’s largest market, production ceased soon afterwards. Many at the time, and still today, saw those regulations as nothing more than badly disguised protectionism.