The ex-Works, Pat Moss, Rome-Liege-Liege Rally-winning
1960 AUSTIN-HEALEY 3000 SPORTS 2-SEATER
Registration No. URX 727
Chassis No. HBN7/8446
Engine No. 29D HUH/12161
Red with black interior & white hard-top
Engine: Six-cylinders in-line, push-rod overhead valves, induction by triple 2-inch SU carburettors, 2,912cc developing 150bhp at 5,500rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front independent by wishbone and coil-springs, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and hydraulic shock-absorbers; Brakes: four-wheel Girling hydraulic disc. Right-hand drive.
The natural development programme by the British Motor Corporation's Austin Healey Company introduced the new '3000' model as an improved version of the previous '100/6' type, and noted changes were an enlarged version of the well proven 6-cylinder push-rod unit bored out to nearly 3-litres, whilst suspension was uprated and disc-brakes fitted. By 1959 competition successes had been continually rising, especially with cars in the hands of private entrants and Works-supported entries alike. In 1960 the BMC Competition department prepared a team of special cars to participate in all Major European Rallies, which was a sport enjoying enormous popularity and providing an excellent marketing tool in selling production performance cars from the major manufacturers. The cars were basically standard with the exception of some important modifications which included all aluminium body panels throughout, featuring a louvred bonnet and vented wing panels for extra cooling from the engine bay, a reinforced gearbox with better ratios, a larger capacity long-distance fuel tank, which necessitated a modified boot-lid, larger diameter 2-inch triple-carburettor induction system, and different gear ratios, variable for such events as appropriate. The first outing of a 'Big Healey' in 1959 had resulted in a 2nd overall place in the Deutschland Rallye and a 2nd in class in the Alpine Rally. The new Team cars were ready for action early in 1960, and Pat Moss, who had already achieved much success for BMC products through involvement with Austin and MG, was inducted alongside one of her regular co-drivers Ann Wisdom and early in the season won the Coupe des Dames in the Geneva Rally, following this into their first major International event with the new car in the Tulip Rally in May, wherein this experienced & skilful combination finished a remarkable 8th overall and first in Class. The car at that time appeared in very standard trim having the normal chromed grille and full-width front bumper as well, such fittings being required by regulation, although the car had been fitted with a special lower rear-axle ratio giving much better acceleration, rather than a higher top-speed. Only a month later Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom competed in the more famous Alpine Rally, where driving almost faultlessly in this demanding event, they went one better by coming second overall and again taking the Class win with their astonishing performance, by which time Pat was becoming accustomed to the car which she really enjoyed driving and ultimately claimed to have been her favourite Healey. Amazingly this result was to be eclipsed some three months later in September 1960 this effective duo tackled what is known by most contestants as probably the most gruelling of all the European rallies, the Liege-Rome-Liege event. On form, no doubt some kind of success may have been expected, but what took place was the stuff of legend, for they not only achieved yet another Class win, but this outstanding performance clinched overall outright victory - ahead of not only their Austin-Healey team-mates, but out in front of the best that the rest of the world's top manufacturers could put up in opposition. As a matter of interest, in some of these latter outings, the cars bore a slightly altered external appearance, as changed regulations allowed some of the weighty chrome-ware to be removed, so now the cars had an open grille with skimpy protective mesh guards, and no bumpers, not only saving some weight but also giving the cars their more purposeful, sporting and more functional characteristics. The cars always being equipped with factory fitted hard-tops which gave additional protection to the occupants - and these features combined to give the cars their instantly recognisable distinctive profile. Returning to more standard form, the team again competed in the final round of the International Championship season in Germany for the annual Deutschland Rallye. This time, despite achieving a resounding 100 finishing record as a complete team, Pat and Ann had to be content with 16th placing overall, but with a more pleasing third position in the class awards. However, this really set the seal on what was probably BMC's most successful rallying year, culminating with Pat Moss & Ann Wisdom being crowned Ladies European Champions.
Up until this point the team cars had been road registered in the name of the MG Car Company from their familiar Abingdon address - this was because all the BMC Competitions department activities were controlled through the MG Division of the Corporation. However at the end of the season URX 727 was sold individually to Pat Moss and duly registered in her own name and it was planned to use it in various other events in events during 1961. The car was entered to be driven in the Mille Miglia of that year but for some reason did not start. Then with her continued involvement with the Works team, she found less use for it so the next year the car was sold to David Friswell of Solihull who in turn sold it the following year to another locally based man named Arthur Bloxham. A short listing of owner changes is recorded during the 1960s, until the car was purchased in 1974 by the current vendor. When he acquired the car it was still in remarkably original format, and as a result of his subsequent very sympathetic restoration, it is considered to be one of the most original of the Works Team cars, due to its long-term private ownership - rather than continuing an extended rally or racing career, in which it could have become damaged or had worn-out parts lost or replaced. The car was only some 12 years old when acquired by the present custodian and during his ownership the car has been carefully restored and sparingly used. Work carried out more recently has included an complete mechanical rebuild of the engine by Oselli Engineering, whilst the gearbox has been rebuilt also fitting the original 'Tulip' gear ratios as appropriate for his more recent motor sporting activities with the car in Historic rallying events. Currently the car is prepared ready for further outings in such popular retrospectives, whilst just 4 years ago it celebrated its 40th birthday anniversary, when it became re-united with its famous first successful driver Pat Moss-Carlsson. It becomes the more poignant, as earlier in this same sale we are privileged to offer from amongst her many cups and awards, the Ladies Trophy for the Coupe des Alpes event and various mementos from the Liege-Rome-Liege success; victories achieved with this actual car.
It comes with a full history file, accompanied by the original brown old log-book with entries for the MG Car Company and Pat Moss as first owners. There is also current V5 document, its last MoT certificate, full FIA competition papers etc. An exemplary car with superb provenance and a wonderful competition record awaits a new custodian.