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My 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MkII BT7


This is how former engineer Keith Bailey chose to mark the occasion.  Bailey came to Australia in 1964 and worked at the South Australian Woomera rocket range which is the largest land-based defence and aerospace range in the world and roughly the size of Bailey's home country of England.  "I was an engineer for Rollls-Royce on gas turbine engines until 1972," he said.

Despite living in Australia ever since, Bailey has a keen eye for English beauty such as this model.  It features a 2912cc, straight-six engine capable of a top speed of 112.9mph (181.7km/h), accelerating from 0-100km/h in 10.9 seconds and fuel consumption of 23.5mpg (12L/100km).  It is the only Austin Healey 3000 with triple SU HS4 carburettors.

The British sports car had bodywork by Jensen Motors while the vehicles were assembled at the British Motor Corporation Abingdon works.  They made 11,564 MkII models of which 5096 were the BT7 MkII. Many were raced around the world and even competed at Bathurst.  They cost 1362 when new, but Bailey bought his in 1994 for $17,500.

The car had been imported from the US along with two others by a Brisbane collector.  "The US is the best place to buy them from because a large proportion went over there," Bailey said.  "It was in a right state.  It was in left-hand drive and I had to convert it which wasn't too difficult as it's all bolt-on stuff.  Because it's English all the holes and fittings are already there for righthand drive, but you do have to change the dashboard."

Bailey boasts he did most of the work himself.  However, the gorgeous two-tone paint job and panel work was done by Brisbane renovation specialists Sleeping Beauty.  The restoration is faithful right down to the original Luca magneto, windscreen wipers, horn, lighting and alternator.  The Birmingham motor electronics company was often called the Prince of Darkness because of its high failure rate, however Bailey keeps the faith.

"It's not failed me so far," he says.  "People tend to rubbish Lucas — for good reason I suppose — but a lot of jets used to use them.  "I'm not sure about these days."