Review by Baird Foster
Official publication of the Austin-Healey Club of America
UK publisher Veloce has just introduced a new series of publications titled 'Rally Giants', and 'Austin Healey 100-6 & 3000' appears at the top of the list. Graham Robson, author of the series, holds a worldwide reputation as a motoring historian; indeed, he has long been close to the sport of rallying as a team manager, competitor, reporter, and observer. For the series he has chosen those cars which offered something unique in their time in comparison with their competitors – cars that raised rallying's standards far enough to consider them Rally Giants. Of the A-H 100-6, Marcus Chambers, BMC's first competitions manager, is quoted as saying, "We needed a car with long, hairy legs to stride over the mountains and great lungs with which to rush up the hills ...".
'Austin Healey 100-6 & 3000' reveals how the BMC Competition Department brought the six-cylinder 'big Healey' to be a formidable and specialized rally car in the era from 1957 to 1965. The Austin-Healey 3000 became the world's first 'homologation special', and as such, it started a trend of development and refinement of the total car to take advantage of whatever regulations or categories that were offered by motor sport at the time. The reader learns how the original 100-6 engine of 102 BHP became a fire-breathing 210 BHP rally winner in only five years.
The rally events and the personalities behind the big Healey rally cars, including noted drivers Pat Moss, Donald Morley, Rauno Aaltonen and Timo Makinen, come alive with Robson's memories and descriptions. Many of the 100 well-captioned photos are published for the first time.
'Rally Giants: Austin Healey 100-6 & 3000' provides a richly detailed description of an important part of this marque's history – the big Healeys were outstanding rally cars of their era. Whether you are a casual observer of Healey history or an ardent student of the marque and its rallying successes, this tidy little title will yield a fascinating read and must be on your bookshelf.
Classic & Sports Car, February 2008
'Austin Healey 100-6 & 3000' is the latest in Veloce's handy Rally Greats [Giants] series. The prolific Graham Robson briefly covers model development and competition history to match the wealth of photos, including plenty in color. Even so, $29.95 is a little steep for a 120-page paperback. For more information or to order see www.veloce.co.uk.
Australian Classic Car, March 2008
It's hard to imagine an Austin-Healey 3000 as a top notch rally car. But the 3000 formed an integral part of the British Motor Corporation's Competition Department during the 1960s, and were thrashed from mountain top to river valley over the most inhospitable of road surfaces. This new book by the prolific Graham Robson is one of a series in his 'Rally Giants' collection. The rallies of the '60s are very different than today. Back then, they were events of endurance when the cars and drivers would be hard at it for days on end. While it was the Big Healey that really put the BMC Competition Department on the map, under their direction, the Austin-Healey evolved from a quick road car into the first homologation special. Read how its suspension was beefed up, carburetors changed and the car became lighter and stronger. Writer Robson includes a chapter on the personalities involved – including those behind the scenes and the drivers – before looking closely at the events and Big Healeys used from year to year. There are a number of books covering the Works Austin-Healeys, but there is always room for another good one.