Chatham 3000 S

Austin Healey marque returns, August 2007

The new Austin Healey has a top speed of 135 mph.
The new Austin Healey has a top speed of 135 mph.

A legendary name in sports cars is back in production, more than 40 years after its demise.

Austin Healey fanatic John Chatham has revived the classic two-seater and is manufacturing the updated model at his small garage on the outskirts of Bristol.

The former racing ace has spent years creating his three-litre 3000S which is based on a classic roadster, the DD300. “I couldn’t bring out a Healey that wasn’t up to the marque, that would be sacrilege,” said Mr Chatham.

John Chatham wanted to update his beloved brand.

“I have had a dream for some years to start making Healeys again but I wanted to wait for everything to come together and get the right parts.

“What I wanted was the look, performance and sound of the old Healey but with 2002 science.”

Every detail on the 3000S has been copied from the original racing Healeys which chalked-up many victories at America’s famous Sebring track.

The car, which can achieve 0-60mph in six seconds and has a top speed of 135mph, retails at more than �40,000 from the Chatham-Healey garage in Hallen.

It is constructed using Healey parts and has a state-of-the-art Australian-built 190bhp aluminium engine.

Blood and thunder
Earlier this month the 3000S was well-received at the Austin Healey 50th anniversary festival in Thruxton, Hants. “People like to get out at the weekend and get into a car that’s a bit ‘blood and thunder’,” said Mr Chatham. “It sounds good and feels good, it bounces and rattles a bit but gives a great thrill.” Austin Healeys were manufactured until 1967 when a prototype for the Healey 4000 was vetoed by the firm’s production partner British Leyland.

In all, 80,000 were built and the cars dominated track and rally events around the world.

/J. Bonfils, november 2007