1963 - 1967
The Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III, introduced in 1963, is one of the 1950's most endearing British sports cars. That is not a misprint. By the time the Mark III was built, everything about it was obsolete, except perhaps for the character that it oozes from every curve of its muscular bodywork. By the mid-1960s the Austin-Healey was truly anachronistic, representing the style and technology of the previous decade or even earlier.
That said, the 3000 Mark III is probably the most popular big Healey. It has roll-up windows and a true convertible top that really does offer good weather protection, just like the Series BJ7 cars. However, the BJ8 Series car added a walnut burl wood dash panel and a center console that combine to make this the most civilized, most luxurious big Healey built. It is a wonderful car, although a far cry from its roots, the raw and simple Healey Hundred. The 3000 Mark III is more of a grand touring car.
Additional improvements from the Series BJ7 include power-assisted brakes as standard, more power thanks to bigger carburetors, and a slightly softer ride.
The first 1,390 examples of this model are sometimes called "Phase I" and included a cubby box at the rear of the center console. Then, about six months after production of the 3000 Mark III began, the ride height was increased and the cubby box was eliminated, with these cars called "Phase II." 16,322 examples were produced. The increased ride height was a particularly important improvement because earlier Healeys are known for scraping bottom and occasionally even knocking off the muffler when driving over relatively small obstacles!
Upside: The same great looks, perhaps even enhanced (or diminished, depending upon your taste) by extra chrome around the windscreen and windows; true weather protection (although nobody said "perfect"); the most luxurious big Healey; excellent spouse-appeal; excellent resale value; the most civilized big Healey.
Downside: Probably the most expensive big Healey, with the possible exception of some special models; also, "improved" mufflers diminished the lovely throaty sound for which earlier Austin-Healeys are famous.
Bottom line: A great choice, and if you don't mind the cost, probably the best choice for the first-time big Healey buyer, or really any big Healey buyer. You won't look back.