The Austin Healey 3000 quickly became famous for not only being a world-class rally car, but also being easily adaptable for road use and personal use.
Throughout the 1960 season, the Austin Healey 3000’s had many successes, and they came back fighting strong the following year. For the 1961 season, they prepared five works examples, which quickly became fondly known by their registration numbers.
XJB 871, the example we are proud to offer here, was prepared by the Works for its debut outing - the 1961 Acropolis Rally, driven by Peter Riley and Tony Ambrose.
Famed for being one of the toughest events of the year, the car proved to be highly competitive and finished without incident – a true testament to the Healey 3000’s strength and reliability. XJB 871 finished 3rd overall and 1st in the GT class. It was also the highest-placed British car.
Riley and Ambrose continued the season with XJB 871, next competing together in the Alpine Rally. Unfortunately, the pair were forced to retire and the car was returned to the BMC, where it soon to be purchased by rally legend Rauno Aaltonen, fondly known as “The Rally Professor” who shipped the car to Finland.
Aaltonen wanted to be as comfortable as possible and spend as much seat time as he could in the Healey rally car to ensure he was as best prepared as possible when competing in his other Healey. Aaltonen purchased XJB 871 in preparation for the 1964 Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally, which he would go onto win, citing his time with the XJB 871 as the key to his success.
In 1965, Aaltonen sold the Healey to Caj Hasselgren, a student at the time. Hasselgren drove the car for about 10 years before putting it into storage, until several years later, embarking on a complete restoration, before returning the car to the road in 1995. The Healey was rarely driven until Hasselgren passed away in 2013.
XJB 871 has the longest single ownership of any Austin-Healey factory competition car, and remained in the ownership of Hasselgren’s family, until this year.
This iconic Austin-Healey represents a unique opportunity to acquire a historically significant example of a legendary factory team car from a golden era of motorsport.