Who will answer the rallying cry for this ex-Pat Moss Austin-Healey?

by Nik Berg
15 March 2023 2 min read
Who will answer the rallying cry for this ex-Pat Moss Austin-Healey?
Photos: Bonhams

The Austin-Healey 3000 driven to a famous victory by Pat Moss in the 1960 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally could be yours.

Pat Moss, for the uninitiated, was the speedy younger sister of Stirling Moss. She won the European Ladies’ Rally Champion five times in the ’50s and ’60s, took outright wins on international events, and married (and drove with!) the Swedish rally driver Erik Carlsson.

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In 1960, Pat Moss and her co-driver Ann “Wizz” Wisdom became the first all-woman crew to win the gruelling Liege-Rome-Liege Rally, which, fittingly, was nicknamed The Road Marathon. Driving the Austin-Healey 3000, the British Motor Corporation-supported pairing faced a 2200-mile route that saw the duo blast across the borders of Germany, Austria, Italy and Yugoslavia during an exhausting 96 hours of almost non-stop driving. And all without a can of Red Bull in sight – but hopefully a bottle or two of Lucozade.

Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom, 1961
Ann Wisdom and Pat Moss (right) posing beside their Austin-Healey 3000, after finishing second overall at the 1961 RAC Rally. Photo: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty

Along the way, in France, gearbox troubles forced them off the road and forced the team to initiate a frantic search for a replacement unit from a local garage. The rally was so tough that just 13 cars of the 90 that entered, made the finish, but in a publicity coup for the British marque the top three were all Austin-Healeys.

Mossie and Wizz had been racing together since 1955 but 1960 was their finest season. They won the Ladies’ Prize at Monte Carlo and Geneva, before switching to the car seen here, took a class win in the Tulip and Alpine rallies, and together took home the Driver of the Year Award. Moss bought the car the following year for £500 but it since exchanged hands several times.

Aside from its storied status, it’s easy to see the appeal for collectors. The big Healey is unusual in that it was only campaigned by Mossie and Wizz, at a time when works cars were usually switched between drivers. And on its dashboard is a pair of Hueur clocks, presented to Mossie and Wizz after they won the Coupe des Dames during the 1960 Geneva Rally in an earlier Healey. The pair fitted the stopwatches to their brand new works car, registration URX 727.

Moss bought URX 727, in 1961, for the princely sum of £500, but would later part with it. After a thorough restoration in its later life Moss and Wisdom were reunited with the car and signed its roof. It is said to come with a wealth of archive material about the car and its intrepid driver and co-driver.

The heroic Healey will be the star of Bonham’s Goodwood Members’ Meeting auction on April 16. Bonham’s estimates that the Healey will rally to £350,00-£450,000. A #1 Concours condition road car of the same vintage is worth just £78,000 according the Hagerty Valuation Guide, but what price can you put on history?

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  • Robin Tyler-Morris says:

    A life long friend of mine owed that car in 1962-3 and used it on many road rallies in this country. I navigated. We always felt very secure compared with VW Beetle’s, Mini’s and Anglia’s around us.
    Sadly my friend is no longer here, but we did catch up with the car when it was exhibited at a number of exhibitions.
    We remembered numerous features that the car had then, which may have been installed after leaving the Works, he was the third owner after Pat. The one I particularly recall was the vertical Gear leaver on a 4 speed gear box, with a switch to select overdrive on 2nd, 3rd and 4th, It was a novelty that was flicked on and off many times on the long bleary eye’d Sunday morning runs home in the bright early morning sun after an all-nighter of that era.

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