1960 AUSTIN HEALEY 3000 MK1
Engine No: 29D/HU/H12161
Chassis No: HBN7/8446
First Registered: 22/03/1960
The British stiff upper lip and determination to win through at all cost is strength of character that has been handed down through many generations. Without it Britannia would never have ruled the waves neither would we have survived two world wars. It was the British who first conquered Mount Everest, ran a mile in less than four minutes, sailed around the world single handed, held world speed records on both land and water and a host of other achievements. Each era has its own heroes and we must not forget those who have made Britain great and who were sadly killed in their quest to succeed, such names as Sir Donald Campbell, Mike Hawthorn, Peter Collins, Archie Scott-Brown and very nearly Sir Sterling Moss and many more. Let us now cast our minds back to what was the most significant period in British rallying history, a small window in time that sadly will never to be repeated again.
It all started in 1960 when two British ladies driving a British Austin Healey 3000 Mk 1 entered as a “Works” car by the British Motor Corporation, (BMC) won an outright victory in what was considered to be the toughest European rally of the season. The notorious “Marathon” or better known as the Liege-Rome-Liege Rally, competing against the rest of the world’s finest drivers and cars. Pat and Ann were the most famous driver and co-driver combination in the world. Before their monumental victory in the Liege they had teamed up on no fewer than 33 previous rallies and in all a total of 45 rallies before Ann married Peter Riley, another experienced team driver and retired. John Gott (rally driver) once said “Together, the girls form a great team but apart each is less than half a team”.
Pat Moss, sister of Sir Sterling Moss lived at “White Cloud Farm”, Tring, along with a great number of assorted animals and of course was a brilliant horse woman, which was her first love. She had un-bounding energy and couldn’t bear to be still for a single minute. After a tough rally she was quite likely to be found water skiing, then immediately she got home she would hitch up the horsebox and be away to a horse show. Pat smoked a lot when driving, in fact it was a standing joke that you always new were Pat was you only had to follow the fag ends, but she never touched alcohol before or during a competition. The whole team adored her especially the mechanics that respected her for her driving genius and always remembered her in success and failure. Whilst Pat was an extravert, Ann was much more the novelist’s heroine, emotional, temperamental and fastidious. Ann’s parents, Tommy and Elsie were both highly successful racing drivers in the 30’s. They both were holders of the Brooklands 120 mph badges and in 1938 they won trophies for speedboat races. In 1936 they won the International Alpine Trial and went on to compete together until 1951.
Driving an Austin A40 Farina, Pat and Ann opened the 1960 season in the Monte Carlo Rally finishing in a notable 17th overall, 4th in class and 1st Ladies prize. Two months later they were offered an Austin Healey 3000 reg. SMO 746 which had just been driven by the famous “Gentleman” Jack Sears in the RAC Rally at the end of the previous year. The next event was the Lyons-Charbonnieres Rally but unfortunately the rally car for this event SMO 745 was involved in an accident just before the rally and the mechanics had to work all night preparing SMO 746, changing over the registration and identification plates to make it look like 745. Pat described the car as a little warn, because of its last event being the tough RAC rally. This was followed by the Geneva Rally in the other Austin Healey 3000 back to its original registration SMO 745, finishing 7th overall and again winning the Ladies Prize for which they each were presented with a pair of Hueur clocks which were to play a significant roll in Pat’s future rallying carrier.
Along comes a brand new Austin Healey 3000 M1 reg. URX 727 and with it a change of fortune for Pat. Little did they realise that this car was to become the most famous Austin Healey of all time. From the very first minute Pat sat in “Uuuurx”, as it affectionately became known, the love affair had started. “Works” rally cars were forever being swapped around from driver to driver but this was not so in the case of “Uuuurx”. From now onwards nobody would be allowed to drive this very special car other than Pat, who eventually owned the car after its retirement. She immediately fitted the new Hueur clocks to the dashboard where they would remain for the rest of the season.
The first outing for the new car was in the Tulip Rally which took them over the Alps. There excellent time on one of the stages on the famous Col de Turini secured them 8th overall, 1st in class and another ladies prize. It was now obvious that Pat was bonding with her most favourite car. The famous trio was now to take on the Alpine rally, one of the most challenging of all the European rallies. It was the warm up before the Liege a month later. Pat drove faultlessly throughout the rally and the final result was an amazing 2nd overall and another 1st in class and of course the ladies prize.
The success in the Alpine gave the British team, consisting of four Austin Healeys, new confidence for their attack on the toughest event of all, the Liege. This was the big one, ninety six hours without a stop across, Germany, Austria, Italy and into Yugoslavia. Could Pat and Ann improve on their last performance? What was to happen now can only be described as the “Stuff of Champions” but it was going to be far from plain sailing.
From the Start the Healeys were recording top ten times. Peter Riley, who had been suffering from a sticking throttle, lost a fan which penetrated the radiator forcing him to retire. Uuurx went beautifully to start with but Pat and Ann were not without their problems, firstly the overdrive packed up then as they drove through Yugoslavia the clutch started slipping. Pat had insisted, before the start of the rally that a low ratio final drive be fitted to the car for maximum acceleration and was aware that this could put too much strain on the clutch. She became very dejected anticipating the worst. It turned out to be a broken oil seal between the clutch and the gearbox, so they had to keep stopping to squirt it with the fire extinguisher. It was not known at this stage if serious damage had been done to the gearbox. The oil was replaced and a plug from one of the other cars was used. Later their worst suspicions were to become a reality. The gear box had sustained serious damage. There was nothing for it but to replace it.
Doug Hamlin, the chief mechanic, managed to borrow a lift from a garage to carry out the repairs to Pat’s car and after an heroic effort the mechanics changed the gearbox, fitted a French oil seal and got the car away in just under one hour. They were now short of time to make the next stage without disqualification. Ann was left with having to replace parts of the inside of the car whilst underway. Pat, having now driven nearly 90 hours non stop was having trouble keeping awake despite taking wakey wakey pills. She said that she was unable to drive more than 50 mph and was convinced that she was going to be overtaken. However, all the remaining contestants were suffering in the same way. Finally on their arrival in Liege, under a police escort and being showered with flowers and the British National Anthem was playing, to their absolute amazement, they discovered that they had won outright. There were only thirteen finishers out of eighty three but amazingly three Healeys were among them finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class therefore also winning the team prize.
History had been made, it was the girls’ finest hour and also for the British team. Never before had a British crew driving a British car won the Marathon. Never before had an all ladies’ crew won a Championship. Pat and Ann were awarded the “Driver of the year Award” and their famous Liege victory would most certainly have been a deciding factor.
The Healey continued to clock up outright wins and class wins for the next three years and Paddy Hopkirk won the Monte Carlo Rally on that famous 1964 victory when the mini became the “Giant Killer” of the European rally scene, adding also the team prize to their famous victory. All the team cars were immediately retired and used for promotional activities. Paddy’s car appeared with him on the Sunday Night at the London Palladium with Bruce Forsyth.
So it was now the turn of the mini to dominate the European rallies for the next four years with a further outright victory in the 1965 Monte and winning the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in the 1966 Monte but were disqualified on a trumped up lighting technicality. Britain’s window of success stretched over a period of eight years and even today the Healey and the Mini are every bit as charismatic as they were in the 60’s and have achieved iconic status in their own right.
MG Car Co Ltd 1960
Pat Moss 1961
David Friswell 1962
Arthur Bloxham 1963
Woodburn-Lawrence McLean 1963
Keth Aslett 1966
David Crook 1970
William Crook 1971
Peter Butt 1972
GKCC (Traders) 2002
Paul Roberts 7th June 2004
After the highly successful ‘Works’ carrier in the sole hands of Pat Moss/Ann Wisdom the car was sold to Pat Moss in 1961. Bill Price drove the car to Milan for the Mille Miglia, which at this time was a rally. Unfortunately the car never took part owing to a discrepancy with the paperwork.
The 2nd owner was David Friswell who purchased it from Pat for £1,100, Pat having acquired it from the MG Car Co for £500. David used the car for a number of events and sold it on to Arthur Bloxham in 1963. The car was extensively rallied and raced by Arthur Bloxham/Robin Morris winning over 12 events on the Welsh borders (see photos)
In 1972 Peter Butt acquired the car and during his ownership of 30 years entered it in many events including the Pirrelli. It was restored between 1987-90 by JME Healeys. A new engine block fitted and original block carefully stored.
Paul Roberts purchased the car in 2004 from GKCC (Traders) who acquired it from Peter Butt in 2002. Paul immediately sent the car back to Jonathan Everard of JME Healeys, for full restoration. This was not a difficult task as Jonathan new the car from its previous restoration in 1987 which he was responsible for. The engine was re-built together with all mechanics. The aluminium vented front wings were replaced with original steel wings without vents and a bear metal re-spray was carried out. The car was meticulously representative of its Liege appearance in every possible detail. Soon after the restoration was completed in 2005 URX was privately shown to a famous select group of 20 people who were involved in the amazing Liege win in 1960. Never again would such a famous group of people be gathered together. This was proceeded with a delightful luncheon at The Kings Arms in Ivinghoe. Photos of this gathering have appeared in many features including the John Baggott book "Big Healeys In Competition".
URX then appeared at the Silverstone BMC 50 on July 22nd-24th 2005. February 2006 at the International Historic Motor Sport Show at Stoneleigh Park on the HRCR Stand. May 2007 Austin Healey Weekend appearance at Swindon where it won first prize for the best car. Also at the weekend was Pat Moss Carlsson and Erik Carlsson , Peter and Ann (ne Wisdom) Riley. It was at this time that Pat and Ann both signed the roof. (see photo) Silverstone 2008. Sadly Pat died and of course URX was requested to appear at the Celebration of her life on 24th Oct/08. 2009 Gaydon Museum (see photo) Stoneleigh Park Race Retro 2009-11. Again URX was invited to appear at the WCR40 Event at Gaydon o 18th April 2010.
Born December 1934
Died 13th October 2008-10-17
Pat Moss-Carlsson was the younger sister of Sir Sterling Moss and lived at “White Cloud” in Bedfordshire, with her husband Erik and died peacefully at home with her family.
She was a very accomplished horse women which she always said was her first love and after her amazing carrier as a Works Driver for the British Motor Corporation Team and later for other teams, she returned to her horses.
Pat started to make a name for herself in club rallying in a Morris Minor and a Triumph TR2. She had her first works drive with BMC in 1955 on the RAC Rally in an MGTF. She went on to drive MGA, Magnette, Morris Minor, Riley 1.5, A40, big Healeys and later the Mini-Coopers with equal determination and distinction, winning the European Ladies’ Championship in 1958 and 1962. Pat was unquestionably the fastest lady rally driver of all time. Her performances with the big Healey when she regularly beat the other male members of the team were sensational. From 23 events with the Healey she gained 11 class wins, 14 Ladies’ awards, two European Ladies’ Championships, that remarkable Liege win in 1960
and runner up in the Alpine Rally in the same year.
She teamed up with Ann Wisdom, who was to be her co-driver for most of her driving carrier. The two of them became the most successful women’s rallying partnership of all time in European and International rallying.
She was the first person to win an International Rally for BMC in the Liege – Rome – Liege Rally in 1960 (her finest victory) and also the first person to win an International Rally in a Mini Cooper in 1962 in the Tulip Rally
Pat left BMC in 1963 to drive first for Ford, then Saab (with husband Erik Carlsson) and later Lancia.
Pat left behind her daughter Susie, her husband Erik and brother Sir Sterling.
URX was restored by JME Healeys in 1987 and then again in 2002 to bring it back to its Leige specification.
The car is still looked after by JME Healeys for its current owner.
To enquire about URX727, please contact JME Healeys