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Historic Austin-Healey rally car heads to the Goodwood Revival

The most original Works Rally Healey in existence will be offered for sale at Bonhams next month, as part of the annual Goodwood Revival sale.
The 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 MK I Works Rally Two Seater comes with a superb race history, which includes both impressive victories and dramatic accidents.

The car is expected to sell for £250,000 – £325,000 ($320,000 – $420,000) when it hits the block on September 9.

In 1961 the car began its racing career at the Acropolis Rally – a gruelling 1,700km race over the rocky mountain roads surrounding Athens in the heat of summer.

Not only did the car survive in one piece, but – with drivers Peter Riley and Tony Ambrose behind the wheel – it placed first in class and third overall for a stunning podium finish.

It was during the following race, the 1961 International Alpine Rally, that both the car and crew miraculously survived a crash over the edge of a cliff.

Having navigated dangerous mountain roads, and seen both rivals and team-mates fall by the wayside, Riley and Ambrose had driven their way into second place when disaster struck.

During their descent of the Stelvio Pass in Northern Italy, the car spun off the road and dropped onto a snow bank above a patch of jagged rocks.

Tony Ambrose recalled the incident:
"Suddenly Peter yelled: ‘No brakes!’. Before I had time to react, the Healey slewed across the road as Peter tried to put it sideways; we spun, the rear of the car coated one of those concrete posts and snapped it off like a piece of barley sugar. We did one more spin in the opposite direction and then went straight over the apex of the bend and into space…

"Fortunately, we fell only about 20 feet and landed in quite soft ground but I was very thankful that I was securely strapped in with a full harness. Peter was less fortunate for he was only wearing a lap strap. He had been thrown forward on to the steering wheel and then backwards hard against the sharp edge of his bucket seat which had broken his ribs.

"He crawled out of the car, obviously in some pain, and I laid him out as comfortably as I could beside the battered car…That was the end of our Alpine Rally…"

Once the car had been recovered from the mountainside and repaired, it was sold to Finnish rally star Rauno Aaltonen, who campaigned it in Finland before in turn selling it to a young enthusiast Caj Hasselgren.

Hasselgren began a life-long love affair with the car, which included a 20-year restoration project, and it remained in his family for more than half a century.

Now the car is once again up for sale, and offers a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of British motoring history.

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