“We were hitting 150 km/h (93mph) on a road hardly one metre wider than the Healey, often sliding sideways, and the Professor, as he was called at the time, was explaining all the different features of the car. On the newly opened motorway, we exceeded 220km/h (137mph) in overdrive top. I was smitten. I knew immediately that I had to get the car no matter what…"
He did get it too. That was 1965 and Caj Hasselgren kept the Healey until his death in 2013, restoring it over a period of 20 years, using parts picked up in the UK during business trips here from Finland. Since 1996 the late Mr Hasselgren drove the car in 11 historic events.
As you will have guessed, this is a car used to competing. It is one of the five works 3000s prepared by the BMC Competitions Department at Abingdon-on-Thames for the 1961 season. Driven by Peter Riley/Tony Ambrose, ‘XJB 871’ came home first in class and third overall in that year’s Acropolis Rally. Later in ’61 Riley and Ambrose tackled the Alpine Rally, challenging the works Mercedes-Benz 300SLs until the brakes went and the car flew off the road – thankfully without serious injuries thanks to a soft landing. The car was battered though and went back to Abingdon for repairs.