"Now I'm not only a Mormon cliché; I'm also a puppy." - Claudio
Question #26229 posted on 07/04/2006 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What car did Steve Martin drive in the film "The Father of the Bride"?
It's a classic black convertible. Can you help me out?

- Thanks!

A: What Ho Thankful!

The car that Mr. Martin drives in his role as the Father of the Bride is, what certain fans of British Sports Cars term a 'Big Healey' (I'm not certain of the origin of the name, maybe it was a reference to the actual size of the car, or, perhaps its engine, a monstrous three full litres. I'm afraid to ask, lest I be thought a fool. It's possible that no-one knows - it's just what they call them.)
More precisely, it's an Austin-Healey 3000, possibly a MkI, but more probably a MkII. There wasn't much external difference between them; the grill slats on the MkI were horizontal while the MkII had vertical.
Other then that, the main difference between the two was that the MkII originally came with three big SU side-draft carbs to feed that big engine. These, however, proved nearly impossible to keep linked and in tune (let me tell you, tuning these things is a feat unto its self, involving dark magic, chanting of arcane incantations, the 'reading' of spark plugs and lots of dumb luck) so, Austin began retrofitting existing MkII's to a two carb configuration, for ease of maintenance. Thus, the remaining earlier MkII's were called 'Tri-Carbs' .

Erm. I hope I've not confused the issue here, so I'll rephrase and state things plain.

The car that Steve Martin drives in the movie is an Austin-Healey 3000, either a MkI or a MkII. NOT a MkIII, as the MkIII had a convertible top that was built into the car, which Mr. Martin's Healey does not have.

There's actually a good site that you can learn lots about the different makes, models and styles of Big Healey here - You can see the original price lists, colors and specs for everything between the Austin-Healey 100 to the Healey 3000 MkIII. Lots of cool pictures. Go, check it out.

All in all, it's an okay car, but if you consider the fact that the Jaguar E-Type came out the same year as the 3000 MkII, I don't think it compares.. I'm not a Jaguar fan, (I'm much more of an MG fan) but you have to love the E-Type - I'd call it the high water mark of the Sports Car.

Er.. Sorry if this is a bit rambly, but, I rather like cars - and British cars in particular.. So, when the opportunity comes along...
Well, yeah 9.9

- Bertie, who drives, on occasion, a red '54 MG TF 1250.. It may only go 80 miles to the hour, down hill, with the wind in its favor, but, cooking along a winding narrow road is a rare treat - with the engine roaring so you can't hear the passenger makes snatches for the grab-handle on the dash and tells you to slow down. Instead, you downshift and pop the clutch at the apex of a hair-pin to whip past that jerk who tore past you on the straight in his modern car that doesn't leak oil all over the drive, while the heat from the engine compartment comes up through the wooden floor and the smell of the leaking oil fills your nose as it burns off on the exhaust system.. Oh, it's heaven! Sure that fool in his tricked out Civic, with his chromed muffler tip and that tacky tacked on wing will zip by you again next chance he gets, but, really, everyone can go fast in a straight line.