Austin Healey Reviews and Road Tests

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Austin Healey

Donald Healey partnered with son Geoffrey to build a sports car based on Austin components, having experience building such cars with components from Riley, Nash and Alvis. Austin agreed to provide components from the A90 Atlantic, however the Healey design could not have looked more different. The Big Healeys may have been cheaper than the E-Type, but gave little away in performance or sports car feel. Geoffrey Healey then partnered with Gerry Coker to design the Sprite, hugely successful no doubt due to its affordability. The Sprite was eventually dropped in favour of the mechanically identical MG Midget, and the Austin-Healey marque was allowed to pass into Unique Car (and parts) legend.

Collector Notes: Introduced to Australia in 1953, the Austin Healey was the brainchild of Austin's Sir Lenard Lord who saw a prototype Healey at the 1952 London Motor Show and immediately proposed a joint venture. The first car, the Austin Healey 100, came here in February 1954, had a rather agricultural 2.6-litre Austin engine and a three-speed gearbox. The 100S followed a year later with a four-speed box; the Le Mans version arrived in 1956. Donald Healey had worked for Riley, Triumph and Humber and the car which eventually became the first Healey was intended to be a Triumph. He followed with the 1949 Healey Silverstone and was ready to launch his Healey 100 in 1952. The prototype stole the London Motor Show - convincing Len Lord that he must do a deal.

A year later the Austin Healey 100 was launched, with an A90 engine. It sold in Australia from 1954 to 1957. The 100-6 followed in 1957 and ran until 1960. The quick-and-lively 3000 Mark I arrived in August 1961, in two- and four-seater form, with front disc brakes. The 3000 Mark II ran from 1962 to 1967. That was really the last of the true Austin-Healeys as the Sprite (1958 to 1967) is regarded as a BMC car, rather than a Healey. It was however one of the most successful sports cars of all time in terms of sales, and an appreciating asset in hundreds of garages around Australia.

The big Healey 3000 stayed in production until 1968 and Healey's agreement with Austin ran out in 1970. His next venture, the production of the Jensen-Healey (1972), didn't live up to its potential. The Austin Healey Sprite was launched here in 1958 with a 950cm3 Austin "A-series" engine and quickly became known as the Bug Eye. The more conventional looking Mkll appeared in mid-1962. By that time local assembly had started. It ceased in November 1967. These days, anything wearing the Austin-Healey badge is highly collectable, and rapidly growing in value. Still relatively affordable for the astute buyer - no matter what the condition, they appreciate in value.

Also see: Austin-Healey History
Healey Westland  

Healey Westland

1946 - 1950
Donald Healey stole a march on car makers around the world when he created the Healey Westland. After the war most European car plants had been flattened by bombing, even the British and American plants had been on war work and they took time to switch back. Most companies revised old designs and rushed those into the showrooms while they planned what to make next. More>>
Austin Healey 100  

Austin Healey 100

1952 - 1956
Donald Healey's very first iteration was put on display at the 1952 Earls Court Show, and so impressed was BMC's managing director Leonard Lord that a deal was struck, so next morning the model on the stand had a new badge which announced to the world that this was the new Austin Healey 100. More>>
Austin Healey 100  

Austin Healey 100 Six

1956 - 1959
This car was very similar in appearance to the 4 cylinder 100, but this time the car was fitted with a tuned version of the six cylinder BMC C series engine fitted to the Austin Westminster. More>>
Austin Healey Sprite  

Austin Healey Sprite

1958 - 1961
In 1958 few sports cars were more endearing that the Austin Sprite. It earned the nickname of "Frogeye" due to its pop-eyed headlights and somewhat gaping grin. More>>
Austin Healey 3000  

Austin Healey 3000

1959 - 1967
The United States was seen as the car's biggest market which ironically brought the downfall of the 3000 due to strict safety legislation. More>>
Austin Healey Sprite Mk3

Austin Healey Sprite Mark III

1964 - 1966
Hugely popular since its introduction in 1958, the Austin Healey Sprite (and MG Midget) over 110,000 had rolled off the prooduction line at Abingdon-on-Thames, helping to make the traditional home of M.G. cars the largest factory in the world, during the 1960's, devoted to the production of sports cars. More>>
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