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.
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
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
. 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
. That was really the last of the true Austin-Healeys as the Sprite (1958
) 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
), 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