Healey Automotive History (1946-1978)

  • Donald Healey Motor Company Ltd. (1946-1954)

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    Formed in 1945 by Donald Healey, a renowned auto engineer and successful racing driver. It was formed after Healey discussed sports car design with Achille Sampietro, a chassis specialist for high performance cars and Ben Bowden, a body engineer, when all three worked at Humber during World War II. The company was based in an old aircraft components factory off Miller Road in Warwick, UK. Healey was joined by Roger Menadue from Armstrong Whitworth to run the experimental workshop. The cars mainly used a tuned version of the proven Riley twin cam 2.4 litre four cylinder engine in a light steel box section chassis of their own design using independent front suspension by coil springs and alloy trailing arms with Girling dampers. The rear suspension used a Riley live axle with coil springs again. Advanced design allowed soft springing to be combined with excellent road holding. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were used. When it was introduced in 1948 the Elliott Saloon was claimed to be the fastest production closed car in the world and was timed at 104.7 mph over a mile. Unusually, for the time, the body was tested in a wind tunnel to refine its aerodynamics. In 1949, the most sporting of all the Healeys, the Silverstone, was announced. It had a shorter chassis and stiffer springing and was capable of 107 mph. It is now a highly sought after car and many of the other Healeys have been converted into Silverstone replicas. The cars had numerous competition successes including class wins in the 1947 and 1948 Alpine rallies and the 1949 Mille Miglia.

    Cars Built: '46-'50 Westland Roadster, '46-'50 Elliott Saloon, '48-'50 Sportsmobile, '49-'50 Silverstone, '50-'54 Tickford Saloon, '50-'54 Abbott Drophead Coupe, '51-'53 G-Type Roadster

  • Nash-Healey (1950-1954)

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    To enter the export market, in 1950 the company built the Nash-Healey using a Nash Ambassador engine with SU carburettors and Nash gearbox. Initially the 3848 cc unit was used, but when in 1952 body construction was transferred from Healey to Pinin Farina the larger 4138 cc engine was fitted. The final car was the G-Type using an Alvis TB21 engine and gearbox. This was more luxurious and heavier than the Riley engined models. The Nash-Healey is a two-seat sports car that was produced for the American market between 1951 and 1954. Marketed by Nash-Kelvinator Corporation with a Nash Ambassador drivetrain and a European chassis and body, it served as a halo vehicle for the automaker to promote the sales of the other Nash models. It was "America's first post-war sports car", and the first introduced in the U.S. by a major automaker since the Great Depression. The Nash-Healey was the product of a partnership between Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and British automaker Donald Healey, as well as a later restyle by Pinin Farina and subassembly in Italy. Under the original agreement, both firms would contribute to the project. However in the second year of production the body was redesigned and built by Italian designer Battista Farina, who supplied the bodies to Healey. Nash running components were shipped from Nash to Britain, where Donald Healey's concern assembled them to a chassis of their own construction. The completed chassis were then shipped to Italy, where the bodies were installed. Finished vehicles were returned to the United States for sale. The high cost of the vehicle and Nash's focus on the Rambler line resulted in the termination of Nash-Healey production in 1954 after 506 automobiles were produced.

    Cars Built: '51 Roadster, '52 Roadster, '53 Convertible, '53 LeMans coupe, '54-'55 LeMans coupe

  • Austin-Healey (1952-1970)

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    Austin-Healey was a British sports car maker. The marque was established through a joint venture arrangement, set up in 1952 between Leonard Lord of the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and Donald Healey, a renowned automotive engineer and designer. Austin-Healey produced cars until 1970 when the 18-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to an end. Donald Healey left the company in 1968 when British Motor Holdings (BMC had merged with Jaguar Cars in 1966 to form BMH) was merged into British Leyland.

    Cars Built: '53-'56 Austin-Healey 100, ’57-’62 Austin-Healey 100-6, '63-'67 Austin-Healey 3000, '58-'70 Austin-Healey Sprite

  • Jensen-Healey (1972-1975)

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    Donald Healey joined Jensen Motors who had been making bodies for the "big Healeys" since their inception in 1952, and became their Chairman in 1972. The Jensen-Healey is a two-seater convertible sports car that was originally produced between 1972 and 1976 by Jensen Motors, Ltd. Roughly 10,000 were produced at West Bromwich, England. With the demise of the Austin-Healey 3000, car dealer Kjell Qvale was looking for a new product to replace it. He entered into discussions with Donald Healey and Jensen Motors, who had built the bodies for Healey's Austin-Healey cars. Kjell Qvale became a Jensen shareholder and Donald Healey became the chairman. The Jensen-Healey was designed in a joint venture by Donald Healey, his son Geoffery, William Towns and Jensen Motors. It was hoped that Healey could help to contribute the sense of style that made the Austin-Healey a hit. Unfortunately, in the mid-1970s, the oil crisis hit Jensen Motors hard, greatly damaging the sales of their very large V8 Interceptor model and thus degrading their financial condition as a whole. As the Jensen-Healey continued to garner mediocre sales in the United Kingdom (though the car was relatively popular in the United States), the situation proved to be too much for the company, which, amid strike action, component shortages and inflation, proceeded to liquidate in 1975 and close their doors in May 1976.

    Cars Built: '72-'73 Mark I, '73-'75 Mark II and JH5

Buy The Healey Book & DVD...

  • healey motor company book dvd history parts chassisThe Healey Book - includes personal inscription & free global shipping. The Healey Book, by author Bill Emerson, is a comprehensive history of every car and boat created by Donald and Geoff Healey between 1946 & 1978 and records for posterity their valuable contributions to motoring. The entire Healey history has been extensively researched and is displayed here using beautiful photographs, archive images, period brochures, contemporary advertisements, accurate technical data and concise histories of the development and achievements of each car. The Healey Book is the definitive and authorised history of these unique and historic Healey, Nash-Healey, Austin-Healey and Jensen-Healey motorcars and boats. read more or purchase the book....

  • healey motor company book dvd history parts chassisThe Healey DVD - includes free global shipping. Over the years, author, Bill Emerson has photographed and archived, using video, Healey automobiles in various countries throughout the world. Many of these photos appear in The Healey Book, but the videos have remained unseen except by a few friends. This archival Healey video collection includes some very exceptional Healey automobiles, cars that resonant throughout Healey history. Healey enthusiasm is worldwide; the archives deserved to be seen by a wider audience. We have restored these vintage videos to meet today’s standards and assembled them here, on The Healey DVD.
    read more or purchase the DVD....