Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pre- Austin-Healey Healeys

One car of my daydream cars when I was young was the Austin-Healey 100 such as the 1954 model shown above in this "for sale" photo found on the Internet. I gave the A-H an enthusiastic styling review here.

The Austin-Healey was a cooperative effort between the British Motor Corporation's Austin unit and the Donald Healey Motor Company, a specialty firm headed by car designer and former race driver Donald Healey.

For this post, I thought it might be interesting to feature Healey's post- World War 2 passenger cars made by the Donald Healey Motor Company.  Most were powered by 2.5 liter Riley motors and bodies were provided by outside firms.  However, Healey established a general brand-identification theme initiated by Benjamin Bowden that was carried out by the body contractors.  Most noteworthy is the shape of the grille, a fan-like profile that can be seen on the Austin-Healy in the image above.

Otherwise, Healey cars over the period 1947-1953 had typical British styling.  The general appearance was pre-war, with modernized detailing.  This often resulted in awkward designs, though Healeys were far from the worst of the lot.


RM Sotheby's photo of a 1947 Healey Elliott two-door saloon.  Compare its grille to that of the Austin-Healey.

This nifty creature is a 1948 Healey Duncan Sport Saloon that was up for auction by Bonhams.  Its hood (okay, bonnet) is much lower at the front than those of other Healeys shown here.

Duncan built some coupĂ© bodies for the Alvis TA14 starting in 1947.  From the cowing aft, this body look almost identical to that of the '48 Healey in the previous photo.  This car too was offered by Bonhams.

Yet another Bonhams photo, this of a Healey Tickford Saloon from 1951.

Most of the styling of the Tickford continued on the Healey Abbott Drophead Coupé, this an auction photo of a 1953 model.

One of the later Donald Healey Motor Company projects prior to the Austin-Healey was the Nash-Healey, a cooperative venture with America's Nash-Kelvinator Corporation.  The power train was by Nash and the rest of the car was by Healey.  The car shown here is from 1951.  In 1952 Pininfarina was commissioned to restyle the car.  Note that even early Nash-Healeys had Nash grilles and not the Healey fan motif.

No comments: