Healey history 1953 - 1968
Written by: Marc Vorgers/ ClassicarImages
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The "Austin" Healey was
created by Donald Healey.
Mitchell Healey was born in Cornwall (GB) in the year 1898. He had a
very good feeling for mechanics and he started an automobile garage in
Cornwall. In the year 1930 he started a career as competition driver for
Invicta. Donald Healey was a successful driver, after competing in
three Alp rallies he managed to win the famous "Coupe
des Alpes". Highlight in his driving career was the victory in the
Monte Carlo Rally of 1931. After Invicta Motor Company closed down
Donald Healey found a job at Triumph as chief engineer.
Donald Healey Motor Corporation
second world war Donald Healey decided to start his own Motor company to
built sportscars carrying his own name;
The birth of the "Austin" Healey
Corporation was going to show their new Healey 100 at the "Earls
Court Motor Show"of 1952. Austin Motor
Company discovered the beautiful car on the Healey stand before the show
opened. Austin Motor Company desperately needed a sportscar to have an
opponent for the MG sportscars and the brand new Triumph TR 2 and the
Jaguar XK 120.
The Austin Healey 100 was designed by Gerry Coker. Donald Healey built the car with lots of Austin mechanics and the Austin A90 four cylinder engine.
At the Healey factory in Warwick the first twenty pre production cars were assembled. In the year 1953 the production moved to the Austin factory located in Longbridge. All chassis and bodies were manufactured by Jensen.
Healey 100 BN-1 was built between the years 1953 and 1955. The BN-1 was
succeeded by the Austin Healey 100 BN-2 in the year 1955. The BN-1
featured a three speed gearbox with overdrive on second and third gear.
The BN-2 featured a four speed gearbox with overdrive on the top gear.
In the year 1956
the 2.6 litre four cylinder engine was banned in favour of the 2.6 litre
Austin Westminster six cylinder engine.
In April 1958 the "two seater" version of the 100/6 was introduced (BN-6) because the "four seater" design of the 100/6 was not as popular as the design of the "two seater" 100 models. After the 100/6 was introduced the old four cylinder "100" was named 100/4 by the public. The factory never used the name 100/4.
In March 1959 the Austin Healey 3000 was introduced. The
saw the introduction of the Austin Healey 3000
In October 1963 the Austin Healey 3000 MK III was introduced. The MK III was just like the MK IIa only available as 2+2 convertible model. The engine was fitted with a new camshaft and other valve coilsprings. Additionally two larger 2 inch S.U. HD-8 carburettors were fitted. Other changes were applicable to the interior, the dashboard was redesigned entirely and a center console was added. The back rest of the rear seats could be folded forward to be used as a floor to pack luggage on. Another change was the deletion of the "start button", the 3000 MK III fired up only using the starter key.
In may 1964 the Austin Healey 3000 MK III was modified on some details which resulted in the "phase 1" model. The chassis was modified to give the rear axle more vertical space in order to enhance driving comfort. The leaf spring package was uprated and counted six leafs. The disc brakes were modified and the flasher/ attention lamps at the front were enlarged.
In March 1965 the last modifications are carried out. This model is the 3000 MK III phase 2. Now the lamps at the rear are also enlarged to match the lamps at the front of the car.
The last full year of production is 1967. 3051 Austin Healey MK III phase 2 models were produced that year. All the cars in the last production run (November/ December 1967) were painted metallic golden beige with a black leatherette interior and black carpet. The seats were trimmed with chrome "piping". The photograph hereby shows a perfectly restored 1967 "Golden" Healey 3000 MK III phase 2.
These days the Austin Healey is one of the most popular classic cars. The excellent looks, the character, the sound and the impressive cast iron engines make the hearts of many enthusiast beat louder and faster...