Austin-Healey was a British sports car maker established in 1952
A joint venture between the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company (Healey), a renowned automotive engineering and design firm.
A joint venture between the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company (Healey), a renowned automotive engineering and design firm. Leonard Lord represented BMC and Donald Healey his firm.
BMC merged with Jaguar Cars in 1966 to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). Donald Healey left BMH in 1968 when it merged into British Leyland. Healey then joined Jensen Motors, which had been making bodies for the "big Healeys" since their inception in 1952, and became their chairman in 1972. Austin-Healey cars were produced until 1972 when the 20-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to an end.
- 1953–55 BN1 Austin-Healey 100
- 1955 Austin-Healey 100S (Limited production—50 race-prepared cars)
- 1955–56 BN2 Austin-Healey 100 and 100M
- 1956–57 BN4 Austin-Healey 100-6 (2+2 roadster)
- 1957–59 BN4 Austin-Healey 100-6 Change to 1 3⁄4-inch SU Carbs (2+2 roadster)
- 1958–59 BN6 Austin-Healey 100-6 6-Cylinder (2-seater roadster)
- 1959–61 BN7 Mark I (2-seater roadster), BT7 Mark I (2+2 roadster)
- 1961–62 BN7 Mark II (2-seater roadster), BT7 Mark II (2+2)
- 1962–63 BJ7 Mark II (2+2 convertible)
- 1963–67 BJ8 Mark III (2+2 convertible)
- 1958–61 AN5 Mark I (UK: "Frogeye"; US: "Bugeye")
- 1961–64 HAN6–HAN7 Mark II
- 1964–66 HAN8 Mark III (roll-up windows)
- 1966–69 HAN9 Mark IV
- 1969–71 AAN10 Mark IV (UK only)
1955 Austin Healey 100M
1958 Austin-Healey 100-6
1959 Austin-Healey 3000
1960 Austin-Healey Sprite
1966 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III
- Austin-Healey Project Tempest (2005)
The Big Healeys
The original Big Healey, known as the Healey 100, was built as a prototype in 1952. It was aimed at a gap in the market between the ageing MG "T" Type and the up market Jaguar XK range. It was known that Austin were looking for a new sports car at the time and this probably influenced Donald Healey's choice of components used in the design. The car made it's debut at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show and by the end of that week a deal was struck between Donald and Leonard Lord for Austin to produce the car as the Austin Healey 100.
2009 saw the anniversary of the introduction in June 1959 of what has become regarded as the archetypal hairy-chested British sports car, the Austin-Healey 3000. In this article Rob looks at the history of its development.
To understand why the ‘Big Healey’ is so fondly regarded by owners and motoring enthusiasts of all ages we have to look back at the history of its development which begins with the introduction of what was at the time the Healey 100 at the 1952 London Motor Show, an event that has gone down in Healey folklore, and also to look at its creator, Donald Healey.
Donald Healey (almost universally known as DMH) was known as a rally driver pre WWII having successfully competed in many rallies including the Monte Carlo Rally which he won in 1931. He had worked for Triumph developing the straight-eight Dolomite and for Humbers during the war on military vehicles.
Through the war years he held a dream of building a roadster to directly compete with the pre-war 2-litre BMW 328 and in 1946 he set up the Donald Healey Motor Company introducing in 1948 what was then fastest production car in the world.
The business was going well but success to Donald was in volume manufacture and he set off for the States in December 1949 on an export or die visit to further promote the marque across the Atlantic. A chance encounter on the Queen Mary with the president of the Nash Kelvinator Corporation resulted in a commission, funded by Nash, to develop a sporting car for the US market based on the Healey chassis but with Nash’s 3.8 litre six-cylinder engine. This Donald in his inimitable style did in double quick time and the Nash-Healey was born - for export only. He admitted later that this deal was the turning point for his company, enabling him to develop the car that would be known as the Healey Hundred or, following the Motor Show of 1952, the Austin-Healey 100.
Through his many visits to North America he had identified a market for a sports car to fill the gap between the XK Jaguars and the near-obsolete MG T series and so he started work on a prototype in secret at his home to avoid problems with Nash, with whom he was planning to become a competitor, or Morris, from whom he obtained Riley engines at that time. He had discussions with Leonard Lord, head of Austin Motors, who agreed to supply A90 engines and transmissions for the new car.
The result was a stunning two-seat sports car, the Healey Hundred, the designation referring to 100 horsepower and to the 100mph+ that it achieved in road tests. The target was to announce the new car at the 1952 London Motor Show and legend has it that Donald although regarding the car as a ‘winner’ was unhappy with the front grille, an elongated version of the by now familiar Healey shield, such that he insisted that the car was shown with its front up against the wall at the back of the stand.
In his autobiography Donald says of its reception
‘From the moment the show opened it was a sensation - we didn’t know how to keep people away from it’.
Leonard Lord was delighted with the car and its effect on the public such that he proposed a deal to DMH whereby Austin took over manufacture paying DMH a royalty. The logic being that whereas Healey could produce 20 cars a week at best Austin could produce 200 at a price £100 below DMH’s anticipated selling price. Overnight the car became the Austin-Healey Hundred with badging to match and turned its face to the admiring crowd.
Donald was always one to see the benefit to sales of motorsport following the ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ ethos, with first the 100M incorporating modifications that had been adopted on cars entering the famous Le Mans 24-hour race, then the 100S ‘Sebring’ model raced by Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin. The latter was involved in the terrible crash at Le Mans in 1955 when a Mercedes catapulted over the rear of the 100S to scythe through the crowd killing over 80 spectators. DMH also generated much publicity when he took a 100 and later a 100/6 to Bonneville Salt Flats where he topped 200mph in a specially prepared car.
In these early days the focus was on racing but with the introduction in 1956 of the six-cylinder 100/6 BMC realised that they had a rugged, powerful rally competitor and adopted the Healey as the core of what was to become one of the most successful rally teams ever.
The 100/ 6 had been introduced as a necessity as the 4-cylinder engine was to be phased out and the opportunity was taken to modify the chassis to allow for the introduction of 2+2 seating alongside a two-seater. This with the heavier ‘six’ resulted in very little if any improvement in performance and a less nimble car, but the engine did give a smoothness not found in the 4. Head modifications resulted in raising the power from 102hp to 117 but the performance still did not satisfy what had become an increasingly discerning sporting fraternity until the engine was enlarged to 2912 cc from the original 2639cc. Enter the 3000.
The 3 litre engine gave more power and more torque, achieving 124hp in its original form and 150 in its final incarnation as the powerplant of the 1967 MkIII. The 3000 also adopted disc brakes on the front wheels, a modification developed from the 100S and rally experience. It was an immediate success, much of which was based upon its sporting achievements.
The BMC teams of 3000s managed by Marcus Chambers and Peter Browning carried all before them in rally after rally including the Monte Carlo, the Alpine, Liege-Rome-Liege and many others driven by the kings of the sport - the Morley Brothers, Jack Sears, Pat Moss, John Gott, Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Makinen and the rallying reverend, Rupert Jones. The Americans could not get enough of the cars despite the low ground clearance and cockpit heat, which, as any passenger will tell you, can be unbearable.
In later years the 3000 gradually metamorphosed from sports car to grand tourer as wind-up windows, a ‘proper’ convertible hood, greater ground clearance and even a wooden dash that could accommodate a radio were introduced.
The 3000 finally died in 1968 a victim of American emissions and crash legislation but in the 9 years of its production more than 43,000 cars were produced with over 90% going to the States.
Does the 3000 deserve its reputation? It is a beautiful car and one that can be driven on modern roads at modern speeds, not bad for a 50-year-old car; think how impressive it must have been in 1959. It has a competition pedigree that few other cars can challenge and the sight and sound of a rally-prepared 3000 storming the alpine passes Webers chattering and exhaust bellowing is one of the most evocative motoring images of any era and so I think the answer is emphatically, yes, but then I may be biased!
As an engineer, Geoffrey Healey was aware of the importance of a stiff chassis for good handling, and for it's time the Healey chassis was quite good. It is a ladder type chassis constructed from hollow rectangular section members; two main longitudinal members with a cross member front and back, and a strong cruciform section just behind the gearbox. Outriggers behind the front wheels and in front of the rear wheels are connected to inner sills add significantly to the torsional rigidity of the chassis. Welded to the top of this chassis is the tub, a sheet metal inner body, floor, A and B posts. This time it is the bulkhead around the transmission tunnel that adds strength to the chassis. The body and trim panels are mounted on the tub. The doors, bonnet and boot lid are in steel, whilst the bonnet and boot surrounds (shrouds) are in aluminium.
The AH 100 engine is a 2660cc four cylinder unit from the A90 Atlantic. This engine has its origins in trucks and lived on for many years in London Taxies. It is long stroke, low revving unit with loads of torque. The AH 100-6 engine is a four main bearing, six cylinder unit from the Austin Westminster, and contrary to popular opinion does not have it's origins in truck manufacture. Initially at 2639cc, this was enlarged to 2912cc for the AH 3000 requiring a new block in the process. Early 100-6 engines had the inlet manifold cast into the head making the engine very inefficient. On the road this car was slower than it's 100 predecessor. The head was changed to a 12 port design which was retained through into the AH 3000 engine. At the same time, the connecting rods were changed from clamped little ends to fully floating gudgeon pins. This combination enabled the engine to rev more freely.
With the torque of the A90 engine but less weight, first gear was too low to be of any use so the selector mechanism was modified to disable first gear. This gave a 3 speed box with overdrive on the top two ratios. A stronger, revised gearbox was introduced with the BN2 with overdrive on third & fourth gear and this utilised all four ratios. These gearboxes were from column change saloon cars with the result that the floor change conversion emerged from the left hand side of the gearbox. During the reign of the 3000 MKII, the gearbox was modified to a centre change with the lever emerging from the top. The Laycock overdrive was retained as an option throughout.
Drum brakes were used on all four wheels until the introduction of the AH 3000 when discs were fitted to the front.
- 100 BN 1, 1953-55: two-seater roadster, three-speed plus overdrive.
- 100S, 1955: Racing 100 with Weslake-type cylinder head and all-round disc brakes.
- 100 BN2, 1955-56: two-seater, four-speed plus overdrive.
- 100M, 1955-56: 100 upgraded to Le Mans spec.
- 100-6 BN4, 1956-59: 2+2 seating, 2639cc six, length extended by 6.5in & wheelbase extended by 2in.
- 100-6 BN6, 1958-59: two-seater roadster, same wheelbase as 2+2.
- 3000 Mk I BN7, 1959-61: two-seater, 2912cc, front discs in place of drums. Two 1.75in HD6 Carburettors.
- 3000 Mk I BT7, 1959-61: 2+2, otherwise same as the BN7 Mk I.
- 3000 Mk II BN7, 1961-62: two-seater, triple 1.5in SU carbs in place of twin 1.75in, revised grille.
- 3000 Mk II BT7, 1961-62: 2+2, same changes as BN7 above.
- 3000 Mk II BJ7, 1962-63: Often known as the MkIIA; 2+2 convertible with curved screen, quarter lights, winding windows and permanently attached folding hood. Changed back to two 1.75in HS6 carburettors.
- 3000 Mk III BJ8 Phase 1, 1963-64:2+2 with new dashboard, folding panel behind rear seats, twin 2in carbs.
- 3000 Mk III BJ8 Phase 2, 1964-68:2+2 with improved ground clearance and anti-tramp bars.
Brief History of the AH 100
|The birth of a legend! Sensational launch of the Healey 100 at the Earls Court Motor Show. Austin's Leonard Lord concludes manufacturing agreement with Donald Healey. The car is re-named the Austin Healey 100 type BN1.|
|While Austin's Longbridge factory is being prepared for production of the Austin Healey 100, work begins at Healey's Cape Works, Warwick, building the first BN1 models for motor shows in New York, Los Angeles and Frankfurt. A fourth car is prepared for a sales promotion tour of the U.S.
The Austin Healey 100 wins the Grand Premium Award at Miami's World Fair and is acclaimed the International Motor Show Car of 1953 at New York.
A standard production car is taken to Utah Salt Flats and records an average 103.94 mph in a 5000 kilometre endurance run.
By the summer, production at Longbridge tops 100 cars per week.
|Donald Healey achieves 192.62 mph over a flying kilometre in a 224 bhp supercharged streamlined 100, while Carroll Shelby goes on to break sixteen U.S. and international speed records at averages of nearly 160 mph.
Record and race achievements result in the development of the famous 100S model, the 'S' standing for Sebring. Only 50 cars are made.
|Production of the BN2 model commences in August but is not launched until the Motor Show in October. Changes include a new gearbox.
During the period January 1953 to August 1955, approximately 10,000 BN1s are sold.
|Production of the 100 BN2 ceases in August, after just one year in which 4600 had been made. Total production of Austin Healey 100 models is 14,600 in a little over three years.
Less than 10 per cent are made right-hand drive and only 3.5 per cent are 'home market' cars, making original UK registered models very rare indeed.
Production of 100/6 models begins in August of this year.
The Warwick Healeys
In 1946 Donald Healey set up his own Motor Company in Warwick, UK, to design and produce sporting cars.
The company designed their own chassis and suspension which were fitted with the Riley gearboxes, axles and 2443cc 4 cylinder engine producing 106BHP. The cars produced during this period are generally referred to as Warwick Healeys, but are also known as pre-Austin or pre-BMC.
The chassis were bodied as a sporting saloon by Elliott and Company, a sports convertible by The Westland Aero Company of Hereford, and both saloon and convertible by Duncan Industries of Norfolk. These were all coachbuilt using an Ash frame clad in Aluminium Panels.
In 1949, the 2 seater Silverstone sports/racing models was introduced, selling for £995, in order to avoid the double purchase tax that was applied on cars above £1000. The Silverstone was extremely successful in competition.
A small number of 4 seat Sportsmobile models were built, using a more modern design with the wings (fenders) styled into the body.
In 1949 the Elliott and Westland versions were superceeded with bodies from Tickford (saloon) and Abbott (convertible), also Ash framed, aluminium clad and with 4 seats.
Due to a chance meeting between Donald Healey and the president of Nash motors on a liner crossing the Atlantic, and agreement was made to build a new model, the Nash-Healey. This would use the Healey chassis, Nash engine and gearbox, and a more modern styled 2 seat body built by Panelcraft, later replaced with a Pinifarina styled body.
Additionally the Healey company introduced the 2 seat, 3 litre sports convertible (also known as the Alvis Healey) which used the Alvis 3000cc 6 cylinder engine. Special bodied cars were also made by a number of other manufacturers, these included sports, saloon and shooting brake versions. It is not clear how many of these specials were produced. In total the company produced approximately 1377 cars, until they were replaced by the new Austin-Healey 100. Models.
There are some sub divisions within these groups, but these are the Main variants:
- Westland, 1946-50, 2443cc,convertible, 70 built
- Elliott, 1946-50, 2443cc, saloon, 104 built
- Sportsmobile, 1948-50, 2443cc, convertible, 25 built
- Silverstone, 1948-50, 2443cc, sports/racing, 106 built. Dedicated web site Classic Healeys, Germany, including a Silverstone Register www.healey-classic.de
- Duncan, 1946-48, 2443cc, convertible, approx 3 built
- Duncan, 1946-48, 2443cc, saloon, 39 built
- Duncan, 1946-48, 2443cc, 'Drone' minimalist sports, 50 built
- Abbott, 1950-54, 2443cc, convertible, 88 built
- Tickford, 1950-54, 2443cc, saloon, 225 built
- 3 Litre Sports convertible (Alvis), 1951-52, 3000cc, 6 cyl, 28 built
- Nash, 1950-52, 3848cc, 6 cyl, convertible, Panelcraft body, 104 built
- Nash, 1952-54, 4138cc, 6 cyl, convertible, Pininfarina body, 250 built
- Nash, 1952-54, 4138cc, 6 cyl, fixed head coupe, Pininfarina body, 150 built
- Various specials, 1946-54, 2443cc, sports/saloon/shooting brake, 135 built
Conceived during the early months of 1956 at a meeting between Leonard Lord and Donald Healey, to fill a gap in the market left by demise of the MG midgets, which were replaced by the larger MGA. The go-ahead was given for Donald Healey to design a small, inexpensive and fun sports car capable of filling a gap in the existing market.
The target was to produce a sports car for the price of a Morris Minor - around £600. Primary responsibility for the new sports car was Geoffrey Healey, son of Donald, with the chassis designed by Battle Bilbie and the body styled by Gerry Coker, the designer of the Austin Healey 100. The design had to be simple and inexpensive to produce - and this was acheived with the cheeky looking car, which rapidly became known as the Frogeye (UK) or Bugeye (USA) due to the headlights standing up on top of the bonnet.
Components from the BMC store had to be used with the primary donors being the Austin A35 and the Moms Minor.
The first Sprites, with chassis numbers beginning AN5, were built in 1958
Despite its small size and low powered engine, the Sprite had considerable competition success partly due to its exceptional handling.
Although often overshadowed by the Big Healeys, the Sprite offers fair performance and excellent handling with a smiles per £ ratio at least as good, probably better than its big brother.
Later cars had chassis numbers commencing HAN 6 etc, the H indicating Healey. MG Midgets used GAN, and the Austin Sprite AAN.
The design was revolutionary for a sportscar, as there was no separate chassis, the floor pan, sills and transmission tunnel providing the strength.
In 1962 when the Mk 2 was released, a new version, the MG Midget Mk1, joined the range. As there was no MG version of the Frogeye, the A-H was always 1 version ahead; for simplicity the details below always refer to the Sprite model.
The Mk 1 and Mk2 Sprite engine is the four cylinder 948cc version of the BMC A series which started life at 803 cc in the Austin A30 and was used in many BMC models through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s including the Morris Minor, Mini, Marina, Maestro and continued in 1275 cc form until the last Mini was built in 2000. Later Spridgets continued to use this engine in 1098 and 1275 cc form.
Drum brakes were used on all four wheels until the introduction of the 1098cc Mk2 when discs were fitted to the front.
The Mk1 can be split into 2 versions; early cars which are distinguished by the 9 studs along the windscreen frame to secure the roof, and late which have a bar in the leading edge of the roof which fits into a slot in the windscreen frame. This change improved the seal and prevented rain leaking over the top of the screen.
At around the same time, the range of colours was revised, flexible side screens were replaced by perspex sliding windows, the rear shock absorbers mounted in a more upright position and extra stiffening added to the chassis.
The early Mk 2 was basically still a Frogeye underneath, but with a more modern body, the front styled by the Healey Company, and the rear by MG, which included an opening boot (trunk). A Healey prototype was built with a Mk2 front and Mk1 rear.
The late Mark 2 were upgraded to the 1098 (10CG) Engine in order to provide increased power.
The Mk3, retained the 1098 engine, but with larger big end bearings. This is known as the 10CC engine. Also, the quarter eliptic rear springs were replaced by more conventional semi eliptic ones, and improvements to comfort were made including wind up windows.
The next upgrade was the Mark 4 with the 1275cc engine, giving a further increase in power.
The final version was really still a Mk 4, but was sold as the Austin Sprite, due to the withdrawal by British Leyland of agreements with outside companies (eg Healey, Cooper). This is the rarest of all the variants with only 1022 being built.
Sprite production ended in 1971, with the MG Midget continuing until 1980.
All models are 2 seater, convertible with 4 speed gearbox.
- Mk1, AN5, Frogeye, 1958, 948cc, early (nine stud) windscreen.
- Mk1, AN5, Frogeye,1958-61 , 948cc, late windscreen. 49616 Frogeyes built in total.
- Mk2, HAN6, 1961-62, 948cc, 'Spridget', 24631 built.
- Mk2, HAN7, 62-64, 1098 10CG engine. Front disc brakes replace drums. 14097 built.
- Mk3, HAN8, 1964-66, 1098 10CC engine (larger main bearings), semi eliptic rear springs, wind up windows 25906 built
- Mk4, HAN9, 1969, 1275cc, 20357 built
- Mk4, HAN10 1969-70 Facelift model, including rear 1/4 bumpers inplace of full width, Rostyle wheels, reclining seats with headrest slots, 1411 built.
- Mk4, AAN10, 1971 Austin Sprite, 1022 built.
The Jensen Healeys
When production of the Austin Healey 3000 ceased in 1967, Donald & Geoffrey Healey busied themselves looking for a replacement. Californian based car dealer Kjell Qvale, who owned one of the largest companies importing British cars into the USA, felt the loss of the 3000, which had been good business for him. At much the same time, Jensen Motors had lost the contract to assemble the Sunbeam Tiger, as well as the sub-contract to manufacture much of the bodywork for the 3000.
In April 1970, they came together with Qvale becoming a Jensen shareholder and Donald Healey the chairman. It was hoped that Healey could help to contribute the sense of style that made the Austin Healey a hit.
Unfortunately, wrangling between key players in the partnership meant that the development of the car was often disrupted by disagreement, change & compromise. The result was that the Jensen Healey never quite had the wow factor of the Austin Healeys.
When the car was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1972, initial impressions were good, with Autocar Magazine even describing it as a 'future classic'. However, at the end of the day, Jensen Motors was a small manufacturer and it struggled to produce both the numbers and quality required to meet demand. Typical 1970s issues of low quality steel prone to rust, cheap fittings made of plastic and cardboard, poor build quality and initially, poor reliability all eventually helped to seal its fate.
In 1974, United States Government mandated rubber bumpers were fitted and the running gear 'improved' by the fitting of a five speed Getrag gearbox. The rubber bumpers looked particularly ugly on the car and did nothing for its reputation.
In 1975, with a background of industrial crisis in the UK, the oil crisis worldwide and flagging sales of the larger Jensen Interceptor model, Jensen Motors decided to focus production on a 2+2 coupé version of the car – the Jensen GT – an approach which had worked well with the MGB GT. In fact, the company were selling the GT at a loss and only around 500 were made before, in September 1975, Jensen Motors went into receivership.
Donald & Geoffrey Healey had in practice been largely side-lined once the car had gone into production and Donald stood down as Chairman of Jensen Motors in 1973.
Best Jensen Healey Photo Ever!
A fabulous photo of the Jensen Healey published by Tony Abbey on Pinterest, which sums up the fun to be had in this forgotten classic!
The new Jensen Healey was based around a monocoque body construction that had been so successful with the Sprite. With the structure designed by Barry Bilbie, who had been involved throughout the Austin-Healey's development, it was cheap to repair, with bolt-on panels, to reduce insurance premiums. All Jensen panels were made in steel.
The Jensen Healey uses a 1973cc Lotus Type 907, dual overhead cam, 16 valve, all-alloy powerplant. This multi-valve engine has a claim to be the first to be used in a "mass produced" car. It provides approximately 144 bhp (107 kW), topping out at 119 mph (192 km/h) and accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds.
Vehicles for the UK (and Europe) were fitted with dual side-draft twin-throat Dell'Orto carburettors; those exported to the United States had dual side-draft single throat Zenith Strombergs in order to meet emissions requirements.
The transmission fitted on the Mk 1 models was a four speed Chrysler unit sourced from the Sunbeam Rapier. On the Mk 2 models, a Getrag 235 five speed was used. Interestingly on the five speed gearbox the fifth gear is not an overdrive gear but a direct 1:1 ratio making this a Close-ratio transmission.
Suspension and Brakes
Suspension was simple but effective with double wishbone and coil springs at the front, and a live rear axle with trailing arms and coils at the rear.
Brakes consisted of discs at the front and drums at the rear, with servo assistance standard on all models.
The suspension, steering gear, brakes and rear axle were adapted from the Vauxhall Firenza with the exception of the front brakes which were the widely used Girling Type 14 Calipers.
|Jensen Healey Mark I||March 1972 – May 1973||VIN 10000 – 13349 (3356 manufactured)|
|Jensen Healey Mark II and JH5||August 1973 – August 1975||VIN 13500 – 20504 (7142 manufactured)|
|Jensen GT||September 1975 – May 1976||VIN 3000 – 30510 (509 manufactured)|
Thanks are due to various contributors in putting together this section, including Jon Pressnell, Graham Robson and Wikipedia.
The Austin Healey was extensively raced by the Donald Healey Motor Company in Europe at Le Mans and in Sebring in the U.S., in classic rallies by the BMC competitions department, and was recognized from the very beginning by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Healey models raced in club racing in D, E, and F production classes, winning National Championships in both D and E Production. The last Big Healey to win an SCCA National Championship was the class E Production Austin-Healey 100-6 driven by Alan Barker at the Daytona ARRC in 1965.
In 1953, a special streamlined Austin-Healey set several land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.
The name Austin is now owned by Nanjing, which bought the assets of MG Rover Group (British Leyland's successor company) out of bankruptcy in 2005. After Donald Healey sold his original business, Donald Healey Motor Company, the Healey brand was registered to a new firm, Healey Automobile Consultants, which the Healey family sold to HFI Automotivein 2005.
In June 2007, Nanjing and Healey Automobile Consultants / HFI Automotive signed a collaborative agreement that aims to recreate the Austin Healey and Healey marques alongside NAC's MG. No timeline has been given as to when the Healey and Austin-Healey brands will return, although MG will be back on the market in China and the UK by the year's end.
In popular culture
- In Mad Men S7/E1: "Time Zones" (13 April 2014), Megan picks up Don at LAX in a green, 1969 Austin-Healey convertible.
- The video for Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears had Curt Smith driving a British racing green Austin-Healey 3000 around Southern Californian Landmarks including Cabazon, California and Salton Sea.
- In "The Father of the Bride" and "The Father of the Bride II" George Banks (Steve Martin) drives a MKII.
- In Home Improvement Tim the toolman Taylor gets into trouble when he drives Jill Taylor's Austin-Healey without her permission.
- In The Invisible Man (1958 TV series) the Invisible Man Dr. Peter Brady and his widowed sister often drive his 1958 Austin-Healey 100/6.
- Harry O . Private Investigator TV show 1974-1976 starring David Jansen. In the series he drove an Austin Healey Sprite Mark III dove grey with red interior.(According to Dr. Daniel J. Benny Private Investigator).
- National Lampoons Vacation. Clark Griswald makes a reference to the Austin Healey he drove in college.
- In Losing Chase, Chase, the main character of the movie, played by Helen Mirren, drives a red 1965 Austin Healey Sprite. The car represents her freedom and had seat belts added to the back seat so her kids could ride in the back.
- In Endeavour S3 Ep1 “Ride” Joss Bixby tells Morse he has just taken delivery of “The new Klipspringer Continental”. In actual fact it is the Austin Healey 3000.
- In Transformers Sam Witwicky’s father Ron Witwicky owned a 1961 Austin Healey 3000, While driving Sam Witwicky to a local dealership to purchase Sam’s first car.
- In the episode of Comedians in cars getting coffee Jerry Seinfeldrives an Austin Healy while getting coffee with Ricky Gervais.