Collector Classics: The incomparable Donald Healey
Iconic Austin Healey of the ’50s and ’60s competed with MG TD, TF and Triumph TR2
Donald Healey made numerous trips to the U.S. and identified a market opportunity for a sports car that would fit between the Jaguar and the MG.
Just prior to his creation’s debut at the 1952 London Motor Show, Leonard Lord, the chairman of the British Motor Corp., took a look at the Healey and decided that this would solve all his problems.
The Austin Motor Co. needed something to compete with the MG TD, TF and the Triumph TR2.
It was a perfect marriage.
Healey wanted to partner with a manufacturer that could turn out his design in large quantities and Lord believed this car would indeed sell.
The Austin Healey is regarded as the epitome of the ’50s and ’60s British sports car.
It is one of the most sought-after classic sports cars of today and the largest market for the Healey was unquestionably the U.S.
In the past few years, a steady flow of rust-free cars had returned to the United Kingdom.
The Austin-Healey was a sensation. It looked stunning, sounded great and performed well on the road.
The total production figures from beginning to end amounted to about 70,592 cars.
Donald Healey severed his ties with company and became chairman of another famous British manufacturer, Jensen Cars. The last car to bear his name was the Jensen-Healey, which aimed at the MGB and TR6 market.
Unfortunately, it did not take off and production ceased in 1976, having built 10,926 units.
For his “services to export,” Healey was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1973. The great man died in 1988, but his memory lives on in the Healeys still being raced, driven, collected and enjoyed today.