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Donald M. Healey and his Production Cars

Austin-Healey - A Brief History

In 1945 Donald Mitchell Healey, a very capable auto engineer and successful racing driver, founded the Warwick based Healey Motor Company. But the history of the Austin-Healey Marque really started in 1952 at the Earls Court Motor show in London. Donald Healey was showing his latest model there, which was known as the Healey Hundred. It featured a sleek 2-seater sports body and was powered by a 2.6 litre 4-cylinder Austin engine. It attracted a great deal of interest not just from the public, but as legend has it also from Sir Leonard Lord of Austin who needed a sports model to meet impending new competition from rivals such as MG and Triumph. An arrangement was made between the two men, and the car was put into production at Austin's Longbridge factory. It was sold as the Austin-Healey 100. It is now more widely known that talks between Leonard Lord and Donald Healey had occurred earlier than the 1952 show, and that discussions of a possible deal between them were mentioned when Donald Healey had arranged to use Austin running gear for his car. The 100 did very well in motor sport which was then, as it is now very good publicity for a car manufacturer, and sales were good. This same car was later fitted with a six cylinder engine and became known as the 100 Six and after further development ultimately became the Austin-Healey 3000 - now widely acknowledged as being the one of the greatest British sports cars of all time. Production of a small sports car, the Austin-Healey Sprite began in 1958, and this was powered by the BMC A series engine. The Sprite proved to be extremely popular and became fondly known as the Frogeyed Sprite due to the positioning of the headlamps which protruded above the low bonnet to meet lighting regulations. Austin-Healey went on to produce cars right up until 1972 when the 20-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to and end. Donald Healey left the company in 1968 when the British Motor Corporation (Austin had merged with Morris in 1952 to form BMC) was taken over by British Leyland. Donald Healey became Chairman of Jensen Cars, and was later awarded a CBE. Donald Healey died in January 1988 at the age of 89.
(source: gbclassiccars.co.uk)

Big Healey Production Models

Austin Healey 100 Model BN1
Production May 1953 - June 1955. 10,030 produced.
Engine: 4 cylinder Transmission: 3 speed.
Radiator grille bars had a satin finish. Crease line of the front wing/door/front of rear wing did not continue to back of rear wing. Ignition to the right of center of the dash.

Austin Healey 100S
Production February 1955 - November 1955. 50 produced.
Special racing version of the BN1. Modified engine with 1.75" SU carburetors, disc brakes and all-aluminum body.

Austin Healey 100 Model BN2
Production August 1955 - August 1956. 4,604 produced.
Engine: 4 cylinder Transmission: 4 speed.
Radiator grille bars had a chrome finish. Crease line of the front wing/door/front of rear wing did continue to back of rear wing. Front wheel arch larger than that of the BN1. Ignition in the center of the dash.

Austin Healey 100M
Production September 1955 - July 1956. 640 produced.
Le Mans version, available from the factory as a modified BN2 with a louvered bonnet and strap, 1.75" carburettors, special inlet manifolds, cold air box and air tube. About 500 Le Mans Conversion Kits were sold through dealers starting in 1954, prior to both the BN2 and the 100S, thus many were installed to modify production BN1s, true to form because the modifications first appeared on four BN1 special test cars prepared for the 1953 Mille Miglia and the 24 hour Le Mans of France.

Austin Healey 100/6 Models BN4 (2+2) BN6 (2 Seater)
Production August 1956 - June 1959. 14,436 produced.
Engine: 6 cylinder 2,639cc had gallery cylinder head and 1.5" carburettors. Later cars (Nov. 1957) had a 12 port cylinder head with 1.75" HD6 cards available. Cars made at Longbridge up to December 1957, had a centre line down the length of the bonnet. Both models had drum brakes on all 4 wheels. All had a 100/6 grille badge.

Austin Healey 3000 Models BN7 (2 Seater) BT7 (2+2) MKI
Production July 1959 - April 1961. 13,650 produced.
Engine: 6 cylinder 2,912cc. Front disc brakes. Same body as 100/6. 3000 badge on boot lid.

Austin Healey 3000 Models BN7 (2 Seater) BT7 (2+2) MKII
Production May 1961 - March 1962. 5,450 produced.
Engine: 6 cylinder Triple 1.5" HS4 carbs. Vertical grille slats. New badge with MKII text on boot lid. From November, 1961 center change gearbox standard.

Austin Healey 3000 Model BJ7 MKIIA
Production March 1962 - September 1963. 6,113 produced.
Engine: 6 cylinder reverted back to twin 1.75" carbs. Wrap around windscreen, quarterlights and wind down windows. In June 1963 changed from 48 spoke wires to 60 spoke.

Austin Healey 3000 Model BJ8 MKIII Phase 1
Production October 1963 - April 1964. 1,390 produced.
Engine: 6 cylinder reverted back to twin 2" HD8 carbs. Dual exhaust system with rear silencer. New wood fascia dashboard. Electronic tachometer. Gauges with black faces. Continued with pull door handles until May 1964.

Austin Healey 3000 Model BJ8 MKIII Phase 2
Production May 1964 - December 1967. 16,322 produced.
Changed profile of chassis at the rear under the axle. Radius arms to rear axle replaced panhard rod. Larger lens on sidelight/indicator. Push button door handles with external locks replace pull handle. Other changes include silencing system utilizing three silencers, vacuum servo-assisted brakes, burl walnut veneer dash fascia, shorter quick-throw gearshift, and fold-down jump seats. In March 1965 started separate amber front and rear indicators.

Last Austin Healey 3000 finished in March 1968
Total "Big Healeys" produced: 71,987

Healey Sprite Production Models

Austin Healey Sprite Model AN5 MKI
Production 1958 - 1961. 48,987 produced.
Engine: 948cc BMC A-Series I4 with twin 1.125" inch SU carburettors. Called the Frogeye in the U.K.; Bugeye in the U.S. The designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted into the front wings, but cost-cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted and the headlamps were placed inboard. Body initially styled by Gerry Coker; alterations finished by Les Ireland after Coker emigrated to the U.S. in 1957.

Austin Healey Sebring Sprite
Production 1959-1961.
Modified AN5 MKI Sprites outfitted for racing. Homologated on 17 September 1960.

Austin Healey Sprite Model AN6 MKII
Production 1961 - 1964. 31,665 produced.
Engine: 948cc BMC A-Series I4 but with larger twin 1.25" SU carburettors. In October 1962, the Sprite got a long-stroke 1098 cc engine (engine code 10CG), with a strengthened gearbox with Porsche (baulk-ring) synchromesh, front disc brakes, and optional wire wheels.

Austin Healey Sprite MKIII
Production 1964 - 1966. 25,905 produced.
Engine: 1,098cc BMC A-Series I4 with crankshaft main bearings increased to 2" (engine code 10CC) roll-up windows, hinged side vent windows, more wraparound windshield, semi-elliptic leaf springs in rear, and redesigned soft top and dashboard.

Austin-Healey Sprite MKIV
Production October 1966 - 1971. 22,790 produced.
Engine: 1,275cc BMC A-Series I4. Separate brake and clutch master cylinders were fitted for safety. Permanently affixed, folding convertible top. 1970 - reclining seats; 1971 - upgraded heater and stays for the bonnet and boot lids.

Last Austin Healey Sprite finished in 1971.
Total Healey Sprites produced: 129,347

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