Donald Healey, a former RFC pilot and 1931 Monte Carlo Rally winner, is best known for the Austin-Healey 100 and 3000 of the 1950s and 1960s. Right after World War II, he began to manufacture his own automobiles based on his designs at Warwick, near Coventry. His first model featured a single steel chassis that carried a variety of coachbuilt bodies including saloons, convertible coupes and roadster.
The front suspension was inspired by the Auto Union Grand Prix cars of the late 1930s. The rear include a Riley rear axle with a Panhard rod and coil springs. Under the bonnet was a modified 2443cc Riley engine featuring daul camshafts. The engine was mated to a Riely four-speed gearbox. The roadsters were known as Westlands while the two-door saloon coachwork were called Elliott. These touring cars were capable of exceeding 100 miles per hour and accelerating from zero-to-sixty in as little as 12 seconds. Braking was provided by Lockheed drums.
In 1948, Donald and Geoff Healey drove a Westland to a second-in-class finish at the Mille Miglia. The next year, Geoff Healey, Donald's son, and Tommy Wisdom took the same Healey Westland to a class victory in the Mille Miglia. This was the same year that Donald and Geoff drove from New York to Hollywood in a Westland while organizing the U.S.-based Healey dealer network.
There were just 42 examples of the Westland-bodied Healeys that were originally produced on the 'B-Type' chassis. This example has recently been given a bare-chassis, nut-and-bolt restoration. It is finished in the correct metallic pearl green finish. There is some indication that this car may have been the one Healey drove to Hollywood, but conclusive evidence is not available.
In 2010, this Healey Westland Roadster was offered for sale at RM Auctions 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' sale in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $140,000 - $180,000. As bidding came to a close, the car has been sold for the sum of $159,500, inclusive of buyer's premium.
In 1948, this Healey was shipped from Southampton, England, on the Queen Mary to New York City. Donald Healey and his son Geoff drove this car from New York City to Los Angeles, California. Their journey was reported in the English magazine The Motor complete with photos showing highlights of the trip. They included stops with potential Healey dealers in Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Phoenix, before arriving in California. The trip required 10 days with an average of over 300 miles per day.
Mr. Healey sold the car in Los Angeles at the end of the trip. It remained in the Los Angeles area, being driven until 1957, at which time, it went into storage for over 40 years. The car remained in storage until 1997 when purchased by the current owner.
In 2004, the car was shipped to Melbourne, Australia, for restoration. The documented restoration included the exact type of Scottish leather, English carpeting and hood material provided in 1948. The all-aluminum body was carefully reassembled on the ash frame.
The car is powered by a 2,433cc, in-line, 4-cylinder engine developing 104 hp, and is coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. The 2,075 pound car has a top speed of 93 mph.
Text: © Conceptcarz