Author: John Wheatley, Hardbound, 56 Pages, ISBN: 9780854294879, First Edition, 1988 **RARE BOOK IN GOOD CONDITION**
I was a sixth form schoolboy when I saw my first Healey car in a Birmingham showroom in 1947, and I remember the sense of awe I felt when looking at this new postwar car.
Guaranteed to exceed 100mph, it represented a tremendous design advance over the majority of cars just beginning to come back onto the UK market (in the main carried over pre-war models of mediocre performance) and it quickly established the name of Healey as the builders of high quality, high performance vehicles.
When the Silverstone appeared it was obviously a car for the serious competition driver and was much admired for its purposeful appearance.
The "100" was a startling new concept from Healey. Less expensive than previous Warwick products and planned to be built in rather larger volumes, it represented a great leap forward in specification, design and performance in relation to the MG TC I was driving at the time of the new Healey's announcement. Sleek and incredibly beautiful, the "100" was a proper sports car, capable of being driven in the street and being used in serious competition; as endorsed by its subsequent Le Mans debut a few months later.
Donald Healey and his family, who together typify those classic English entrepreneurs who seem to succeed at everything they attempt, were able to create the Austin-Healey marque which has since given great pleasure to enthusiasts the world over.
It is fortunate that their cars were designed and manufactured in the two decades after the end of World War Two when manufacturers were able to bring their ideas to fruition without the restrictions of today. Current legislation attaching to automobile design means that we shall never again see the like of the Austin-Healey and its contemporaries.
Modern cars are very efficient, safe, and fast, but lack the charisma of the muscular "Big Healey". Fortunately, we have preserved many of the cars which have earned the name Healey an honoured place in International motoring history.
It has given me great pleasure to write this book and the reader will fairly quickly realise that I hold the Austin-Healey 100 in great affection. It is a car which has given my family and me much enjoyment over more than thirty years and has opened the doors to many good and valued friendships. In writing this book I have been fortunate to have the help of many people, but special thanks must go to Anders Clausager of The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, who made available to me the recently recovered microfilm of Longbridge production Job Cards, allowing new and original research to be carried out and published here for the first time.
I have to thank Austin Rover for the use of photographic archive material; David Matthews for providing an up to date listing of overseas clubs; Autocar, Road & Track, Autosport and Motor magazines for permission to reproduce original contemporary road test material; John Reed and Gerry Hills for allowing Andrew Morland to photograph their cars, and Ian Walker for providing period photographs of his car.
I am indebted to Paul Skilleter, Marek Szpalski, Roger Moment and Stuart Johnson for the use of photographs from their own personal collections. I am very grateful to Peter Tanser and Roger Moment for their contributions to the "Owner's View" Section which should encourage all potential owners. Their enthusiasm confirms the belief that the Austin-Healey 100 remains an attractive and enjoyable sports car, evocative of an era never to return.
Above all, I must thank my wife Heather for her help and encouragement. She is as interested in our Healey as I am, which makes me a lucky man indeed!
Author, John Wheatley