In 1946, Donald Healey established his Motor Company in Warwick, United Kingdom, with the purpose of designing and producing sporting cars. His company set out to design and develop a chassis and suspension to be combined with a Riley gearbox and a 4-cylinder 2443cc engine that produced over one hundred BHP. The race cars that Donald Healey produced in those days are generally known as Warwick Healeys but they are also referred to as pre-Austin cars or pre-BMC cars.
It wasn’t long before Healey’s cars became far too expensive for the market so he started with new designs that included parts bins mass-produced by major manufacturers. One of the outcomes was the classic Healey 100, the number 100 indicating that the car’s top speed was 100mph. In 1952, after the Earls Court Motor Exhibition, Donald Healey struck a deal with Austin’s Leonard Lord to manufacture Donald’s car and renamed it the Austin Healey 100. Later, the more famous and more powerful Austin Healey 3000 was to follow.
In an attempt to come up with a more fun sports motor car at a lower cost, the company developed the Austin-Healey Sprite which contained many Austin A30 parts. The company also tried to come up with the Big Healey, as opposed to the Austin-Healey 3000, but when the Austin-Healey 4000 wasn’t taken into production, Donald’s cooperation with Austin came to an end. Donald Healey Motors consequently tried to set out a few other car design projects, yet the only car that ever saw the light of day was the Jensen Healey through a collaboration with the Jensen Motor Company. For information on the Austin-Healey 100, check out this post.
U.S. Austin-Healey Sports & Touring Club
In September 1976, the Austin Healey Sports & Touring Club (AHSTC) was founded by five enthusiasts at Larry Verdekal’s home in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Larry had set up the first meeting by simply stuffing business cards under the wiper blades of any Austin Healey that he came across and organized a meeting in his house.
In America, there were already the Austin Healey Club of America and the Pacific Centre Austin Healey Club, but there were no events on a regular basis that could be visited by Healey enthusiasts in America’s northeastern states. The new club published a monthly newsletter for interested parties to get people together and to promote new membership signings.
Today, the Austin-Healey Sports & Touring Club consists of more than 300 Austin Healey owners and includes regional branches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. All regional branches hold their own activities and meetings, and the club has members in Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and more states along the American eastern seaboard.
Every year, the AHSTC organizes an all-region multi-day meeting that is open to every Healey owner and other enthusiasts. This year’s event will be in September 2018 and there will be more than 150 Austin-Healey owners present and many Healey fans. The meeting will include a judged Concours, a car rally where also a few Sprite models will participate, a popular-vote car show, several tech sessions, and an interesting flea market.
The six regional AHSTC branches are located in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Brandywine, North Jersey, and Long Island. All club members are actually working or living in these areas where you can find the most fun events.