When involved in an Austin-Healey restoration project, the more information a person has on the history of the car and those that made it the more it can be highly beneficial. One of the greatest pieces of historical information is how and where this car was originally produced. Check out also this Top Gear film about the Austin A90.
The first Austin-Healey’s were made in Longbridge, England, alongside the Austin A90 automobile. A number of the parts between these two cars are interchangeable. The most notable of these is the engine.
The same 2660 cc engine with a 3.4-inch bore and 4.4-inch stroke was used in both cars. The same transmission was also used but the Austin-Healey’s was a modified version. The second and third gears were overdrives of the Austin-Healey version. This is a good way to distinguish if your project car has an original engine and transmission, or a replacement with an A90 version.
The same transmission housing was used but the gears themselves were different. If you find that your car does not obtain a speed of 100 mph, then look into replacing the gears to the Austin-Healey version of gears.
In restoration projects, it is the little things that count. By restoring a 40 to 60-year-old car like an Austin-Healey, original parts are sometimes hard to find, if not impossible. For Austin-Healey enthusiasts, there is an advantage. The last parts manager of the Austin-Healey Motor Company started a parts business when the company closed its doors.
This company is named the AH Spares Limited and is located in the UK. They have over 330,000 parts in stock ready for shipping to you. They handle original, along with OEM reproduction components. For this reason, be specific about the part you desire to purchase. Just remember that with your Austin-Healey restoration project, attention to detail is what it is all about. To learn more about the 1960 Austin-Healy 3000, check out this post.
The project of restoring an Austin Healey is a popular hobby in America, like probably anywhere else around the globe. This is one of the few cars whose production did not stop due to bad sales or a terrible reputation. The only reason was that the British Motor Company decided to heavily promote the MG Midget line of cars because they did not have to pay Don Healey any royalties.
For those enthusiasts, this fact has become a blessing in disguise. With the MG Midget line of cars, a direct copy of the Austin-Healy Sprite for years from 1961 to the final year in 1972, parts of both cars are almost entirely interchangeable. This is greatly attributed to the way cars are designed in England. Only the nameplates for some models, other than just the bodies, were unique. The motors, suspension, steering and even the interior were all taken from the general BMC parts bins for use.
The Sprite was not the only car in the Austin-Healey line up that used parts that were in use from other cars in production at that time. The Austin-Healey 100 did the same thing with the Austin A90 Atlantic. While the outward appearance is not the same, under the skin all the parts came from the same BMC parts bin.
The Austin-Healey 3000 or Big Healey did not have a cousin under the skin. This one did use the same parts bin, but no other car was assembled just like it. The 2912 cc motor was not specially built but when combined with the special transmission gear that was not available in any other BMC, the top speed was over 110 mph. This is just one of the many things to keep in mind when undertaking an Austin-Healey restoration as a hobby.
Locating Healey Spare Parts
When you are in need of spare parts, Healey brand can still be found in plentiful supply for your Austin-Healey restoration project. This might have been an English sports car, but it was most popular in America. For this reason, there is a greater supply of spare parts for all models of the Austin-Healey on this side of the Atlantic.
The difference in its popularity might be best visualized by the number of Austin-Healey sports car clubs in each country. With nearly 50 clubs scattered across the states and only about 4 across the UK, the difference is dramatic.
With that said, the largest and oldest Austin-Healey spare parts supplier is located in the UK. AH Spares is a company that was created near the end of the production run of the Austin-Healey car itself. This is when the last parts manager at the Austin-Healey Car Company formed a parts company that will exclusively supply Austin-Healey parts to AH enthusiasts.
Even with specialty companies like that around, one fact cannot be changed. The Austin-Healey line of cars was mostly built from the spare parts bin that was readily available from the British Motor Company. For this reason, if the part you need does not have a distinctive Austin-Healey serial number, like the chassis, body, and engine, the parts are interchangeable with the MG line of cars.
This is why so many Austin-Healey enthusiasts have a spare MG Midget as a supply of cheap and readily available spare parts for their Austin-Healey restoration project car. To help in this pursuit is the fact that nearly 4 times as many MG Midgets were sold in the United States than Austin-Healey’s.