CR4804/3/138 ** Louise King, (American) actress wife of Peter Collins (English) F1 racing driver, with DMH sitting in an AH 100 M in a New York Park. For more information on the connection between DMH, Peter Collins and Louise King see the link under ‘Further Reading at the bottom of this web page.
The Healey SR and XR
These sports racing prototype category cars could be viewed as the ‘last hurrah’ for the Healey Motor Company. There would be other cars like the Healey Fiesta by Ford and the I.O.W. Frogeye Sprites but non that combined Donald’s love of competition and Geoffery’s engineering skills and imagination as these cars did.
Sadly, they were ‘heroic failures’ from the same mould as ‘the charge of the light brigade’ and Scott’s attempt to be the first man to reach the ‘South Pole’. In the case of the SR and XR, with just a little more luck or a little less bad luck both cars would have been outstanding successes, from the moulds that created the defeat of the ‘Spanish Armada’ and the ‘Battle of Britain’. But as my wife frequently quotes ” If ifs and ands were pots and pans what would we do for dishes?” Make of that what you will, it just seemed an appropriate summary.
David Matthews of wwah.org wrote : –
Photos from the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive
Editor’s Note: – There are more photos and information on the XR37 to come but I did not want to ‘overload’ you. So, I am going to publish Bulletin IVA in two weeks time to bring you that car plus anything else that crops up in the meantime. If you have any SR or XR info. please get in touch. I am interested in personal anecdotes rather than magazine articles.
Contributions from Subscribers: –
|David Moore of Stratford – Upon – Avon, U.K. wrote –
When a 19-year old student in Peterborough in 1967, I bought a very second-hand Austin Healey 100/4 reg no. OAC 969 from a dealer in Leicester. I ran the car for about 9 months and then sold it to a student from Loughborough University who intended to rebuild the car but I have never managed to find anything about the car’s subsequent career.
Editor’s note: – Has anyone any further knowldge of this car? If so please get in touch.
It was an early 100/4, registered on 27th November 1953 by Donald Healey Motors according to the Warwick County Council records (copy below).
The hardtop is an unusual one and was identified by John Wheatley (former 100/4 registrar) as made by Universal Laminations, apparently a quite expensive item. It was already on the car when I bought it but I removed it for separate sale when I sold the car.
I again became an Austin Healey owner in 1972 by buying a 1964 3000 Mk 3 (reg no. BRO 606B) which I still run 45 years on.
We received this email from Rick Neville, Ma. USA –
Robert and Nick,
Attached you will find an article written by me entitled “Reconsidering the Demise of the Big Healey” that appears in the January 2018 issue of Healey Marque, the monthly magazine of the Austin-Healey Club of America. As you’ll note in the article, information obtained from the Warwick Healey Archive was very helpful in my research and provided insight that I don’t believe was previously widely known. I’d also like to thank Becky Hemsley for arranging a visit by a friend to view and copy these materials at the Records Office and would appreciate it if you could pass this along to her as well.
Nick wrote back to Rick to thank him for his email, he also asked Rick if he would write a piece on how he was inspired to research the Healey Archive held at the WCRO.
By the way, you can read the article, that Rick refers to in his email, in the January issue of the Marque magazine, organ of the Austin Healey Club of America. It will also be reproduced in a future edition of the Rev Counter magazine, organ of the Austin Healey Club.
Here is the piece that Rick submitted to the Bulletin –
Seems like I’ve been doing research just about forever, first as a newspaper reporter, then as an attorney and now, in retirement, as a writer about Healeys. And research has changed so much from the days I scanned the microfiche records in the paper’s morgue or waded through dusty tomes in the law library. Of course, it’s just as important as ever as finding that right bit of information can add perspective to a news story, win a legal case, or for Healeys, bring a little-known fact to light. It’s just much easier now, with many records accessible through the tap of a keyboard.
Researching Healeys is a bit more old-school though. There aren’t vast data banks waiting to be mined for the subjects we wish to write about. Like most Healey folks, I have my own library of books that I’ve collected in 50 years of Healey interest. I can access period reports and publications and have a network of friends and colleagues to which to turn.But period pieces don’t always give the most accurate accounts. The items that make it into publication often don’t give the inside story or gloss over certain stories to put the subjects in a better light.
And so, it’s good for a researcher to be aware of as many primary sources that are available. More than thirty years ago I was lucky enough to collect Geoffrey Healey’s records that were destined to an American collector friend of mine from the customs broker. They came in several tea chests and while taking a peek inside, I learned the Healeys were better at building automobiles than organizing records, as important documents like Gerry Coker renderings and Le Mans registration documents were all kind of thrown together without any organization whatsoever. Nevertheless, we should be thankful to those who came forward to save these records for posterity.
I was most pleased to learn of the Healey Motor Company Archive project at the Warwick County Records Office through announcements on online forums and filed that information away for future use. It came in handy soon enough when I was tasked by Reid Trummel, editor of the Austin-Healey Club of America magazine Healey Marque, with taking a fresh look at what caused the demise of the big Healey in connection with the 50th anniversary of the car halting production. The Archive’s online catalogue greatly helped in locating a draft letter from Donald Healey to Joe Edwards, Managing Director of the British Motor Corporation that spelled out DMH’s ideas for a replacement big Healey during the period a badge-engineered MG/Austin-Healey was under consideration. Donald’s letter clearly shows why he was not pleased with the proposed design, including the fact that the new car just didn’t have the individual Healey look. DMH advocated a completely different front end to cure that problem as well as suggesting a V8 engine should be in the mix as Americans viewed the inline six as “obsolete”. Although it has been generally known that DMH was unsupportive of the big Healey replacement, the material provided by the Archive has revealed some previously unavailable insight into exactly what was going on in Donald’s mind as the end of the big Healey loomed.
To delve further into two of the stories covered in this edition of the Bulletin you an click on these links –
DMH, Peter Collins and Louise King – http://www.healeyvic.com.au/1309.pdf page 15!
The Healey SR and XR37 – http://www.wwah.org/wa_03book.htm
Subscribe for future editions of the WHMCA Bulletin for free
The main purpose of the Bulletin is to ‘showcase’ items, mainly photographs, taken from the Healey Motor Company Archive held at the Warwickshire County Record Office, Warwick, U.K. The reason for doing this is to keep the Archive’s existence in the mind of Healey, Austin Healey and Jensen-Healey enthusiasts. Hopefully, this will inspire some to come to Warwick to inspect items from the Archive for themselves, or, to order copies of items which have a particular appeal. The key to understanding what the Archive holds is the ‘online’ catalogue. This needs to be studied very carefully in order to get a better idea as to what material is available. Visit the Warwickshire Heritage and Culture website to learn how to use the catalogue and to order items, there is a link at the bottom of this page.
The Legal Stuff
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Off Topic –
Your next Porsche or Lamborghini?
As Seen at the Autosport Performance Car Show, Birmingham NEC 12 January 2018