Healey Museum NL. – First hand

Spread the love
Healey Museum Nl.
My wife and I were in Amsterdam for a few days in April and took the opportunity to visit the Healey Museum in Vreeland.
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will recall that I first became acquainted with the Healey Museum in March 2013, six months after it was first opened.
Soon afterwards a friend of mine who frequently travel to the Netherlands to visit family,on my suggestion, called into the Museum on one of his trips. He wrote a report which I published on this blog under the heading ‘Healey Museum Nl. by proxy’. 
Now I am able to report on my ‘first hand’ visit.
The museum is usually open on Thursday thru’ Sunday but I was able to visit on a Tuesday because a potential supplier of merchandise, Hergest Handbags from Kington, Herefordshire, U.K., was visiting on that day. 


We were made very welcome by Hans van de Kerkhof, the man who started the museum (now a charitable trust). In fact after the people from Hergest had departed we were given more than two hours of his undivided attention. 

The first thing he introduced us to was a stunning film about Donald Mitichell Healey and his family. This film was originally produced by the BBC as part of a series of documentaries on famous Cornish families, produced several decades ago. The Healey family obtained the film from the BBC but it got subsumed into the huge plethora of other items in the Healey archives and eventually got forgotten about. 
That is until it was found in some historical Healey items purchased by an American enthusiast. To cut a very long story short Hans obtained this film, which was in pretty poor condition, and commissioned a film restoration company to digitalise what could be saved of the original film. There was no sound track on the film itself so Hans asked Donald’s son Brian ‘Bic’ Healey (‘Bic’ died in 2014) to do an accompanying commentary.
The result is amazingly good and is so emotional in terms of recalling Donald’s and his family’s lives that I am sure many Healey enthusiasts or Automobile historians could be moved to tears. It is a real piece of motoring history treasure. Well done Hans for taking the trouble to both save the film and making it accessible to visitors to the Museum.


Then we were introduced to the cars on display. Each one is unique in some way or another. I am not going to record a ‘blow by blow’ account of all that Hans told us about the cars. They are not my stories to tell, they belong to Hans and the Museum. the very reason why all Healey enthusiasts in particular and car enthusiasts in general should visit the Museum. 
I have captioned each of the photos below to give just a flavour of the stories behind each car.As a Jensen Motors draughtsman in my youth, I was excited when Hans opened a draw in the archives area of the Museum with the words “these documents rarely see the light of day”. And those documents? – they were line drawings (technical rather than stylist’s sketches) on Jensen headed drafting paper.
Several, of a Healey 100 hard top, were signed by my old colleague John Attrill. What a thrill it was for me to see those drawings.
But the biggest thrill of all was for me to see a line drawing of Jensen’s submission for the Austin Sports Car. i.e. the concept that was made reality by the Healey 100. See the link below*


The main purpose of this post is for me to say how much my wife and I enjoyed our visit to the Healey Museum. Also to suggest that all Healey enthusiasts throughout the world should make it a point of honour to visit the Museum at least once in their lifetime.


One final comment; I recognise that the Netherlands is not the most obvious place to a have museum dedicated to Donald Healey and his cars. The U.K. or the U.S.A. (where most of the ‘Big Healeys’ were sold) would be more logical. But the fact is, Hans van de Kerkhof and some of his Dutch friends had the vision and commitment to create such an enterprise.
Many people may have had the dream but Hans and his team are the only people to successfully make the dream come true and then some!

1947 Healey Sportsmobile 4 seat cabriolet.
Designed for the American market. Only 25 were built
and this one is one of 5 known to still exist. 

 

1948 Duncan Healey. A Duncan Industries (Engineers) Ltd. aluminium body
on a Healey chassis with Riley 2.4 twin-cam engine.
23 of these cars were built and six are believed to still exist.

 

 

 

1950 Healey Silverstone Sports/Racing car 

 

 

A very special Austin Healey 3000 competition car
The trophy awarded to the Austin Healey 100
at the 1953 Motor Worlds Fair held in Miami, Fl.

 

A very rare Austin Healey 100. Designated ‘BN3’ although
there is no record of A.H. 100 BN3s being produced.
This was purely a prototype built to examine some possible refinements to the basic design.
This included two rear seats first seen in production on the 100/6 BN4
1953 Austin Healey 100 BN1 in original condition,
including rub marks on the top of the driver’s door where
the driver rested his elbow!
The Austin Healey’s ‘Swan Song’ or the “car that never was”
Another rare car, only three were built. It is six inches wider than a
A.H. 3000 and fitted with a 4.0Ltr. Rolls Royce engine.

 

Hans’s own A.H. 3000 competition car.

 

1965 Austin Healey Sprite Le Mans/Sebring sports racing car

New additions November 2015 

1952/3 Nash – Healey with design input by Pinin Farina. 
This car was loaned to the Museum in support of a talk given by Bill Emerson on the occasion of the Museum’s 3rd Anniversary, 29 November 2015. This car can be seen at the Museum until further notice. 

The latest acquisition by the Museum, a BN2 M fitted with an engine built by Denis Welch Motorsport Ltd which was presented by the late Denis’s son, Jeremy who has owned the business since 2006.


These two photos courtesy of Jack Hoogland, former Secretary at the Museum.


Latest News from the Museum –

1. Bonhams the London based auctioneers specialising in classic cars are now listed amongst the sponsors of the Museum. They hope to arrange a number of auctions based at the Museum in the future.
 
2. ONX 113 One of two Coupe (hard-tops incorporated into the normal open top bodies built by Jensen Motor Company, West Bromwich, U.K.) models designed and built by the Healey Motor Company in 1953 was auctioned by Bonhams in December 2015 for £639,900. It was purchased by a Dutch national and was revealed to a select audience at the museum on 19th December. 
Here are some photos courtesy of the Healey Museum Nl. –
 

 

 

 

Nick

 

Explore more

spot_img
Coventry MotoFest 2024

Coventry MotoFest 2024 Report

In the U.K. you can never depend of the weather to treat outdoor events kindly but when it does  those events are so much...
Healey Silverstone 75th Anniversary

Healey Silverstone 75th Anniversary

CSI is please to bring you this 'Press Release' from Silverstone Festival 2024 "HEALEY SILVERSTONE CELEBRATES ITS 75th AT SILVERSTONE FESTIVAL • Special milestone for racy roadster...
Midget & Sprite Club

Healeys at the Classic Car & Restoration Show 2024

I made my annual visit to the 'Practical Classics' Classic Car & Restoration Show last Friday. As ever, it was a friendly and joyful...
Classic Car & Restoration Show

Classic Car & Restoration Show Birmingham NEC 2024 – Report

It's always a pleasure to attend this annual event. Everyone you meet is friendly and courteous, the people on the various stands are keen...
MG Prototypes

MG Prototypes at the British Motor Museum

Last year I read various articles on how MG enthusiasts had spotted rare MG prototypes rotting away on the old MG Rover site at...
Historic Rally Car Register Open Day at Gaydon 2024

Historic Rally Car Register Open Day at Gaydon 2024 – Report

In previous years I have been pleased to publicise the Historic Rally Car Register Open Day held at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, in...
Singer Le Mans

The Patrick Foundation supports ‘The Learning Hub’ at the British Motor...

A press release from the British Motor Museum - "The British Motor Museum is delighted to announce the opening of ‘The Learning Hub’, a brand-new...

Healeys at the Classic Motor Show Birmingham NEC 2023

Last Friday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Classic Motor Show held at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. I have attended for the...