Although everyone now remembers Donald Healey for the famous Austin-Healey sports car which bear his name, his reputation was secure well before then. Triumph's technical chief in the 1930s, he established his own sports car business immediately after the Second World War, and a whole family of sports saloons, drop-head coupes and two-seaters evolved around the same chassis.
Donald Healey made his mark in the 1920s as an ace rally driver. In the 1930s, he was technical chief for Triumph; he also helped Riley and Invicta win events like the famed Monte Carlo Rally. By 1946, he was ready to fulfill a long-held dream of building cars under his own name, and set-up a small shop in Warwick, a few miles south of Coventry, Britain's automotive center.
His first sports car was the Silverstone named after Britain's then-new Grand Prix track: Silverstone. Powered by a 2.4-liter Riley engine, the Silverstone used a welded chassis and Healy's own trailing arm independent front suspension. The Len Hodges-designed lightweight body was crafted in aluminum, while the car's look was enhanced by cycle wings and closely spaced headlamps mounted behind the radiator grill. Another unusual feature was the spare wheel protruding from its compartment in the tail, doubling as a bumper. The comfortable interior of the 1950 Healey Silverstone made driving a pleasure.
As a dual-purpose 'race-and-ride' sports car, the Silverstone was designed to be light, simple, and functional. Because they were assembled mostly by hand, Healeys were expensive. Bodies tended to decay rather quickly in hot, damp climates, but the chassis and running gear proved strong and durable. In performance they were more than a match for most rivals, capable of a top speed of 110 mph and accelerating from 0-60 mph in 11 seconds.
Only 105 of these rare convertibles were ever made.
Sold for $192,500 at 2011 RM Auctions
Donald Healey, a British rally racing driver and car manufacturer, founded the company bearing his name in 1945. Healey had started out racing, and then, turned to car manufacturing. He was a Technical Chief at Triumph, and also, had helped Riley bui [Read More...]By Jeremy McMullen
After World War II, sports car racing took off across Europe. Racers were converting Jaguars, Porsches, Triumphs and all manner of production cars to race cars. Into this milieu came Donald Healey and the Silverstone. Healey was a successful car desi [Read More...]
The Healey Silverstone was produced from 1949 through 1950, during that time, 105 examples were produced. These cars were built before the 'Nash-Healey' and 'Austin-Healey' by a number of years.
These hand built, two-seater, machines were designed to be light, quick, and agile. The vehicle featured a twin high-camshaft Riley 2.5-litre engine, capable of producing 104 horsepower.
Riley transmission and rear axle also accompanied the 'sporty' little British vehicle.
The spare tire was mounted horizontally in the rear of the vehicle. It served a duel purpose; it was the bumper for the vehicle. The front of the vehicle was void of a bumper.
The Silverstone's were a two-seater with little luggage space. Since they were hand-built, they were expensive. This made the vehicle suitable for only one purpose: motor-sports. The vehicle weight 2,050 pounds thanks to its aluminum body. The chassis was a simple, box-section, design featuring an independent front suspension and beam-axle in the rear. The Silverstone could achieve a top speed of around 105 miles-per-hour.
Due to their limited production these vehicles are very rare and desirable.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008