illustration badeau marque

Austin Healey

The small sports car brand Austin Healey has a very particular history which is not very far from the British manufacturer MG.
Indeed it is in 1952 that Donald Healey, creator of the mark, sets up an agreement with the firm Austin (integrated in the group B.M.C, where was already MG).
Thus, thanks to the association of name of Donald Healey of the Austin firm is born the small British mark Austin Healey, with models resembling the MG, because positioned on the same segment of market.
Austin-Healey launched the 3000 in 1953, a superb roadster with pontoon bodywork, even more elegant than the contemporary Jaguar XK 120, one of its main competitors. This new model was equipped with an improved Austin engine, 6 cylinders of 3 liters developing 140hp and allowing a maximum speed of 185km/h, uncommon at the time. The Austin-Healey 3000 was a great success.
In 1958, the Sprite appeared, a kind of 3000 in reduction, with two prominent round headlights at the front which made it nicknamed "Froggie" (frog). This small sports car was equipped with an Austin engine of 1100cc developing 60hp allowing a maximum speed of 145km/h. It was supposed to democratize the sports car, while enlarging the Austin-Healey range, and considerably increasing the production volume of the brand.
The Sprite could be considered as a modernized version of the MG Midget which had disappeared in 1955, and which perfectly defined the idea of "THE" small British sports car, simple and economical. But MG lost this authenticity as time went by, with the presentation in 1955 of the MG A, much more sophisticated than the Midget, and especially the presentation of the Magnette sedan in 1954, derived from the Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford. This left a space available below the MG A and Austin-Healey 3000. The Sprite soldered in the face of this shortage.
In 1961, the Sprite was completely redesigned. The new MG Midget presented at the same time takes its bodywork completely. MG will thus return on the market of the small cheap sports cars, after seven years of absence. These two twin models will cohabit until 1971, but they will be very quickly competed by the new Triumph Spitfire launched in 1962. At that time, Triumph, Austin-Healey and MG were not part of the same group, so the competition was exacerbated between these brands.
In 1968, the B.M.C. group merged with the Leyland group, which brought the two companies Triumph and Rover into the marriage basket. The new entity becomes B.L.M.C. (British Leyland Motor Corporation). It was then decided that each brand should have its own model.
The new model born from this association was named Jensen-Healey and was released in 1972. But the oil crisis of 1973/1974 was fatal to the Jensen firm, and the Jensen-Healey disappeared at the beginning of 1976, after a total of 8,000 units had been produced. From 1953 to 1971, more than 200 000 Austin-Healey were produced.