The attractive looks and affordable price of the Austin-Healey sports cars made them popular on both sides of the Atlantic. See more pictures of sports cars.
In 1952, just as Donald Healey began looking for ways to expand his business, Leonard Lord of the British Motor Corporation’s Austin division was searching for a way to spruce up his line. So when Lord saw that Healey’s prototype car at the London Motor Show was based off the Austin A90 design, history -- and the Austin-Healey name -- was born.
In the pages of this article, you’ll learn about the timeless Austin-Healey cars, from the Austin-Healey 100/4 that started it all to the decade-spanning Austin-Healey 3000.
That original A90 prototype eventually became the Austin-Healey 100/4, a clean, sporty car that remained affordable. American enthusiasts were quick to support this lively, attractive machine, firmly establishing Austin-Healey’s reputation.
The natural evolution of the 100/4 -- the Austin-Healey 100 Six -- traded its four-cylinder engine for -- you guessed it -- a powerful straight six. The body was updated without losing any of its character, although it was significantly heavier than the 100/4, and performance suffered for it.
A few years later, Austin-Healey made up for the 100 Six’s sometimes-sluggish handling with the zippy, frog-eyed Austin-Healey Sprite. A last-minute change in headlight design forced Austin-Healey to apply protruding, bug-like headlamps which, combined with the car’s tiny dimensions, gave it a completely unique look. People loved it. That it was also an agile, responsive, and unbelievably inexpensive car didn’t hurt matters, either, and the Sprite retains a fond place in collectors’ hearts to this day.
Finally, the Austin-Healey 3000 rounded out the line, going through several incarnations in its nine-year run, ending with the Mk III. While all good things must come to an end, you can find out all about these beloved Austin-Healey cars in the following pages. Let's get started on the next page with the Austin-Healey 100/4.