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.
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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.