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Austin-Healey was a British sports car maker established in 1952 through a joint venture between the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company (Healey), a renowned automotive engineering and design firm. Leonard Lord represented BMC and Donald Healey his firm.
BMC merged with Jaguar Cars in 1966 to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). Donald Healey left BMH in 1968 when it merged into British Leyland. Healey then joined Jensen Motors, which had been making bodies for the "big Healeys" since their inception in 1952, and became their chairman in 1972. Austin-Healey cars were produced until 1972 when the 20-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to an end.
- Open 2-seater (minimal weather protection)
- 1953–55 BN1 Austin-Healey 100
- 1955 Austin-Healey 100S (Limited production—50 race-prepared cars)
- 1955–56 BN2 Austin-Healey 100 and 100M
- Open 2+2-seater
- 1956–57 BN4 Austin-Healey 100-6 (2+2 roadster)
- 1957–59 BN4 Austin-Healey 100-6 Change to 1 3⁄4-inch SU Carbs (2+2 roadster)
- 1958–59 BN6 Austin-Healey 100-6 6-Cylinder (2-seater roadster)
- Open 2+2-seater
- 1959–61 BN7 Mark I (2-seater roadster), BT7 Mark I (2+2 roadster)
- 1961–62 BN7 Mark II (2-seater roadster), BT7 Mark II (2+2)
- Convertible 2+2-seater (wind-up windows)
- 1962–63 BJ7 Mark II (2+2 convertible)
- 1963–67 BJ8 Mark III (2+2 convertible)
- Open 2-seater
- 1958–61 AN5 Mark I (UK: "Frogeye"; US: "Bugeye")
- 1961–64 HAN6–HAN7 Mark II
- Convertible 2-seater
- 1964–66 HAN8 Mark III (roll-up windows)
- 1966–69 HAN9 Mark IV
- 1969–70 HAN10 Mark IV (UK only)
- 1971 AAN10 Mark IV (UK only; badged as Austin rather than Austin-Healey)
The Austin Healey was extensively raced by the Donald Healey Motor Company in Europe at Le Mans and in Sebring in the U.S., in classic rallies by the BMC competitions department, and was recognized from the very beginning by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Healey models raced in club racing in D, E, and F production classes, winning National Championships in both D and E Production. The last Big Healey to win an SCCA National Championship was the class E Production Austin-Healey 100-6 driven by Alan Barker at the Daytona ARRC in 1965.
In 1953, a special streamlined Austin-Healey set several land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.
The name Austin is now owned by Nanjing, which bought the assets of MG Rover Group (British Leyland's successor company) out of bankruptcy in 2005. After Donald Healey sold his original business, Donald Healey Motor Company, the Healey brand was registered to a new firm, Healey Automobile Consultants, which the Healey family sold to HFI Automotive in 2005.
In June 2007, Nanjing and Healey Automobile Consultants / HFI Automotive signed a collaborative agreement that aims to recreate the Austin Healey and Healey marques alongside NAC's MG. No timeline has been given as to when the Healey and Austin-Healey brands will return, although MG will be back on the market in China and the UK by the year's end.
In popular cultureEdit
- In first episode of the 7th season of Mad Men: "Time Zones", Megan picks up Don at LAX in a 1969 Austin-Healey.
- The videoclip for Everybody Wants to Rule the World, by Tears for Fears, had Curt Smith driving a green Austin-Healey 3000 around landmarks of southern California, including Cabazon and Salton Sea.
- In "The Father of the Bride" and "The Father of the Bride II", George Banks (Steve Martin) also drives one.
- In Home Improvement, Tim "The Toolman" Taylor gets into trouble when he drives Jill's Austin-Healey without her permission.
- In The Invisible Man (1958 TV series), the protagonist Dr. Peter Brady and his widowed sister often drive his 1958 Austin-Healey 100/6.
- Harry O . Private Investigator TV show 1974-1976 starring David Janssen. In the series he drove an Austin-Healey Sprite Mark III dove grey with red interior.(According to Dr. Daniel J. Benny Private Investigator).
- In National Lampoons Vacation, Clark Griswald makes a reference to a Austin Healey he drove in college.
- In Losing Chase, Chase (Helen Mirren), the movie protagonist, drives a red 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite. The car represents her freedom and had seat belts added to the back seat so her kids could ride in the back.
- In Endeavour, Joss Bixby tells Morse he has just taken delivery of “The new Klipspringer Continental”, which is actually an Austin Healey 3000.
- In Transformers, Sam's father, Ron Witwicky, uses a 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 to drive his son to a local dealership, in order to purchase Sam’s first car.
- In an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld drives an Austin-Healey while chatting with Ricky Gervais.
- Rorke, Robert (14 April 2014). "10 things that made us cheer on the 'Mad Men' Season 7 premiere". New York Post.
- "1958 Austin-Healey 100/6 [BN4]". Internet Movie Car Database. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
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