UK: Famous sportscar brand to be revived
A famous British sports car brand is due for revival this year, in the hands of a new company that plans to build two new Healey models, according to reports.
The Daily Telegraph said English American consortium HFI has purchased the famous 1950s British sports-car manufacturer Healey Automobile Consultants (HAC), and is planning to launch a range of cars badged as Healeys.
HFI managing director Tim Fenna, who owns Frontline Spridget, a specialist spares supplier and modification centre for original Austin-Healeys, told the paper: "I'm pretty excited about it all. We've been working on this for two years, talking to the Healey family, and getting the funds and the team together. It was important to involve the Healey family because they own the Healey name and it would have been foolish to do something without their involvement."
The Daily Telegraph noted that the new deal will call into question plans announced last summer by the GB Sports Car Company and MG Rover's Chinese owner, Nanjing Automobile, to build sports cars at Longbridge badged as Austin-Healeys and MGs.
The Daily Telegraph said it understood that although the Austin-Healey name is a separate legal entity from Healey, or Austin, it cannot be used without the explicit agreement of the owners of Healey (HFI) and Austin (Nanjing).
Fenna told the Daily Telegraph: "I don't want to comment about GB Sports Car, because we are not getting into a fight or a slanging match. Our focus is on this new company. We've got a prototype car running now and there's also a prototype platform for a second car."
The paper said Healey Automobile Consultants was founded in 1955 by Donald Healey, the pre-war rally driver and technical director of Triumph, and his son Geoffrey. From 1946 Donald Healey built cars badged with his own name and in conjunction with other car makers.
The Nash Healey and Jensen Healey are just two such examples, but the most famous was the co-operation between Donald Healey and Leonard Lord of Austin, which resulted in the Austin-Healey Sprite as well as the 100 and 3000 models, the Daily Telegraph noted.
The paper added that HAC is now under the directorship of Donald Healey's daughter Margot, and his granddaughters (Geoffrey's daughters) Cecilia and Kate, all of whom will maintain an interest in HFI.
Margot Healey told the Daily Telegraph: "We have been committed to developing and protecting the brand and are very pleased to have reached an agreement which will result in the manufacture of a new Healey in the UK. We look forward to seeing the great British sports car back on our roads soon."