The Healey Story by Geoffrey Healey

When Britain was ahead of the pack
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The Independent Culture

Go to any classic car rally or decent motor museum and you'll almost certainly see an Austin-Healey sports car or, just possibly, a Healey racing car.

Viewing the cutesy Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite or the still-handsome Austin-Healey 100, it's hard to recall how advanced was the work of Donald and Geoffrey Healey, a remarkable father-and-son team. In the 1950s, they were up there with the Jaguars, Maseratis and Ferraris in racing, set speed records, and were - for a time - the world's fastest production cars.

This book, by the late Geoffrey Healey, captures something of the generation of British engineers who, between the 1930s and the 1960s, built a creative and varied auto industry in Britain and fought a world war in between.

The great joy in a book like this is discovering some car one never knew about. For me, that's the Healey Fiesta, an abortive, tuned version of Ford's hatchback for the US market. It might have turned out to be a lively machine but, somehow, I feel glad that the Healey name never suffered such a fate.