Obituary: Anthony Heal
Friday 07 April 1995
Anthony Heal was keenly aware of his company's history and ensured that a phenomenal quantity of archival material was preserved over the years. It was thanks to his generosity that the Heal's archive was given to the Archive of Art & Design at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in 1978. Today, this material is the most heavily used in the archive, and an important resource for design and social historians. A second tranche of material was given in 1994, Heal's generously providing funds for its cataloguing and conservation. Eleanor Gawne
Immediately he left school, Anthony Heal started to acquire vintage and veteran motor cars because of his love and respect for their beauty of workmanship, writes Rivers Fletcher. In 1934, aged 27, he was a founder member of the Vintage Sports Car Club. At that time he was driving a 30/98 Vauxhall of 1926. He drove this car and a Sunbeam tourer of about the same age in all the events of that club. As the club grew and organised speed events at Brooklands and at Shelsley Walsh Speed Hillclimb, Heal racedother cars, such as a 3-litre twin-cam Sunbeam sports tourer and a 1919 Ballot racing car. He became noted for his skill and the care which he displayed for his cars. When there was motor racing at Crystal Palace he bought a large 10-litre Fiat with chain drive and this was one of the fastest Edwardian cars to compete in competition. During the Second World War, when all the motor clubs were closed down for the duration, Heal joined a small group of enthusiasts which promoted social events in London to maintain contact among motor- racing personnel and in 1945, with the return of peace, they organised the first event at which racing and sports cars were demonstrated to the public. Heal, driving his 5-litre Ballot, had one of only 10 racing cars at that meeting. He went on to race his Fiat, Ballot and a 1926 Grand Prix Sunbeam in many events at Silverstone, Shelsley Walsh, Prescott, Donington, and Oulton Park, and became a legendary figure in the world of vintage and veteran motor sport. He extended his interest to other forms of transport, including steam vehicles, and he purchased a 1916 steam tractor which had been built for the Army to tow large guns. He drove this enormous vehicle to many traction engine Rallies and Fairs. Even in his eighties he drove his 3-litre twin-cam Sunbeam touring car to all the Vintage events. Anthony Heal was a quiet and reserved man. In the latter years of his life he maintained close contact with his friends in the vintage-car movement and attended the Annual General Meeting of the Vintage Sports Car Club in London only four days before he died.
Anthony Standerwick Heal, businessman: born 23 February 1907; Chairman, Heal & Son 1952-81; married 1941 Theodora Griffin (two sons); died 25 March 1995.
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