Following the success of the US export-only Nash Healey, a version of this car was considered for the home market and the first Healey Sports Convertible appeared at the London Motor Show in 1951. However, the parallel development of the smaller Healey 100 led to the creation and mass production of the hugely successful Austin Healey marque, and caused the consequent eclipse of the Sports Convertible, which became the last of the true Warwick Healeys. The price of £1,600, with £890 VAT superimposed, made a total of £2490 which was also non-competitive for the 1950s. Production of the Sports Convertible ended in 1953 with only 25 cars eventually made, and with a further 3 hybrids assembled from remaining parts, and with varying engines.
The Sports Convertible body followed the Nash tradition in that it was made by Panelcraft of Birmingham, but with a different grille and bumpers, and without the Nash bonnet bulge. The car has a distinctly American look when viewed from the front. However, from the rear the similarity of the design to the smaller 100 is apparent. The car is fitted with a bench seat and central arm rest, and the hood neatly folds down out of sight behind the seat. It also has wind up windows, and lockable doors, both of which were unusual features for an open sports car of the time. The boot is large and, interestingly, the fuel filling tube and cap is located inside it. The car weighs in at about 24cwt according to fuel loading, and has the G-Series Healey chassis, with its unique coil spring and trailing link front suspension, and has a Salisbury back axle, unlike early Healeys.
At the time Morris motors were phasing out production of the established Riley engine that had been used in all previous Healey models. Healey needed an alternative supplier, and the approach to Alvis was made, culminating in the supply of their 3-litre, 6 cylinder series engine. The Alvis supplied engines can be identified in that they have a HTB TB 21 stamping, as opposed to a TA or TC. The engines were supplied with the Alvis bell housing and gearbox attached. The engine is fitted with twin SU carburetors and develops its maximum torque at around 4000 rpm, corresponding to about 106 bhp at 85mph. Thereafter anything is a bonus (and interesting driving!). The acceleration was good for the time, with official road tests achieving 0-60 in 13 seconds. About 25 mpg can be expected for normal motoring.
Known details of the 28 cars produced are listed in the members area. 12 owners have been contacted, any further information and detail would be most welcome.
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