Donald Healey, a British rally racing driver and car manufacturer, founded the company bearing his name in 1945. Healey had started out racing, and then, turned to car manufacturing. He was a Technical Chief at Triumph, and also, had helped Riley build some of their proven race winning engines. At first, the Donald Healey Motor Company manufactured box-section chassis. Riley supplied the engines and the rear axles. The Riley engine Healey used was 2,443 cc. It had overhead valves actuated by twin, high-mounted camshafts and pushrods. Healey used his box-section chassis and independent coiled spring front suspension in conjunction with the Riley engine to create two chassis models. Healey created a roadster known as the Westland and a saloon called the Elliot. Both were unveiled in 1946.
Healey then decided to make a car truly made for sports car racing. In 1949, Healey introduced the Silverstone. Virtually a single-seat styled grand prix car with fenders, the chassis consisted of what was a heavily-rounded box chassis, made up of aluminum. The nose was rounded off and fell steeply at the very front. Interestingly, behind the vertical-bar grill set the car’s two headlights. The front suspension incorporated a trailing link design similar to the German cars of pre-war design. In addition, the tires were neatly covered by cycle fenders. One of the other interesting design aspects to the Silverstone was Healey’s placement of the spare tire. Healey dramatically rounded the rear end of the car and pulled it in slightly from the sides. A slot was cut out of this rear end. This slot was used to house the tire. The tire then doubled as a bumper.
Healey had created two generations of the Silverstones. The first example was known as the D-Type. The follow-up was the E-Type.
In total, only 104 Silverstones were built between 1949 and 1951.
The magazine Motor, when it announced and featured the model in July 1949, described the Silverstone as a ‘light competition-type two-seater to sell at the basic price of £975’ while observing that ‘weighing only 18.5cwt, the new Healey offers improved performance for competition work, yet remains entirely suitable for normal road use.’
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
This example is is one of the desirable 51 cars of the “D” series.
It was first registered on 4th of May 1950, although the chassis number indicates that it was built in 1949.
This Silverstone was despatched to Scotland where it was purchased new by a Mr. Frazer from Glasgow.
While in Scotland, the Healey was raced and hill climbed for two years, driven mainly by Bob Dickson and the famous rally driver, Nancy Mitchell.
Nancy Mitchell was one of BMC’s squad of British lady rally drivers in the 1950s, winning two European Ladies’ Championships.
She drove the Healey Silverstone in several hill climbs.
The car then came back to England keeping the same registration for the rest of its life in the UK.
This specific Silverstone was used in brochures for hard tops which were made for the Healey Silverstone by Universal Laminations Ltd and an original copy of the 1954 advertisement is in the history file.
From 1956 to 1970 the car belonged to a Mr. A.J. Bowers in Hampshire.
Another long-term owner was Mr David Reader, who raced the Healey extensively and kept it from 1992 to 2012.
The last owner was a Belgium collector with an extremely impressive car collection. This person used the Silverstone in several rallies including the well known Zoute Grand Prix in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
This car was even featured on the cover of the 2014 Zoute Grand Prix programme!
Other important international rallies attended include the Coppa D’Oro delle Dolomiti in 2016 and the Gran Premio Nuvolari in 2017.
This well documented car comes with an exceptionally comprehensive history file which fills 3 large binders.
Its contents include logbooks dating from the 1950s and 1960s detailing all journeys, mileage totals, oil changes, work done, etc plus a vast quantity of original period invoices for parts and work carried out, mostly issued by the Donald Healey Motor Company.
There is also a fascinating correspondence with the Donald Healey Motor Company dating from the 1950s.
It’s absolutely unique to see all sorts of invoices starting from 1951 on the typical old paper.
Other documents include period racing photographs, a copy of the old UK V5 in the name of David Reader, FIVA identity card, instructions for the instruments, photographs of participation in the Zoute Grand Prix, restoration pictures and a copy of the Healey Silverstone brochure.
This Healey seems to have always been well maintained and kept in top condition mechanically, reflecting the considerable sum of money invested in it by the former owners.
Fitted with instruments for participation in regularity rallies, it is an ideal purchase for anyone who likes to buy a very special but still reasonable priced car.
The car is highly eligible for the world’s most impressive rally events such as the Mille Miglia.
During the Belgium ownership the body was restored and painted in the period correct (and assumably original) dark British Racing Green. The paint on the car is very nice with a beautiful deep shine and one can find some patina due to the use of the car but overall the car is in a beautiful condition.
The chrome grill at the front has lost it’s shine over the years on the main pillar but this is a nice patina which belongs to the car.
The rest of the chrome is all in a nice order..
The interior is absolutely fabulous as the leather on the seats and the doorcards are completely original. Can you imagine that Nancy Mitchell was sitting on the same leather when she did hill climbs in the 1950’s??
The carpets have been renewed over the years in a period correct material and this part looks very nice.
All instruments, gauges and knobs are in a perfect working order.
In their 1950s heyday, the Healey Silverstones were track rivals of the XK Jaguars; by combining the outstanding merits of the two marques – Jaguar power and Healey roadholding – this well-sorted historic racer affords the prospect of exciting competition for the fortunate new owner.
We personally know very well how a healey Silverstone is driving. We have driven in 2015 the Mille Miglia with an Healey Silverstone and can confirm that this car gives an enormous smile on everybody’s face.
The handling of a Silverstone is difficult to describe as it is seriously spectacular. A Silverstone is a real race car which can also be used on a relaxed way on the normal road.
The car is very powerful and has an enormous torque. This makes the car great to accelerate on a circuit or in mountain areas.
The brakes are very direct so the car gives a safe feeling when it’s seriously raced.
Highly original, exceptionally well documented, ready for any event, and clearly well looked after throughout its career, this is a wonderful sporting Healey with great character.
The car is ready to be subscribed in the world’s nicest classic car events such as The Zoute Grand Prix, The Gran Premio Nuvolari, The Mille Miglia and many many other nice classic car events.
Due to the low production number this will always be a unique car to see in any of the events.