NEW Healey

Healeys have been under the radar for so many years now, I always thought that a big Healey would see rebirth before the Mini. but now I see that retro is pulling the chords of a 50 year old vehical.

Hopefully when redisigning a vehical, the designer actually sits in an old healey.

I would love to see modern British interpretations of the sportscar beyond the MGTF. However, that prototype looks like a Pontiac Solstice with a Jay Leno chin sucking a lemon. Good to see someone thinking two-tone again too.

My personal hope is that Nanjing will leverage there UK sources to build some cool cars that will make it to North America. Interestingly, they acquired the Longbridge UK plant when they purchased the rusted rotted hulk that was previously known as MG Rover.

I always thought that MG ROver was separate from Healey. Wasn’t rover group supported by the UK government via handout financing and loans in the lean no profit times?

Healey to me was less tied at the hip to Rover than most UK partnerships.

This is what I gather from memory, the link provided here and some web searching. The Healey name was owned by a relative of the original Mr. Healey. The name was sold to this person that wants to build a new Healey. However, contracts with MG Rover say that whoever wants to build a Healey has to obtain MG Rover’s permission before using the name. This is possibly due to MG Rover’s continued ownership of the Austin name. Confused yet?

MG Rover was not heavily financed by the UK government. In fact, the government seemingly ignored the evidence of the Phoenix Group’s plundering of Rover’s assets before dumping the body into the English Channel. It’s a crying shame since Rover had all of the ingredients of a successful company, it just lacked any sort of management.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the AH3000, when I was a kid my dad had one for five or six years. I’m havin’ a hard time buyin’ into this one … two-tone paint just isn’t enough to pull it off. They missed too many cues; the original 3000 looks much more aggressive. My immediate impression was that it was a BMW project, or (gasp…) a Buick (LaCrosse) convertible excercise.

It’s just not significantly different than these other vehicles.

With BMW’s success of the ‘new’ Mini I would have thought that something like a revitalized “Bugeye” might have been a more viable concept.

I thought of the Z4 too LMO. I’ve always loved brit sports cars. No one else has ever done them the same way.

A bug-eye sprite would definately have its own market to itself. No one is making a sportscar based on light weight, instead taking the more power route (even Miata!). Here are some cars that are light weight fun:

Daihatsu Copen:

Suzuki Cappaccino:

Smart Roadster:

The thing these cars have in common? They are all distinctive, incredibly light weight, fuel efficient and tons of fun.

Lastly, here is the car which was continuing the tradition until Nanjing bought them, MG:

You know Mr, considering the price of fuel and the environment, beyond basic point-A to point-B transportation there isn’t much rationalization for anything other than a Scion-like “boxcar”.

That said, the only other possible rationalization might be “grins”; but you don’t need a ton of horsepower to achieve that. If you’ve ever driven a go kart you know what I mean; too bad manufacturers don’t understand it. Maybe they were all deprived of the karting experience as kids, and now they’re depriving us of some great automobiles as a result. IMHO.

I was glad to see that you included the Midget in your list. A buddy in college had a '73. I’m a big guy and a not a comfortable fit for the Midget (I fit into my MkI Cortina much better) but I sure as hell enjoyed driving it. Being close to the ground significantly increases the ya-ya factor so even if it won’t blow the doors off of a 911 it feels like it will … and that’s the point. And in my experience, if you happen to find the “right” 911 driver, you can blow his doors off, as long as you’re going downhill.

My dad restored cars as a hobby so I grew up with Ford Model T’s, an Austin 7 Ruby, an AH3000, a TR-3, and an XK120. It’s fun to relive the old cars through this current “retro” fad, but I think it’s time to move on and create what will become “classics”.

I pulled these images off the net.

1974 Midget


Austin 7 Ruby
(a clunky looking little machine, but fun to drive)


But while we’re on the “retro” subject … the Jaguar D Type is still waiting for a proper redo … something just isn’t right in this excercise … too big me thinks; lost the flavor they did … needs those side pipes … and the fin? Probably too much to ask for I guess. Like a retro Bugeye, I think the D would make a great “little” street car.

I owned a VW-Porsche 914 in high school. Fun car. 18 seconds to 60. Perfect.

I don’t know why, but every 6 ft.+ tall person I meet loves the 914. My 5’9" frame fit perfect with the seat all the way back, I don’t know how these guys drove them!

Here are some other light blasts from the past:

Honda S500

Nissan Fairlady

Porsche 914

Alpine A110

Fiat 850

Possible: Smart roadster rebadged as MG Midget. US exports are also planned.

MG’s back part II:

China’s Nanjing Automobile Corp., which bought the MG brand after MG Rover collapsed in 2005, announced the formation of MG Motors North America/Europe Inc. and plans to start vehicle production in Nanjing, China; Longbridge, England; and Ardmore, Oklahoma.

MGs will first be sold in Europe in 2007, followed by reintroduction to the United States in late 2008. Three sedans, formerly known as ZR, ZS and ZT, along with the TF Roadster and TF Coupe will be sold in European markets, while the U.S. launch will feature the TF sports cars followed by two sedan models.

This story have more meat behind it than my previous post on the Smart roadster because the MG TF and Rover 75 were well developed cars when Nanjing bought them. They wouldn’t need much tweaking to bring them over by 2008, or sell them right away in Europe, as Nanjing has moved the tooling to their factory in China. Just hit “play” as it were.

Interestingly, they plan to have final assembly in the target markets. I’m curious what benefit this will get them. If anyone finds out, please share.