Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! 

This week’s question: What was the last car to officially carry the Healey Wings?

If you think you know the answer, fly on over the jump and see if you are right.

Donald Healey is perhaps one of the most famous of tuners and specialty builders in all of automobiledom. At least, how many other people have had their names affixed to specials and sports cars over the course of half a century? 

Healey’s earliest automotive endeavor was a garage opened in Parrenporth, Cornwall back in 1920. It was his rally driving however – taking first place at the 1931 Monte Carlo Rally in a 4 ½-litre Invicta – that established his name in the racing community. That led to a stint at Riley, and then the position of technical director at Triumph where he was responsible for the development of the Southern Cross and Dolomite 8. Healey and his co-driver miraculously survived their Dolomite being hit by a train in the 1933 Monte Carlo event.

1978-Healey-Fiesta-2Triumph went into receivership in 1939, and during WWII, Healey served as manager of carburetor manufacture for the Ministry of Supply. At the end of hostilities he jumped back into the automotive fray, producing his first eponymous product, the Riley-engined Healey Elliot saloon. That car’s racing successes allowed Healey to follow up with a proper sports car – the Healey Silverstone. THAT car’s popularity led to a deal with Nash, which resulted – unsurprisingly – in the Nash Healey, a Pininfarina-styled GT with the American brand’s straight six.

Perhaps the most well-known, and in fact the most ubiquitous of Healey’s offspring were the Austin Healeys, both the large four and six cylinder models, and the cute as a bug’s eye Sprite. The tiny roadster lived on after the dissolution of Austin Healey as the MG Midget, but by then Donald Healey was already in bed with another venerated British masker, than being Jensen, which resulted in the production of about 11,000 Jensen Healeys, each powered by a Lotus two-litre.

And that was it, right? After the Jensen partnership Donald Healey seemingly retired from the car-modding biz, until his death at age 89 in 1988. Well, no, there was one more, and that is the answer to this week’s trivia challenge.

From BritishSportsCars.com

The last vehicle to be manufactured that carried the “Healey Wings” that made it to the road is the Healey Fiesta.

The ‘Healey Fiesta’ was but a single car, but it was in fact a righteous Healy-modded special, its creation overseen by Donald and son Geoff. The car started out as an American-spec’d car, owing to that having the largest engine – the 1600 – the Fiesta offered. That mill was summarily stripped of its emissions controls and had its compression bumped from 8.5 to 10.1:1. It also received the cross-flow ‘Mexico’ head and a Weber 2BBL all of which pushed out about 80-bhp.

The body and interior also received attention, featuring fattened flares and a deep chin spoiler in front, as well as Wolfrace seats, added gauges, and a chunky three-spoke wheel inside. Perhaps the best mod however are the firewall and dashboard plaques that announce this as a product of Healey Automobile Consultants ltd, of Warwick England.  The Healey Fiesta made its way onto the cover of the August 1979 issue of Road & Track, and Ford’s show circuit. It eventually ended up in private hands, those being Bob Segui’s. He’s a long-time Healey fan and the founder of the San Diego British Car Club Council, so you know the car is also in good hands.

Image source: BritishSportsCars

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