Wednesday, February 29, 2012


In 1945 Donald Mitchell Healey, a very capable auto engineer and successful racing driver, founded the Warwick based Healey Motor Company. But the history of the Austin-Healey Marque really started in 1952 at the Earls Court Motor show in London. Donald Healey was showing his latest model there, which was known as the Healey Hundred. It featured a sleek 2-seater sports body and was powered by a 2.6 litre 4-cylinder Austin engine. It attracted a great deal of interest not just from the public, but as legend has it also from Sir Leonard Lord of Austin who needed a sports model to meet impending new competition from rivals such as MG and Triumph. An arrangement was made between the two men, and the car was put into production at Austin's Longbridge factory. It was sold as the Austin-Healey 100.

It is now more widely known that talks between Leonard Lord and Donald Healey had occurred earlier than the 1952 show, and that discussions of a possible deal between them were mentioned when Donald Healey had arranged to use Austin running gear for his car. The 100 did very well in motor sport which was then, as it is now very good publicity for a car manufacturer, and sales were good. This same car was later fitted with a six cylinder engine and became known as the 100 Six and after further development ultimately became the Austin-Healey 3000 - now widely acknowledged as being the one of the greatest British sports cars of all time. Production of a small sports car, the Austin-Healey Sprite began in 1958, and this was powered by the BMC A series engine.

 The Sprite proved to be extremely popular and became fondly known as the Frogeyed Sprite due to the positioning of the headlamps which protruded above the low bonnet to meet lighting regulations. Austin-Healey went on to produce cars right up until 1972 when the 20-year agreement between Healey and Austin came to and end. Donald Healey left the company in 1968 when the British Motor Corporation (Austin had merged with Morris in 1952 to form BMC) was taken over by British Leyland. Donald Healey became Chairman of Jensen Cars, and was later awarded a CBE. Donald Healey died in January 1988 at the age of 89. For more information on Donald Healey you may wish to follow this link to an excellent article by the chairman of the Austin-Healey Club (UK) Eastern Centre.

Austin-Healey 3000

The Austin-Healey 3000 was launched in June 1959 featuring several improvements over its predecessor the 100/6. These included an increase in engine capacity from 2639cc to 2912cc, Girling front disc brakes, adjustable front seats, and wire wheels as standard. Subtle styling changes were also made to the bodywork, which was produced as both a 2-seater and a 2+2. A factory built hardtop was also available as an optional extra. As with other Austin-Healeys these cars are sometimes referred to by their factory designations with the Mk I 2-seater being known as the BN7 and the 2+2 the BT7. A mark II model was introduced in 1961, and this featured triple S.U. carburettors boosting the engine power to 132bhp. Minor changes to the cars frontal appearance were made, and an improved hood, windscreen, and wind up side windows were fitted. From 1963 the 2-seater model was dropped. The final version of the 3000, the Mk III appeared in 1964. This had a further increase in engine power, servo assisted brakes, improved rear suspension and a more luxurious interior, which featured a wood veneer dashboard. The 3000 was discontinued in 1968.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Fiat 8V

The Fiat 8V (or "Otto Vu") is a sports car produced by the Italian automaker Fiat from 1952 to 1954. The car was introduced at the 1952 Geneva Motor Show. The name 8V was chosen because they thought that Ford had trademarked the name "V8". They weren't a commercial success, but did well in racing. Apart from the differential the car did not share any parts with the other Fiats (but many parts were made by Siata and they used them for their cars). The 8V was developed by Dante Giacosa and the stylist Fabio Lucio Rapi. The engine was a V8 originally designed for a luxury sedan, but that project was stopped. The Fiat V8 had a 70 degree V configuration of up to a 1996 cc of volume, at 5600 rpm the engine produced 105 hp (78 kW) in standard form giving a top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph). The engine was connected to a four speed gearbox. The car had independent suspension all round and drum brakes on all four wheels. The Fiat 8V got its name because at the time of its making Ford had a copyright on the term V8.

Top management were preoccupied with more run of the mill projects, however, and only 114 of the high-performance coupés had been produced by the time the cars were withdrawn from production in 1954.[1] Nevertheless, they continued to win the Italian 2-litre GT championship every year until 1959.

34 of the cars had a factory produced bodywork by Carozzeria Speciale FIAT. Some cars had the bodywork done by other Italian coachbuilders. Carozzeria Zagato made 32 that they labelled "Elaborata Zagato". Ghia and Vignale also made bodyworks. Most were coupés, but some spyders were made as well.

Ghia designed and produced a limited run of cars named 'Supersonic', with special 'jet age' bodywork. Ghia had recently been sold by Boano to Luigi Segre, and a one-off car had been built for a wealthy entrant in the Mille Miglia race. The car was displayed at the 1953 Turin show and the reaction inspired Segre to plan a limited production of cars based on the Otto Vu, aimed at the American market. Only eight were completed, after mechanical issues ended the project. Several of the cars were purchased by Americans; some were heavily customized and received engine transplants. An original un-restored car sold at a Scottsdale, Arizona Gooding and Company auction in January 2011 with a gavel price of US $1.55 million ($1.7M including buyer's premium)

Ghia entworfen und in limitierter Auflage von Autos mit dem Namen "Supersonic" produziert, mit speziellen 'Jet-Zeitalter "Karosserie. Ghia hatte vor kurzem durch Boano worden zu Luigi Segre verkauft, und eine einmalige Wagen war für eine wohlhabende Teilnehmer bei der Mille Miglia Rennen gebaut worden.
Ghia conçu et réalisé une série limitée de voitures nommées «Supersonic», avec la carrosserie «ère du jet» spécial. Ghia avait récemment été vendu par Boano à Luigi Segre, et une voiture unique avait été construit pour un participant riche dans la course des Mille Miglia.

غيا تصميم وإنتاج سلسلة محدودة من السيارات اسمه 'أسرع من الصوت، مع هيكل السيارة' سن طائرة "خاص. وكان غيا مؤخرا تم بيعها من قبل Boano إلى Segre لويجي، وكان قد تم بناء سيارة لمرة واحدة للحصول على الوافد الثرية في سباق ميل Miglia. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

1954 Packard Caribbean

The Packard Caribbean was the production version of the Packard Pan American dream cars and appeared in 1953. Packard contracted with the Mitchell-Bentley Company of  Ionia, Michigan to convert 750 standard Packard Convertibles. The following year, the Caribbean became even more luxurious coming equipped with dual heaters and defrosters, leather interior, three-way radio with a power antenna, continental spare tire, power steering, power windows, power seats, and power brakes.

The two-tone red and white Packard Caribbean Convertible shown was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction in Monterey, CA. It was expected to sell for $75,000-$125,000 and offered without reserve. It is number 392 out of 400 and has recently undergone a complete restoration. It is powered by a 359 cubic-inch L-head eight-cylinder engine that produces just over 200 horsepower.

1954 Packard Caribbean
One of Packard President James J. Nance's objectives in the early 1950s was to resurrect Packard's prewar image of total luxury. The way to do this, he said, was to establish the cheaper Clipper as a separate make and load Packard with loaded Packards, such as the 1954 Packard Caribbean.

He did, and the evidence is that it worked. As a former Packard dealer said: "I don't remember anything that was a better showroom traffic-builder after the war than the Caribbean. That car was a classic."

Things began to go bad for Nance in 1954 as Packard, wounded in the crossfire of the Ford/GM sales battle, failed to meet his deadline for a new V-8 engine and a heavy facelift. Both were postponed to 1955 and the 1953s warmed over to fill the gap, but sales ran at just a third the previous year's pace. All this naturally affected the Caribbean, and 1954 production dipped to only 400 units, the lowest of the model's four years.

One drawback of being stuck with the same bodies for 1954 was that Packard's line leader was stuck with the same short wheelbase. In that dimension, the Caribbean was an exact match for this year's much-less-special Buick Skylark. Olds forgot the Fiesta, but Cadillac's Eldorado blossomed to 129 inches. It, too, was now much less unique, but it also cost $2,000 less than the 1953.

 Das Packard Karibik war die Serienversion des Packard Pan American Dream Cars 
und erschien im Jahr 1953.

Packard Karayip Packard Pan Amerikan rüyası araba üretim 
versiyonu ve 1953 yılında ortaya çıktı.

 पैकार्ड कैरेबियन Packard पैन अमेरिकी सपना कारों के उत्पादन 
संस्करण था और 1953 में दिखाई दिया.