Donald Healey built cars bearing his own name from 1945 onwards, but real success arrived with the launch of his Healey 100 in 1952. It was noticed by Austin boss Leonard Lord, and a deal between the two parties was soon reached where Austin would build the Healey, using its mechanical parts in Abingdon. And so, Austin-Healey as a marque was formed.
It was conceived as an Austin rival for MG. The ‘Big’ Healeys – the 100, 100/6 and 3000 models – were later joined by the smaller Austin-Healey Sprite, a small, cheap and cheerful roadster. In 1968, and with the formation of British, the 3000 dropped out of production (it was due for replacement anyway), and the Sprite only managed a further three years. Austin-Healey died when the Healey deal was cancelled.