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Lot 221: Healey Silverstone Roadster

Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 June 2012)

The Donald Healey Motor company completed its first car in 1945, going into full-time production the following year. The firm's first offering was a 2.4-litre Riley-powered sports saloon with welded-up chassis and Healey's own trailing arm independent front suspension. For the clubman racer there was the dual-purpose Silverstone, a model equally at home on road or track. The saloon's engine and basic underpinnings were retained, though with shorter frame, stiffer springing and - unusually for the time - a front anti-roll bar. Designed by Len Hodges, the lightweight two-seater body was crafted in aluminium, while the car's purposeful look was enhanced by cycle wings and closely spaced headlamps mounted behind the radiator grille. Another unusual feature was the spare wheel protruding from its compartment in the tail, thus doubling as a bumper! The 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.' Getting the price down to less than £1,000 had been an important consideration in the Silverstone's development, as that was the level at which the swingeing 66% Purchase Tax would be levied. The Silverstone was soon making a name for itself in rallying and circuit racing, with Donald himself, together with co-driver Ian Appleyard, securing a class win in the 1949 Alpine Rally, in which they were the highest placed British car. Other noteworthy international successes include Peter Riley and Bill Lamb's class win in the 1951 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally; Peter Simpson's 6th place overall in the 1951 Isle of Man Manx Cup Races; and Edgar Wadsworth and Cyril Corbishley's victory in the 1951 Coupe des Alpes. Many future stars gained their first track experience in the Silverstone, most notably Tony Brooks. Among Healey's other customers was the American millionaire racing driver, Briggs Cunningham, who ordered two Silverstones: one standard and one rolling chassis (the only example supplied in this form). Suitably strengthened, this chassis was fitted with Cadillac's new overhead-valve V8 engine and raced successfully in the USA for several years. In all, 104 Healey Silverstones were built between 1949 and 1951. Chassis number 'D31' was first owned by one J Godbeer, passing to its second owner, J E Newcombe, in 1962. Mr Newcombe was followed by P Deldofield (1977), Richard Proctor (1977-78), S A Williams (1978) and G K Smith, who owned the car briefly during 1986 before selling it the late owner that same year. 'GCY 10' arrived in pieces but is presented reassembled and in bare metal. Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, the car comes complete with its original buff logbook and old-style Swansea V5 registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles
Bonhams, Oxford, UK
Lot Number221
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£56000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£64220
Condition rating
Registration numberGCY 10
Chassis numberD31
Engine number3925
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2