1950 Healey Silverstone
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History of the car
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. Designed by Len Hodges, the lightweight two-seater body was crafted in aluminum, while the car's purposeful look was enhanced by cycle wings and closely spaced headlamps mounted behind the radiator grill. 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.
Observing a weight of only 18.5cwt, the new Healey offered improved performance for competition work, yet remained 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 swinging 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 second in class and second overall in the 1949 Alpine Rally, they were the highest placed British car. Other noteworthy international successes included 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.
There were two generations of Silverstone's, designated ‘D-Types' and ‘E-Types', in addition to two prototype "X" models. The D-Type had a front anti-roll bar and stiffer springs and retained the Riley power plant and rear axle. An improved E-Type, with a wider body and more comfortable cockpit, was introduced in 1950.