From the collection of the late Sam Garrett
1949 Healey Silverstone
Chassis no. D13
Engine no. 83698
* 2.4-liter four-cylinder
* 4-speed transmission
* Lightweight, streamlined bodywork
* 1950s race history
* Mille Miglia and Goodwood eligible
The Donald Healey Motor Company Ltd completed its first car in 1945, going into full-time production the following year. The firm's first offering was a 2.4-liter 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 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 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.
First registered as KOE 451, the known ownership chain for D13 begins with a Mr. G. Weldon in 1950, who sold the Healey to G.A. Lewis in June 1953. Mr. Lewis is believed to have raced this car, appropriately enough at Silverstone circuit in a National race on June 27, 1953, finishing fifth overall and may well have raced elsewhere.
The intervening history between 1953 and 1970 has not been documented however the next recorded owner was a Mr. Timothy J. Laughton of Stratford-Upon-Avon. In 1985 the car passed to well-known collector and dealer Nigel Dawes of Birtsmorton Court, Worcestershire and thereafter into the current ownership in the United States, forming part of the extensive private collection in the Pebble Beach area belonging to the great car enthusiast Sam Garrett. Bonhams were honored to offer the majority of Mr. Garrett's collection in our 2010 Quail Lodge Sale, the Silverstone being one of the last three remaining cars retained by his family. Repainted dark blue from a lighter shade of blue at some point, the Healey is in generally good order, with a delightful patina of age. Mille Miglia and Goodwood Revival eligible, the Silverstone has recently been fettled and is offered for sale with extensive documentation.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit and the correct engine number is B3698.