Donald Healey had a wonderful arrangement with BMC (later BL). They built his sportscars for him, sold and maintained them, and gave him a generous royalty on each and every car to boot!
But Donald Healey became perturbed when he learned of British Leyland’s decision to discontinue the A-H 3000. Healey had put forward a design study for the next generation Healey sportscar, but BL were not interested.
In 1969, American importer Kjell Qvale was equally perturbed with BL’s ‘Healey replacement’, the MGC. Upon contacting Donald Healey to find out why he could not import Healey sportscars any more, Qvale discovered that the Austin-Healey was royalty agreement / contract / sub-contract. And the actual manufacturer of the Austin-Healey fully-trimmed body was Jensen Motors! Qvale’s subsequent meetings with Donald Healey lead to Qvale becoming the majority shareholder in Jensen Motors Limited and Donald Healey was appointed Company Chairman.
Thus the Jensen-Healey was born – the ideal British sportscar that would find a ready market in the United States.
The official debut of the new Jensen-Healey was the Geneva Motor Show in March, 1972. John Bolster in Autosport commented: ‘Donald Healey’s latest will create a great deal of interest.’
The Jensen-Healey story will be continued…