1949 ELLIOT HEALEY FOUR-SEATER SALOON
Registration No. DVG 134
Chassis No. B1809
Engine No. B3093N809
Body No. 193
Engine: four cylinders, pushrod overhead valve, twin cam, twin SU carburettors, 2,443cc, 104bhp at 4,500rpm (source: Healey); Gearbox: four speed manual with synchromesh on top, third, and second; Suspension: independent coil springs with trailing links to the front, coil-sprung axle to the rear; Brakes: Servo-assisted drums all round. Right hand drive.
Taking its name from Samuel Elliot & Sons of Reading, the coachbuilders who supplied the bodywork, the Elliot Healey was one of two models introduced by the newly-conceived Donald Healey Motor Company in 1946. The company had extremely limited manufacturing capabilities, being only really able to assemble externally-sourced components on in-house chassis. Despite the obvious pitfalls of such an operation, one of the benefits was the ability to offer several models at once by sending the chassis to various coachbuilders for finishing. Thus, in 1946, DHMC emerged offering the Westland roadster and this, the Elliot saloon.
Healey had enjoyed a number of rallying successes in Rileys between the Wars, and had worked for them as design and development engineer in the early 1930s. Having been rebuffed by Triumph (for whom he had also worked) he returned to Riley for an engine to use, satisfied that their 2½ litre "Big Four" could provide sufficient power to approach the magical 100bhp per ton target. In doing so he pleased enthusiasts of the Riley marque who saw a continuation of the "Sporting Riley" story, abbreviated since the Nuffield take-over of 1938.
In 1946 the Elliot prototype recorded a top speed of 104mph, and this had risen within a couple of years to 107mph after a refinement of the carburettor and exhaust systems. These figures bequeathed upon the Elliot the title of "Britain's fastest production car". Having developed a reputation for high speed and good handling, the Elliot was further elevated by a hugely respectable 2nd place overall in the Targa Florio of 1948, followed by a class win in that year's Spa 24 Hour Race. Despite these competition successes and the strong post-war demand for performance cars, however, only 104 Elliot Healeys left the factory before production ceased in 1950.
One of those 104, this car is one of the later 104bhp, 107mph editions, so placed because the 'DVG' number prefix was issued by Norwich County Borough Council from August 1949 until into 1951, and because it features the later 'high-position' headlamps. Its condition is consistent with having been stored in a barn for around 25 years, that is to say it is complete but in need of thorough restoration. The green paintwork is faded and covered in surface rust but the bodywork is complete, as is the engine. Of the comfortable-looking interior, the red leather seats are worn but preservable while the headlining and carpets are in need of replacement. Happily the dashboard still wears all its switchgear and gauges, even boasting its sporting prowess with a 120mph Jaeger speedometer.
This is an unusual opportunity to acquire one of the cornerstones of the Healey's illustrious manufacturing career, ripe and ready for restoration to provide a rare and capable example of late-Forties motoring.