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SNAPSHOT 75: 1950 Healey ‘Silverstone’

Can it be one of those unwelcome signs of old age when the car parks at motor race meetings seem to contain far fewer unusual and intriguing cars than they did – well – say, 50 years ago? Your contributor took this snapshot around 1960, give or take a year or two. This Healey was merely a spectating enthusiast’s transport. The event was the VSCC Richard Seaman Trophies Race Meeting at Oulton Park in Cheshire. Healey Silverstones were not uncommonly seen at such events and a keen and moderately well-heeled enthusiast could compete with some expectations of success in rallies, driving tests and speed events of the time with a car that could also be used for daily transport. The 2.5-litre Riley engine, light weight and good handling saw a reputation established before rival makes made significant inroads into the sports car market of those days.

The ‘Silverstone’ was in production from for 2 years from 1949, and 105 were made. This coupé was a ‘GT’ before the Italians devised that handle for a saloon sports car. Healey enthusiast, Warren Kennedy of Brogborough in Bedfordshire has kindly provided some ‘auto-biographical’ details of this interesting Silverstone.

Chassis no E83’s first owner was one Ivor Assheton-Salton, and with the Healey he competed in the MCC’s Exeter Trial of 1951, but he did not keep the car for long. The conversion to closed bodywork was carried out in 1953: nicely done and a professional job, and maybe the knowledgeable can tell us which firm’s work this was. NAF199 was returned to its original open two-seater format in 1985, and 13 years later, it was exported to Italy, where it remains today. Since 1998, it has taken part in at least 7 Mille Miglia retrospectives, the GP Nuvolari and many other Italian historic speed and endurance events.

But is it Philistine to express the wish that its surely unique closed bodywork had been retained?

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