The classic Austin-Healey 100 has been given the restomod treatment by new luxury brand, Caton. Branded ‘Healey by Caton’, the reborn roadster blends traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.
First shown at the London Motor Show in 1952, the Austin-Healey 100 went into production at the Longbridge plant the following year. Six versions of the original ‘Big Healey’ were produced until 1958.
Almost every aspect of the 1950s British sports car has been modernised by Caton, with production limited to just 25 examples.
West Midlands born and bred
Caton’s revived Healey also hails from the West Midlands. The company’s Coventry headquarters are just 10 miles away from where Donald Healey built his prototype 100 roadster.
Darryl Scriven, who designed the Healey by Caton, said: “Donald Healey got so much right when he designed the Healey originally. We wanted to pay homage to the car, while making it more comfortable to live with, more fun to drive and even more dynamic and beautiful to look at.”
Changes to the body include removing the bumpers and exterior seams for a cleaner look, plus a new front grille and LED headlights.
A bigger Big Healey
Powering the Healey by Caton is a heavily updated version of the four-cylinder Austin-Healey block. The new 3.0-litre engine is stripped down, lightened and balanced, then refurbished with performance parts.
A steel crankshaft, high-compression pistons and aggressive camshafts help boost power output to 185hp, with 195lb ft of torque. This should result in a top speed much greater than the 100mph ability that the Austin-Healey 100 was named after.
Front suspension is by double wishbones and adjustable coil springs, while the steering remains unassisted for plenty of analogue feedback.
No infotainment required
Caton has completely redesigned the Healey’s interior, with the five-speed manual gearbox housed inside a slimmer transmission tunnel to create more space. A racing car-style pedal box has improved legroom, too.
There is no roof or tonneau cover fitted to the Healey by Caton. Unlike many restomods, there is no infotainment system either, although two USB sockets allow for charging of mobile phones.
Caton upholsters the seats in premium Bridge of Weir leather, with shrink-optimised leather used for the rest of the interior.
Bespoke build service
Limiting production to 25 cars will allow Caton to liaise extensively with its customers. They will be offered a one-to-one commissioning service, with bespoke paint colours and interior options.
Caton will give the Healey its public debut at Salon Privé London, which takes place at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from 21 April to 23 April. The car will also be on show at the Bicester Heritage Scramble on 24 April. Production begins in the second quarter of 2022.
John Redfern writes for Motoring Research