July/Aug 2019 edition
Issue #6 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
In the classic trinity of British mass-produced sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s as represented by Austin Healey, MG, and Triumph, it’s the Austin Healey that seems to hold the most interest among collectors of marque sales literature and advertising ephemera. And within this collector niche it’s the “Big Healey” that rises to the top
With total production lasting just 14 years, the “big” Austin Healey first introduced as the Austin Healey 100 in 1953, through the evolution to the 6-cylinder 100-6 and in its final form, the Austin Healey 3000 seemed to rise above both its contemporary brethren, the MG TD/TF and later MGA and MGB as well as their mutual rival the Triumph TRs as it would seem that Donald Healey’s personal imprint of the cars which bore his name sigificantly enhanced its long-lasting appeal
The introduction of the “Bugeye” Sprite in 1958 created an affordable entry into sports car ownership for many, and an advertising challenge to reach younger buyers not unlike todays marketing efforts to millennials.
The uniquely styled “Bugeye” lasted until 1961 then limped on until 1971... an inglorious end to the Austin Healey marque.
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Above and below: 100S
The factory built racing version of the “100” was marketed with its own brochure (pub# 1172). This brochure is very rare so BEWARE!… There are reasonably high-quality reprints out there, produced in 1980s. The paper is wrong, but it can be difficult for the amateur collector to determine at a quick glance. The value of the genuine brochure is $125+.
There are many variations of 3000 literature, each with their own publication numbers and suffixes. It is quite a challenge to find them all, so club support would be your best guide if you’re one of those truly obsessive hard-core collectors! There is little price differential between Mark l through Mark lll versions of Austin Healey 3000 literature. Still relatively easy to find, prices have remained steady at $25-35 for some time. As the vast majority of British sports car production was destined for the booming US market, the most difficult to find variations, are the far rarer brochures printed in languages other than English for the French, German, or Dutch markets. Be prepared to pay at least $50 and up for any non-English language brochure, like the German one shown.
Below: Austin Healey Sprite
The exceptionally rare “Bugeye” Sprite Mk l, USA introductory press kit issued by BMC consists of photos and press release sheets in a textured blue binder. Expect to pay $250 to $350… if you can find one! The best Mark l Sprite full brochure is this 8-page folder (pub#1590). Interesting footnote: the brochure features a black car on the cover, a color not available for the Sprite!
David Kayser, owner of Chelsea Motoring Literature, specializing in postwar European special interest sales literature and shares that information with you here.