1951 Healey Tickford Silverstone Replica

From a deceased estate; based on a Healey Tickford Sports Saloon; Riley RMB 2.5 'Big Four' engine; body moulds taken from genuine Silverstone D-Type no. D32; interesting pedigree; under 8,000 miles from build in 1989; recently restored with many new parts 

Cornishman Donald Healey had petrol running in his veins, cutting his teeth as an engineer in the aircraft industry then working for Riley and Triumph before establishing the Donald Healey Motor Company in an old RAF hangar in Warwick in 1945.

A former fighter pilot and a racer through-and-through, his early cars were all expensive road burners aimed at the type of thrill-seeker who had seen action in the war and wanted an exciting set of wheels for daily use but able to win some silverware on the track at the weekend.  

The Healey Silverstone was only made from 1949 - 1951 and featured a 104bhp Riley ‘Big Four’ 2.5 engine in a stiff box-section chassis with distinctive trailing arm independent front suspension and a front anti-roll bar. Clothed in minimalist aluminium bodywork designed by Len Hodges, it weighed only 953kg and had an excellent power-to-weight ratio, winning many races including the 1949 and 1951 Coupe des Alpes and the 1951 Liege-Rome-Liege Rally.

Two versions were available, the original D-Type and the E-Type of 1950 which had a wider body and a more spacious cockpit. Only 104 were made in total and a real one would set you back a six-figure sum today – witness the genuine D-Type elsewhere in this sale.

With fond memories of a Healey Silverstone once owned by his father, our vendor began to hunt for one a few years ago but was unable to find one that fell within his budget. In July 2017 he spotted SSU 183 for sale at the Panorama Bay Motor Company in Poole which was only 20 miles away from where he lived.

Okay, it wasn’t a genuine Silverstone but it certainly looked the part and had an interesting pedigree so he went to check it out. According to Panorama Bay, SSU 183 was built in 1989 using a shortened chassis from a 1951 Healey Tickford Sports Saloon fitted with a correct Riley twin-cam ‘Big Four’ 2.5 engine, four-speed gearbox and 4.2 ratio back axle. The glass fibre body was made using moulds taken from a genuine D-Type no. D32.

From 1993 – 1996 the car was owned by well-known Silverstone historian and racer, Chris Berens, who also owned and raced the genuine Silverstone no. D51. He acquired the replica as a bit of fun and as a useful source of spares for D51 but it drove so well that he hung onto it for several years. Registered on the V5C as a 1951 Healey Sports, it was also eligible for historic racing so Berens used it on various hill climb events where it went well with its 4.2 ratio rear axle.

The next owner was a Paul Cooper of Bexley Heath who seems to have kept it for 13 years, passing it on in 2009 to a William Glenn of Lyme Regis who kept it until 2017 when our vendor acquired it. Described on the Panorama Bay purchase invoice as an ‘ongoing restoration’, it was nevertheless in good running order and our vendor paid £39,995 for the privilege of driving it home.

When acquired, SSU 183 was finished in red with white racing roundels on the sides, as shown in many photos on file, but our vendor had it professionally repainted to a high standard in the current British Racing Green. He also had the wheels refurbished and fitted with a new set of Firestone tyres.

Invoices on file show that he also renewed various other parts including: new 3.5:1 crown wheel and pinion; new core plugs; new ignition parts, oil filter and service items; new brake pipes; brake master cylinder rebuilt; new pistol-type handbrake assembly; new rear wheel brake cylinders; rebuilt water pump; new Lucas 7” halogen headlights and side lights; new battery; handmade plywood transmission tunnel/gear surround; new Corbeau Sportsman Recliner seats; new tonneau cover plus various other items.

The V5C records it as a Healey Sports, taxation class Historic Vehicle, first registered in May 1989, declared manufactured 1951. The history file includes a wealth of technical information relating to the model including copies of period advertising material, press cuttings etc. The car is well known to the Association of Healey Owners and there are various bits of club literature and newsletters on file. There is also what looks like a modern reprint of an original 20-page Donald Healey Motor Co. ‘Instruction Book of the Healey 2.4 Litre’.

An online MOT history check shows that the car was regularly tested between 2006 and 2012, always passing with no advisories but only covering 300 miles during this period. It has covered another 1,135 miles since 2012, the odometer currently showing 7,933 miles which is presumably how many miles it has done since it was built in 1989.

On offer here from a deceased estate, it has been starting promptly and running well as we have moved it around on site, with good 55psi oil pressure. However, it has been unused and in storage in recent months so some precautionary safety checks would be advisable before it is pressed into use once more.

For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email james.dennison@brightwells.com

Reg No: SSU183
Chassis Number: C1978
Engine Number: B6797
Engine Size: 2443cc
Docs: V5C; one old MOT from 2012; various old tax discs from 1997 – 2013; purchase invoice; restoration invoices and photos; historic photos; technical literature; copy Healey 2.4 Litre Instruction Book

Sale Section & Buyers Premium (ex VAT): Car 12%, Minimum £150

Estimate: £28,000-32,000

Lot 321

Lot ended

Thursday 23/06/2022

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

Under Offer @ £12,350
Auction details and terms
  • Put in your highest bid you would be prepared to go to.
  • Bidding at the last moment may leave you disappointed. Any earlier bid is always taken first, so doing this may only push someone else up and prevent you from becoming the highest bidder.
  • No bids can be placed once the time remaining ends, therefore do not delay.