The Austin-Healey is considered a classic among British roadsters. Now coachbuilder Caton is releasing 25 copies of a modernized Healey, which, however, has a very similar character.
Donald Healey put the first Healey 100 on wire-spoked wheels in 1952. From 1953 to 1958, Austin built the purist roadster in different versions as the Austin-Healey. Surviving copies of the two-seater are highly marketed today.
Now the Healey myth is given new life: British coachbuilder Caton has developed a modernized version of the Healey 100 based on original vehicles. He is now releasing a small handmade series of 25 prints, which stays close to the original, but has been cleverly improved in numerous details.
softened original shape
The standard bodywork of donor cars has to give way to newly formed sheet metal parts that far outperform the original parts in terms of fit and quality. In addition, they reduce the dimensions of the space, eliminate unnecessary beads and folds, and thus soften the entire look. The front hood has been subtly modified to accommodate new round LED headlights and a new radiator grille. Caton integrated ventilation gills and a decorative strip on the fender sides. At the rear, the trunk lid hinges and the opener that used to be on the outside are gone. The small round rear light beams now also feature LED technology. When it comes to bumpers, Caton does nothing at all. The modernized design is completed by a short frameless windshield with small triangular windows on the shoulders of the doors. The 15-inch black Borrani aluminum spoke wheels are fitted with classic 185/70 Michelin tires.
In the cabin, a slimmer center tunnel, tailored panels and a new pedal mount create more room for taller passengers. Complete removal of the soft top saves more space. The Restomod Roadster also works without heating. New door panels offer large storage compartments. The instruments retain their original appearance, but use modern technology. As a concession to modernity, a USB charging socket is hidden in the central compartment.
Boring four-cylinder with 195 hp
Caton acts similarly with the 2.9-liter four-cylinder under the hood. It is based on an original 2.7-litre Healey block, but the interior has been extensively modernized. New pistons, new camshafts and a new crankshaft, along with modern bearing technology, ensure fresh cell curing. Mixture preparation is handled by twin SU H8 carburettors. A minimalist exhaust system releases exhaust gases below the rocker panel. With 195 bhp and 265 Nm of torque, the four-cylinder is also well fueled. In the standard version the four-cylinder only got to just under 132hp, later six-cylinder models (100/6) were even weaker, only the Healy 3000 eventually reaching 150hp. In the new version, the four-cylinder is allowed to transmit the increased torque to a new five-speed gearbox and reinforced drive shafts. The modernized chassis is based on double wishbones and coil springs at the front, as well as a rear axle with leaf suspension and new stabilizers. The upgraded braking system works with four-piston calipers and internally ventilated discs at the front, while three-piston calipers and discs replace the drum brake system at the rear.
Caton plans to build just 25 of the revised Healey, tailoring each one specifically for the buyer. The manufacturer has not yet announced prices. However, it is rumored that it is around 480,000 euros per vehicle.
Great. Classic design with modern technology: the perfect combination.
Awful. A classic car should reflect the state of the art at the time.
Caton brings back the legendary Healey 100. The character of the new edition remains rustic, even if there is a lot of modern technology under the classically shaped veneer. Caton paid around half a million euros for his efforts. However, 25 buyers must be found quickly for the modern Healey, whose power-to-weight ratio far exceeds even the latest Healy 3000 with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine.