1948 Healey Saloon Works, ex Mille Miglia, Spa 24 Hours, Paris 12 HoursSOLD
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Having achieved considerable success in the Monte Carlo and Alpine rallies prior to the war, Donald Healey was anxious to produce his own car. During the latter stages of the Second World War, Donald Healey produced a vehicle that would be based around an innovative chassis designed by Barry Bilbie. With a potent 2.4 litre Riley engine, and independent front suspension and a unique steering mechanism, the new car resulted in an excellent package for competition.

Late in 1946 the first roadster version was produced called the Healey Roadster, produced by the Westland Motor Co. In order to achieve greater top end speed a Healey Saloon was created by Samuel Elliotts of Reading. The Healey Saloon had an all aluminium body.

In 1947, a Healey Saloon was taken to the Jabekke-Aeltre highway in Belgium and achieved a top speed of 111.87 mph, which was recorded in the Motor. The Healey Saloon was advertised as the fastest production saloon in the World.

GWD 42 is perhaps one of the most historically important Healeys in existence with a second to none race history. The car is in excellent condition having benefited from a full photographic ground up restoration, during which guidance was given by those Engineers who originally built GWD 42 in 1948, with over 50 invoices included in the history file.

As you would expect GWD 42 starts first time and runs faultlessly. The interior is as original and finished in brown leather with a rear bench seat, ideal for the enthusiast with a family.

Almost as impressive as the car itself is the documentation that is supplied with this car. A comprehensive file with nice touches abound include a competitors medal from the 1948 Mille Miglia in which GWD 42 competed, a copy of the 1949 Mille Miglia programme which includes a photograph of GWD 42 leaving the start line at Brescia, an original mint sales sheet and a 4 page sales brochure depicting the Mille Miglia Healey Saloon, various period photographs and magazine articles and a significant amount of other documentation related to GWD 42.

Further documentation to note is a V5 document, with the original buff log book, current MoT certificate, FIVA Identity Card and MSA Historic Technical Passport which enables GWD 42 to be entered in to all of the top European historic events on the classic car calendar.

Without question one of the most important, correct and pure Healey's to be offered for sale, GWD 42 presents a unique opportunity to purchase one of the most eligible sports cars on the market.

Reference Number 5396

as of 12/12/2006

Car 1948 Healey Saloon Works, ex Mille Miglia, Spa 24 Hours, Paris 12 Hours
VIN B 1649 
Exterior / Interior Color      Bronze /      Brown 
Registration GWD 42 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
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Known History

In April 1948 the factory prepared its first two vehicles specifically for competition, a Healey Saloon (GWD 42) and a Healey Roadster (GWD 43) and registered both vehicles at Warwick on 21 April 1948, in readiness for the Mille Miglia.


The first Mille Miglia after the war, in 1947, was made up entirely of Italian entries, and so, in an effort to promote the British car industry an official Works Healey team of three cars, which comprised the two aforementioned factory prepared vehicles and a further Healey Saloon, driven by Count Johnny Lurani, were the only cars within the 1948 event which were not Italian.


GWD 42 was the first Healey to leave the starting ramp, driven by Nick Haines and Rudolfo Haller, departing Brescia as car 37, and therefore was the first non-Italian and British car after the war to take part in the event.


GWD 42 made a good start. After passing Rome and having travelled around 300 miles the torque rod broke. The car was diverted into a local garage where the rod was welded and refitted within 50 minutes. Unfortunately the repair only lasted another 50 or so miles. Not wishing to give up, Haines and Haller continued until they reached the Futa Pass just beyond Florence, around two thirds of the distance, when an oil leak in the gearbox and the seizing of the mainshaft, meant retirement for GWD 42.


The car driven by Johnny Lurani went on to win the Touring Car Category, which was a first for a British Car and hence the Healey Saloon was subsequently marketed as the "Mille Miglia Healey Saloon" to reflect its success in Italy.


As the classic Le Mans race had yet to be revived after the war, the Spa 24 Hours was to be the most prestigious endurance sports car race for 1948.


So in July GWD 42 was entered in the Spa 24 hour race. GWD 42 was the only Healey entered for the event and thereby became the first Healey to be officially raced on a circuit.


As the 24 hour endurance race was as much a human trial as a witness of the cars' capabilities, Tommy Wisdom started the race in a tweed suit and trilby hat with the parcel shelf stuffed with sweets and cigarettes. After a gentlemanly start, the competitive spirit took hold and the Healey Saloon gradually came up in its Category.


Despite the casual approach of Tommy Wisdom, the Healey Saloon left the starting grid in second place just behind an Alta driven by Abecassis.


With only half an hour to go, the Healey Saloon sped past the category leader, a Delage, and led the Sports Car Category. This resulted in the Delage driver putting his foot to the floor. The Delage regained the lead on the very last lap, much to the dismay of Haines and Wisdom. GWD 42 finally finished 8th overall and second in its Category, a major success, which was quickly recognized by the motoring press.


Towards the end of the season GWD 42 was entered in the Paris 12 Hours Race. The BRDC entered a British Team, which included GWD 42.


GWD 42 was driven by Nick Haines and Leslie Johnson, who was the managing director of the E.R.A. Company. Once again GWD 42 made an impressive start taking the lead on the first lap. Whilst lying 9th overall and only 40 minutes remaining as the Team prize was guaranteed for the BRDC, GWD 42 was withdrawn.


The following weekend saw GWD 42 entered in the inaugural Goodwood Meeting in September 1948. Sporting race number '1', GWD 42 took part in the first race of the event. Nick Haines achieved the fastest lap of the race and hence the first lap record for the Goodwood circuit.