The back-bone of the Westland Roadster was Healey`s own chassis, made of light-weight steel box-section. This chassis would continue in use (plus or minus a few inches in length) until Healey production ceased in 1953. An ash-timber frame was built onto the chassis to mount the body which was fashioned from aluminium sheet. The styling involved the use of complicated compound curves. There were two design models that you can see by first glance looking at the front. The early models had headlights low on either side of the grille. Later models starting about 1948 had the lights mounted in the wings.
Donald Healey favoured the tried and tested 2.4 Riley engine and gear-box, so advanced for it`s time that it is surprising that many other makers chose not to use it. The running gear of the Westland was also Riley sourced and was as good as any available.
The sum of the parts was a Grand-Tourer that competed very well with it`s opposition on road or circuit. The Healey Westland gave a comfortable ride with excellent handling. It has been said that the interior was a little Spartan but Healey`s cars would always be racing-cars in essence, true wolves in sheep`s clothing.
The Westland chassis was made of the mentioned Light-guage box-section steel. The car used independent front suspension by means of alloy trailing-arms and coil springs, lever-arm shock-absorbers and worm & roller steering gear. The car’s rear suspension was via a Riley live axle with coil springs, trailing arms and a Panhard rod. Drum brakes were fitted all-round, either Girling or Lockheed.
Riley`s 2.4 four cylinder was a delightful engine, very much ahead of it`s time. It was a twin-overhead-camshaft unit, actually displacing 2443cc. It was an 8-valve motor with a compression ratio of only 6.9:1. It`s reliability was almost legendary. Twin SU carburettors were standard fitment and the 4-speed Riley gear-box complimented it admirably.
When reading the performance figures of the Healey Westland, the reader will do well to remember that in 1946 most sports-cars would struggle to attain 90 mph and would do terrifying things when presented with a tight corner. Braking on all cars at that time was poor by modern standards, so good cornering ability was very helpful!
The Westland was faster and safer than most of it`s contemporaries. The Riley 2.4 could achieve 104 bhp and 130 ft/lbs of torque. For 1946 it could go as fast as 102 mph and get up to 60 in 14.7 seconds. This was really amazing.
The Healey Westland Roadster continued in production until 1950, by which time 64 examples had been made. It was the first (or so we are told!) of a line of excellent cars. Read on to see all Healey models.
Healey Westland Roadster 1946-1950
|Body Type||2 door open coupe|
|Drive Type||Rear wheel drive|
|Cargo Volume||Large enough for two larger suitcases|
|Engine||2.4 Riley DOHC 8V|
|Displacement||2443 cc||149.1 cui|
|Power||78 Kw||104 bhp||4500 RPM|
|Torque||176 Nm||130 ft. lb||3500 RPM|
|Top Speed||164 km/h||102 mph|
|Acceleration||0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph||14.7 s|
|Fuel consumption||l/100 km||Imperial mpg|
|Gearbox||4 speed manual|
|Weight||1175 kg||2590 lb|
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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.
In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.
As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.
At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!
When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.
I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.
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