February News Letter

Hello to all Southern Counties Members and  welcome to the February News Brief.

So here we are again and still unfortunately subject to lockdown rules but hopefully all still safe and well. After all the cold weather and snow, today is very Spring-like and I am sure, makes everyone want to get the car out and go for even a short run. I fear we must all wait for a little longer. So as perhaps as a little recompense here is a picture from the Castrol 1960 Achievements book of a tribute to Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom from the Halcyon Years  of Austin Healey Rallying.

In January we held the first meeting of your Committee for 2021, virtual of course and we reviewed the preliminary schedule of events taking into account the current situation. Unfortunately the Spring Lunch has become the first casualty and the Daffodil Run is in limbo as our hotel, The Le Strange Arms is currently closed. While we are keeping the situation under constant review  a final decision will be made by end of February. 
The membership stats for the month revealed an interesting mix of cars belonging to SC Members:

Austin Healey Sprite  51
Austin Healey 100       31
Austin Healey 100/6 and 3000 163
Jensen Healey 1
Here is one of those 31 Austin Healey 100s, setting out on a Drive It Day run in 2017. Have you taken your Healey out on a DID run? If not why not give the next one a try, whenever that might be, they are usually around the 20th April but may not happen this year.

Here is one of those 31 Austin Healey 100s, setting out on a Drive It Day run in 2017. Have you taken your Healey out on a DID run? If not why not give the next one a try, whenever that might be, they are usually around the 20th April but may not happen this year.

As a bit of light relief one of our members Nick Varlow has provided me with a book review as follows:

Healey: The Men and The Machines, From Herridge & Sons.

In 325 well illustrated pages the book covers all it says in its title: Donald Healey’s early years in Cornwall and his WW1 Royal Flying Corps days. DMH’s huge commitment and success in rallying and speed trials. Detail on the many early Warwick cars. Intriguing discourses on the inputs from the family, Geoffrey, Bic, the Warwick team, including Roger Menadue. The politics and working relationships between Warwick, Longbridge, West Bromwich (where Jensen built the bodies) and Longbridge. Also often forgotten, Geoffrey and DMH’s varied and packed consultative work following the break with British Leyland. How many Healey owners know that in his later years DMH researched and built prototype wind turbines? If you like statistics they are in the book in abundance, including every rally and race driven by DMH, Geoffrey, or involving a Healey car. The bibliography is pure gold.

For me, the prime attraction of the book was to see the input from Gerry Coker. I must be one of thousands of 100, 3000 and Frog Eye owners who think “wow” every time we open our garage door. It was Gerry, of course, who was responsible for these “wow” body lines of our cars. Without drama, Gerry departed Warwick for the USA in 1957 and his input had some room to be aired. The book has hundreds of illustrations I have not seen before, including Gerry’s early and development drawings of the Healey 100 and the prototype Sprite.
All in all, a well researched, good read which provides a wonderful connection to DMH, his family, and colleagues.

And now for something I’d rather not have to do and indeed hope that it doesn’t happen again. I must apologise on behalf of the Club for the recent problems which have afflicted RevCounter, both in terms of it’s presentation (especially the February copy) and it’s timely and correct delivery. Unfortunately there have been several different factors involved but essentially the all round frustration, which has resulted from this, has precipitated a decision to move to an alternative Publisher and Distribution Centre. The negotiations are at an advanced stage and I believe that everything will be in place for the March RevCounter to be produced and distributed by the new supplier. I hope you will be pleased with the result.

The Kent Noggin has been held at The Kings Head in Bessels Green for some time. Unfortunately for all members who appreciated the convivial atmosphere at the Kings Head we now know that it has closed permanently, presumably because of the Pandemic. However I know that Ed Friend, who looks after the Kent Noggin, will be looking for a suitable alternative as soon as we are able to meet once again. He will of course advise all the Kent members of the revised meeting place.

Most of us have had some snow over the past few days so I thought you might enjoy this picture of my MkIV Sprite taken at Easter (March) 1974 when it was in use as our ‘day car’.

I would love to include some of your much loved cars in the News brief, perhaps with a short note on recent travels or of work that has been or is being done on the car.

Please feel free to email me at dave.usy862@gmail.com

By the way I hope you find these short news briefs both useful and entertaining but if you would rather not receive them you can remove yourself from the mailing list by following the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the page. I would however remind you that we no longer produce a paper news letter and in  future the main means of communication with Southern Counties members will be using email and by placing information on our website.

Dave Colwell  Director and Chairman 

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