MacHealey…

Posted: October 13, 2020 in Obscurities, Who,What,Where & When...?
Tags: , ,

(Jones Family)

Greg McEwin’s Mac Healey towards the top of Collingrove Hillclimb, Barossa Valley, South Australia in 1958…

I first became aware of historic racing in the mid-seventies attending of the Sandown 400 touring car endurance race, the support program at that stage included some events for ‘Historics’, this was before the defining first all historic meeting at Amaroo Park in 1976.

Various cars are etched into my brain from those times including Bob Jane’s Jaguar D Type and Maserati 300S raced by Jim Shepherd and Harry Firth, the Leech brothers Maserati 300S and Cisitalia. At many of the historic meetings which followed Roger Wells’ Mac Healey was very much front of house for what seemed like decades. I’ve not seen it for a while, the late Alex Reid was the last owner I recall.

(Jones Family)

The car started its life in South Australia, ignoring its country of birth. It was one of a batch of 1954 Healeys bound for Adelaide from Melbourne but caught fire enroute. Peter De Mac bought the remains with the intention of creating a Jaguar powered special, but his friend, Greg McEwin, swapped the Healey 100 he was racing for the bundle of bits.

He decided to create a single-seater removing the front and rear bulkheads and outriggers leaving the central box-section of the chassis plus the front suspension components and the rear spring brackets. He and De Mac created a body from aluminium and fibreglass. Initially the mechanicals were left in standard specification but the engine and gearbox were moved back eleven inches.

The car made its competition  debut at Collingrove in 1955 painted a nice hue of mid-blue, progressively the machine was modified to enhance its competitiveness. The engine’s capacity was increased to just under 3 litres, the cylinder head was modified, larger 2 inch SU carbs and extractors were part of the package, as was a more suitable gearbox. After trying an Austin Gypsy four wheel drive unit and a Morris LD5, a four speed Austin A90 box was adopted for a while before being replaced by a Austin Champ 4WD transmission.

McEwin’s Mac Healey alongside Austin Miller’s Cooper Climax at Port Wakefield, circa 1958 (K Drage)

 

Front suspension detail at Collingrove (Jones Family)

McEwin eventually sold it, the car ended up in Sydney where it ran as a ‘Division’ car modified further by fitment of a Holden Grey motor, front discs and a four-speed MG gearbox.

Sydney Healey enthusiast Roger Wells acquired it in 1971, he popped it into storage before running it once or twice around 1974 and then started the process of restoring it to original specifications as the historic scene gained momentum. He competed regularly until 1988 when he sold it, Melbourne Healey man, Alex Reid was the purchaser  via another owner who didn’t use it.

Once Reid had a good look he realised Mac Healey needed another rebuild around replacement chassis rails. All of the existing hardware was removed, refurbished and refitted to the new chassis inclusive of incorporating a central front crossmember as originally fitted. The body was retained and tidied up, an Healey100S type box was used with the machine making its debut in 1998 driven by Graeme Marks, i’ve lost touch of the current owner?

Collingrove 1958 (Jones Family)

 

Roger Wells at Winton in 1982.

Credits…

Robert Jones via Steve Jones ‘Jones Family Archive’, Kevin Drage, ‘Historic Racing Cars in Australia’ John Blanden

Finito…

Comments
  1. Shane Bowden says:

    Hi Mark, Graeme “Skid” Marks still has the car and semi regularly races it. Regards Shane

  2. George says:

    What the heck is all that stuff on the front suspension?

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