The Austin-Healey 100 has been reincarnated, and 25 examples are being hand built by Caton of Coventry, United Kingdom. Caton is a new luxury brand that wants to celebrate and revive iconic British vehicles and the Healey by Caton will make its debut at Salon Privé London from April 21-23.
“Donald Healey got so much right when he designed the car originally,” said Darryl Scriven of Caton. “We wanted to pay homage to the original vehicle while making it more comfortable to live with, more fun to drive and even more dynamic and beautiful to look at.”
Caton’s philosophy is to take classic and beloved cars and improve them with modern materials and manufacturing techniques. With the Healey, Caton refined the body, as opposed to adding to it. The rear bumpers were removed, the external trunk hinges were removed and replaced with new internal units with modern gas struts.
Caton captured a complete 3D scan of the car and a computer numerical control machine afforded the fabricators to work to tolerances of .2mm to develop better panel gaps than the original Austin-Healey 100. But the team didn’t only rely on technology, as an English Wheel was used to hand roll the aluminum panels.
“To remain true to the car’s D.N.A.,” Scriven said. “We asked ourselves ‘What would Healey have done when building a car in the Fifties if they had the tools and manufacturing techniques that we are in the unique position to have at our disposal today?’”
The car’s body spends two-weeks at Canon’s paint shop, where it’s primed, given an OEM-standard anti-corrosion protection layer, and then it’s painted. It retains original badging, but the Caton logo is mounted to the front fenders.
Caton redesigned the cabin to maintain the essence of the original but increased the interior space by redesigning and narrowing the transmission tunnel.
Under the hood is a factory-rated 185 horsepower 2954cc 4-cylinder engine based on the original Austin-Healey block. The engine is stripped down, lightened, balanced, and rebuilt to zero miles.
The original Austin-Healey used a three-speed manual transmission, and this homage is upgraded with a five-speed manual transmission. It rides on a double-wishbone and adjustable coil spring suspension at the front, with a lever arm damper system leaf springs at the rear. Handling is enhanced with custom fabricated and fully rose-jointed front and rear roll. The Healey by Caton has an unassisted steering system.
“It is an exciting precision reincarnation of an icon, one that will set new standards in coachbuilding,” said Envisage CEO Tim Strafford.