Warwickshire’s bid to buy and preserve over 70 years worth of Warwick Healey’s motor car history has gained international support to help raise thousands of pounds.
The Warwickshire County Record Office wants to buy the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive to preserve and restore items and ensure they remain available for public viewing.
We are sure this is the best place for it as it can be viewed by everyone equally for free in perpetuityKate Healey
The motorcar archives, which are publicly available in Warwick where the company was born, have been offered to the county office for sale. But they may be split up and sold off at private auctions if the deal does not go through.
The record office has now launched a fundraising campaign to raise £120,000 to preserve the archive - and it already has already attracted support from the Austin Healey Club USA which will feature the campaign in the new year edition of its magazine.
The magazine’s global readership of enthusiasts are keen to see the historical collection remain in public hands and it is hoped the exposure will help draw in funds.
The iconic car company was founded in Warwick in 1945 by Donald Healey - a successful car designer and rally driver.
His business focused on producing expensive, high quality, high performance cars and was based in an old aircraft components factory off Miller Road. He later had a showroom in Emscote Road which was demolished and the block of flats on the site is commemoratively named Healey Court.
As fundraising continues, Kate Healey, granddaughter of the famous company founder, has spoken of her desire to see the archive kept in its birthplace for continued public enjoyment.
She said: “It was a big decision for us to find the best home for this collection which our father saved.
“We are sure this is the best place for it as it can be viewed by everyone equally for free in perpetuity. It goes without saying that it was also the birthplace of the cars.”
To date, the county record office has raised £17,750 towards the bid with help from groups including the Friends of the National Libraries and King Henry VIII Trust.
There are also planned bids of £72,500 to come from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office hope to raise an initial £9,000 in private donations to help save this unique piece of Britain’s motor and design history.
But the team is still £30,000 short of making the sale to secure the collection - and are appealing for public donations to help.
The extensive collection contains more than 20 boxes of material including early research and development designs, business records, letters detailing the company’s involvement in motor racing and test results for land speed records.
The collection also includes numerous photographs of various Healey models including action shots and celebrities.
If the collection remained in Warwick under county ownership, it would also be made available for public research and use by schools to inspire generations of engineers.
If enough money can be raised, the items would also be digitalised to allow for greater international exposure.
Speaking about the need to raise enough money to preserve the archive, county councillor Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Warwickshire’s industrial heritage is something to shout about.
“The Healey brand is known throughout the world and deserves celebration here too. This project has already attracted international attention. We need to build on that to secure Warwickshire’s reputation as a great place for business.”
To make a donation, visit or send a cheque payable to Friends of the Warwickshire County Record Office to the office in Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS, or via heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk