1977 Donald Healey visit to Australia

CD3000 Austin Healey 3000 1966 (BJ8)

Donald Healey Dinner ticket 1977Donald Mitchell Healey CBE (DMH) only ever made one visit to Australia, in late January 1977. DMH visited both Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney, three major events were held in DMH's honour. Two involved the cars - and one was a social dinner.

An "All Austin Healey Race' was held at Amaroo Park, Annangrove, as part of the January Historic race meeting (on the Australia Day long weekend), in DMH's presence. This handicap race was only open to "historic logbooked" Austin Healeys - which, in 1977 - meant pre 1960 built Healeys!! This, unfortunately, somewhat limited the size of the field... as it excluded all post 1960 Austin Healeys.... (i.e. most Austin Healey 3000's - like the black & white car). The February 1977 "Racing Car News" race report, written by Ray Bell (below), summarises the race.

"Probably the next best car race of the meeting after the main event was the next major race, the handicap for Healey Sports and Racing Cars. Unlike the unfortunate majority of handicaps, this one was well worked out and, though Donald Healey was hoping to see a Sprite win, it was not to be.
Only one Sprite was entered, that being Jim McConvilles, and it was second away from the start. From the back of the lineup came Roger Wells in the almost perfectly restored Mac Healey racer and, after four laps of bouncing and weaving his way through the tightly bunched Sports Cars, he hit the front and went on to a well deserved win...."

The second event structured around the cars was a "Healey Display day", held at Warringah Mall, Brookvale, which was extremely well attended. It included most of the known 'big' and 'small' Healeys from the AHOC and the SCCA.

Finally, a social dinner dance was held in DMH's honour at Randwick Racecourse on Tuesday 1st February.

The "Donald Healey display day" certainly turned out to be the highlight for Wal and the black & white car - especially after the black & white car had been ineligible to participate in the Donald Healey race at Amaroo. Although it was a very hot day, DMH spent a lot of time inspecting the many Healeys present, talking to owners, and autographing memorabilia. At the end of the day, Donald Healey chose to present his trophy to Wally Gates and the black & white car.....

Donald Healey Tour 1977 'Best Austin Healey' Trophy Donald Healey Tour 1977 'Best Austin Healey' Trophy inscription

Donald Healey and Wally Gates Alan 'S' Jones and Donald Healey Donald Healey and Lyn Gates with the Black & white car Donald Healey and Lyn Gates with the Black & white car

DMH and the black & white car, Brookvale 1977. Photos courtesy W.Gates

To my knowledge, this was the only trophy DMH awarded - based on his personal judgement - during his visit to Australia. DMH told Wal that he had designed the cars to be used for transportation during the week - and motorsport on weekends. And DMH felt that Wally Gates and the black & white car epitomised his own original design philosophy.

Click the highlighted links below to continue reading about the 30 years of competition history of the black & white car...

linedrawing of the 'black & white' Healey 3000

The ownership and competition history of the black & white car

Copyright © Chris Dimmock 2001 - 2005