The damaged prototype was packed up and shipped back to England. Before it even arrived, Donald Healey already had Pitcairn’s deposit in his hands. For the sum of $5,000 (about $38K today), the factory outfitted it with a handsome interior and restored the car back to, as Bic Healey pledged, “A1 condition and ready to race.”
The same week that the other 1964 Sebring Sprite coupe was competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this one was back on a boat to the USA.
This is the behind the scenes story. To the automotive public, this car just vanished. In fact, since it only went nine laps at Sebring, there were few pictures of the streamlined coupe in competition. It retired early, went back to Britain, and then was promptly shipped into private hands. This car was practically a ghost.
Pitcairn did take it out to some local hill climb events in Pennsylvania during his first few years of ownership, but then it was retired to his collection. A friend bought the car in 1985, and he occasionally brought it to Healey events in the northeast. This limited use is supported by the body’s intact condition, original motor, and less than 800 miles total on this 52-year-old racecar.
It’s rare to have a racer that’s a survivor. These are built to be worn out and harvested for parts. But even this Healey’s factory special competition magnesium wheels barely show a mark, and they still wear their original Dunlop tires.
But now the car is about to get its full day in the sun. The coupe will make its public re-debut at the Amelia Island Concours this weekend. It seems only fitting that this prototype Austin-Healey is returning to Florida for a redeeming shot at glory.