Healey 'XQHS' Prototype
XQHS was built by the Donald Healey Motor Company as a prototype high specification Sprite to be used for engineering development work and for presentation to the Board of BMC to be put into limited production, in a similar vein to the Austin-Healey 100S, as a multi-purpose car which could be driven to work and raced competitively at the weekend.
The car is built on a very early pre-production floor pan with many hand-made panels. Roger Menadue (Chief Experimental Engineer) remembered the car being built in the experimental shop at The Cape and using 'Q2' (the second prototype Sprite) as its basis. Work started in late 1957.
During development a Coventry Climax engine was fitted which gave a considerable power advantage over the standard model. This performance advantage was enhanced by a light alloy body designed by Barry Bilby.
XQHS was fitted with 4 wheel disc brakes for testing purposes prior to them being fitted to the early Sebring and Le Mans Sprites.
The Coventry Climax engine was later replaced with a more conventional A Series power unit.
BMC finally killed off the project in 1961, according to Geoff Healey because an engine from outside the BMC Group would not be considered even for low volume production.The car was road registered 364 EAC for the first time in 1962, having been driven up to then on trade plates.
Purchased in 1962 by Barry Hart, he raced her successfully in sports car events in the south of England. She passed through 4 further owners before being purchased in 1982 by Ron Allsop who used her sparingly over the next 25 years before she was acquired by the current owners.
XQHS has only covered 31,000 miles from new and has never been fully restored, she is now used regularly as a fun road car, by present owners Paul and Sharon Woolmer.
On the grid at Goodwood
and at Midget 50
in June 2011
An Article by Philip Young