Alan bought and fully restored a 1936 Austin Seven Ruby saloon in 1981, and advertised it for sale when finished. Mark Prosser phoned Alan to view the Austin, he called liked and drove the car and bought it. He then enquired if Alan would be interested in restoring his Austin Healey MKIII 3000, that he had bought some months before, as he did not like the British racing green colour. They agreed Alan would undertake a full restoration of the Austin Healey over the next year, taking it to as near concours condition as he could.
This was going to be a steep learning curve as Alan had not restored a Big Healey before. However, being a time served vehicle coach builder Alan was taught that nothing is impossible. The task began, the Healey was collected and the strip down started. The car was stripped, sandblasted, all rot was replaced with new steel, it was then primed & painted Colorado Red over Old English White. All the mechanicals were rebuilt, the car was rewired, copper brake pipes fitted, and the engine and gearbox restored and painted Healey Green. The car was then reassembled. The restoration was finally finished for the 1983 lakes weekend, where it won its class in the concours and went on to win a further two concours awards.
Merlin Classic Cars were the first company to manufacture new Austin Healey 3000 and 100/4 chassis in the early 80’s. Our restored cars fitted with our chassis have won numerous concours awards as well as British and international rallies. We built a MkII Tri-Carb FIA specification rally car for David Shakespeare who won concours awards both here in the UK and in Europe with his car. David and his brother John also won numerous UK and International rallies in his Big Healey, only being beaten very occasionally in Europe by Walter Rohl. We went on to build a second Austin Healey MkII FIA specification rally car for David, saving weight by hand making the rear bulkhead in 18’s gauge aluminium. This car was built to be driven in Europe to beat Walter Rohl.