Caton's Healey redux is a beautiful, but expensive, thing.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

It’s tough to find a restomod that isn’t a Porsche these days. The 911 has been around since what seems like the dawn of time and there are over a million of the things kicking around, so it’s no surprise that so many are drawn to a shinier, freshened up take on Ferdinand’s dream. There are people out there that don’t get excited about a refreshed Porsche, though. For example, the UK’s Caton has decided to go back to the Fifties and give the Austin Healey the restomod treatment.

Taking an original Healey 100/4 BN1 as its base, Caton’s engineers haven’t simply slapped on some shiny new bits and called it a day. There’s a new pedal box and a restyled rear so tall people can comfortably fit, the front’s been given a fresh look with new headlights and a shiny new grille. New bumpers sit on either end, the seams have been removed from the whole thing, the boot hinges are gone, and the interior is tastefully updated. The paintwork is a definite highlight, as every part of the process, says Caton, is as bespoke as they come, including the paint. It’s pretty much flawless. A wonderful thing to have, but every (inevitable) stone chip will likely feel like losing a finger. There is no option of a roof either.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

The interior refit is particularly interesting. Obviously it’s been covered in very fine, luxurious leather, presumably from cows that repel any form of dirt or pointy things, but it’s remarkably simple. A new instrument cluster sits behind a smallish steering wheel, and there’s a USB slot in a tray mounted on the transmission tunnel. That’s about it. Caton even went so far as to remove the indicator stalk, building blinkers into a rocker switch that sits in the ‘wheel hub. Everything else, including starting the thing, is done with a button.

Of course, the changes aren’t just cosmetic. A fresh chassis addresses the original’s weak points, and a five-speed stick replaces the original’s three speed. The biggest change here is the car’s 3.0-liter four cylinder motor. Caton contracted JME Healeys, one of the best in the business, to give the engine a tune up. While the motor is based on the original block, pretty much everything’s been played with. It has a ported head, steel crank, high compression pistons, twin SU carbs, a delightfully lumpy competition camshaft, and more. The result is 185bhp and 195lb ft, more than double the original car’s grunt. Seeing as it weighs just 2028lbs, that power is more than adequate. JME left the suspension as is, though did change dampers for a smoother ride.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

All this sounds promising. The Healey itself is a difficult car to dislike. It has a happy little face and a body that evokes images of tearing through a leafy countryside to have a picnic of cucumber sandwiches and ginger beer. As ever with these things there’s a catch: It is colossally expensive. It’s the thick end of £500,000 in the UK, which, depending on how badly the government is messing the country up, could mean it’ll set US customers back $200,000, $700,000, or any number you care to pick out of your backside.

On start up the 3.0-liter motor bursts into gloriously chunky life. The car shakes from side to side, noise fires itself out of a sidepipe conveniently located next to your ear, and you’re transported to a time when silent start ups were reserved for bicycles only. It’s throaty, and puts a big smile on your face. The new five-speed stick is easy to use, the clutch isn’t heavy, and setting off is a dream. Once you’re moving, the gear change is particularly satisfying. There’s a short, chunky shift action, one that feels suitably sporting for a car like this.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

It takes a while to build the confidence to push. Its engine may be refreshed, but shooting up the rev range creates such an almighty noise that it feels almost like you’re hurting it. You’re not, as the higher you go the better it feels. Wind rushes over the beautifully sculpted fly screen, mixing with the engine noise, settling you into a warm rush of nostalgia. Seeing as it weighs next to nothing, the turn of pace on offer is really quite something. You’re not treated to an urgent rush, but more a smooth curve of grunt that doesn’t seem to end.

Its brakes are an interesting experience – you have to be committed. If you’re too gentle with the pedal the Caton can get a little wayward, especially on uneven asphalt, but nail ‘em and it’ll stop straight and true. It’s a classic car, expect it to behave like one. The same goes for the steering – there’s a bit of play in the wheel before you feel it doing anything, and it’s pretty light. You get a good idea of what’s going on, but don’t expect Lotus-esque feedback. Hooking it in to a corner with the throttle balanced, and the steering flowing is a truly (if we’re going to use era-appropriate parlance) thrilling experience.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

Add all those elements together and you’ve got an engaging, not easy, car to drive. Your wits need to be about you, and you need to know where your feet and hands are at any given moment. It’s impossible to be lazy in the Caton, and that’s a wonderful thing. There are flaws you have to work around, and an engine that makes you want to press on.

We do have to loop back to the money. Caton will only build 25 of these, all by hand, and all to their clients’ spec. This is a car for someone who dreamt of a Healey when they were young, and want the best version they can possibly have. They don’t make ‘em like they used to, but the fact that someone’s made one like this is no bad thing.

this austin healey restomod will cost you nearly $500,000
Caton

Keyword: This Austin Healey Restomod Will Cost You Nearly $500,000

CAR'S NEWS RELATED

Best cars for a 'Love Bug' remake

Tennessee’s Yard Art The Thorndyke Special The Hot Rod The Hippie Van Jim’s Lamborghini Growing up, it’s safe to say my absolute favorite movie was Disney’s “The Love Bug.” As a kid living in a world before Pixar’s “Cars,” it was pretty much the best car movie. I loved ...

View more: Best cars for a 'Love Bug' remake

Audi timing belt tensioner prompts Utah bomb squad visit

An aftermarket timing belt tensioner found in a Salt Lake City apartment prompted a visit from the bomb squad this week after it was mistaken for a potential explosive device. Police partially evacuated the apartment complex in which it was found “out of an abundance of caution” and called ...

View more: Audi timing belt tensioner prompts Utah bomb squad visit

2023 GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 will get more expensive

GMC Sierra HD pickups are about to get more expensive again after recently becoming more expensive, according to GM Authority. In July, GMC and Buick raised the prices on certain vehicles in their lineups anywhere from $975 to $1,675 by making the previously optional OnStar a standard feature. Next ...

View more: 2023 GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 will get more expensive

Our week with EVs: Recapping the diverse collection of electric cars we tested

Mercedes-Benz EQB First Drive Review: Next electric Benz is a little different 2022 Chevy Bolt EV Road Test Review: Time to play EV, gas or airplane 2023 Genesis GV60 Road Test Review: The third of Hyundai Group’s E-GMP EVs is the fastest, but softest It may be hard to ...

View more: Our week with EVs: Recapping the diverse collection of electric cars we tested

Europe car sales lowest since 1996 after 12-month decline

BERLIN – Europe registered the lowest number of new passenger cars in the month of June this year since 1996 at just over 1.06 million vehicles, with some carmakers seeing sales drop by nearly 50%, data from Europe’s automobile association showed on Friday. Volkswagen Group was the hardest-hit major ...

View more: Europe car sales lowest since 1996 after 12-month decline

More Than Just A Carmaker: Toyota Motor PH Launches Toyota Mobility Solutions

Automotive industry leader, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP) inaugurated today Toyota Mobility Solutions Philippines, Inc. (TMSPH), a wholly owned subsidiary that will be a provider of mobility-related services. TMSPH ventures into the development and offering of a range of ‘new mobility solutions’ that will enhance Toyota as a brand ...

View more: More Than Just A Carmaker: Toyota Motor PH Launches Toyota Mobility Solutions

'F1 22' feels fast and familiar | Gaming Roundup

‘F1 22’ impressions ‘Construction Simulator’ is launching Sept. 20 Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This week in racing game news: ‘F1 22’ impressions At its core, “F1 22,” the latest installment in the F1 ...

View more: 'F1 22' feels fast and familiar | Gaming Roundup

Watch a single-engine plane crash-land on 91 Freeway in California

A single-engine Piper Cherokee airplane was forced to crash land on the 91 Freeway in California after losing power about 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles. Yes, that means this was a very busy highway, practically bursting at the seams with traffic. No, amazingly nobody died, either in the ...

View more: Watch a single-engine plane crash-land on 91 Freeway in California

Ford files 'Mustang Dark Horse' trademark application

Make adventures more comfortable with high-quality Jeep grab handles

New Lucid Air variant to debut & Stealth Look to be on display during Monetary Car Week

Chevy offers incentives to prevent Corvette Z06 flipping

Average U.S. gas price falls below $4/gallon

German court: SUV driver must pay more than a car for running red light

Australian vehicle crash tests to include underwater performance

Toyota C-HR rumored to get revamp next year and an EV version

Geely's electric Zeekr 009 is an EV Alphard we never had; 700 km, 542 PS, top speed 190 km/h

A Newey, Brawn and Anderson row that shows F1 doesn’t change

Sorry, EV buyers, you won't get to pick your own pedestrian safety sounds

There won't be enough copper to meet climate goals, study indicates

OTHER CAR NEWS

;
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network