The Sixties are back in style and Austin Healey could be set for a revival. BMW has revealed a concept which proves the company is evaluating plans to resurrect the legendary sports car brand with an M3-powered roadster.
Named Project Warwick after the Midlands town that was the birthplace of the original 1953 Austin Healey models, this stunning concept is built around the lightweight aluminium chassis of BMW's thrilling Z8 roadster.
Its bodywork is all-new, though, and clearly designed to hark back to the classic big Healeys of the Fifties and Sixties with a vertically barred grille, air vents in the wings, round tail lamps and raised arches over the rear wheels. The concept has even been given a two-tone paint job, as used on many of the original cars, and features a modern interpretation of the 'aero-screen' instead of a full windscreen.
The engine format matches that of the classic Healey 3000, too, with power provided by the advanced 3.2-litre 343bhp straight-six from the latest M3. That will keep costs down and allow a production version of the car to slot in above the Z3 and rival the Porsche Boxster S and flagship Jaguar F-Type. In order to make sure the Austin Healey appeals to the right enthusiasts, BMW has entrusted the design to its Californian studio DesignWorks.
The styling house was set up to reflect the needs of the huge US car market, particularly in terms of SUVs and roadsters. However, the Warwick proposal has yet to be given the green light by BMW's top brass. Although the company holds the rights to several famous UK marques, it is concentrating on the MINI before committing to any further British ventures.
This article is copyrighted and has been reprinted with kind permission from Auto Express.