A Series of Interviews with Personalities famous in the Realms of Motoring Sport No. 2 — Anthony Heal
Anthony Heal is one of the few drivers who are capable of handling a highly tuned vintage or veteran car (probably with poor braking) to its full potentialities with absolute safety. He has achieved the art of smoothness in control and accurate anticipation which bring driving to a nicety.
It is said that given the opportunity of handling a modern voiturette he would have gained similar success to his exploits on vintage and veteran machines.
Whilst not being a practical mechanic, Heal has a sound technical knowledge of his stable. He knows the modifications that would be most likely to produce the effects he may desire. However, he is loth to basically disturb the original layout or appearance of his vehicles.
Silver Medal Land’s End Trial 1931, Frazer-Nash.
Silver Medal Land’s End Trial 1935, Vauxhall 30/98 O.E. type.
Premier Award London-Exeter 1935, Vauxhall 30/98.
Land’s End 1936 P.A., Vauxhall 30/98.
Edinburgh 1986 Silver, Vauxhall 30/98.
1st Vintage Racing Car over 3-litres V.S.C.C. 1936 — Howard Park Speed Trials, Vauxhall.
1st Vintage Super-Sport and Racing V.S.C.C. 1937 — Croydon Speed Trials, Vauxhall.
Brighton Speed Trials, 30 sec., 1938, Vauxhall,
Prescott, 56.6, Vauxhall.
Shelsley Walsh, 47.96 sec., 10-litre Fiat, 1938.
Brighton, 30.74 sec., 10-litre Fiat, 1938.
Prescott, 58.3 sec., 10-litre Fiat, 1938.
Poole Speed Trials, 25.6 sec., 10-litre Fiat, 1939.
Prescott Inter. Edwardian Class Record, 54.02 sec., 10-litre Fiat, 1939.
Motoring Activities Immediately Prior To the War
Wherever there was an event for Edwardian cars, Heal could be found with his famous 10-litre racing Fiat. In his hands this car performed magnificently.
Finding, in the 1939 Poole speed trials, that there was no Edwardian class, he ran this 1910 Fiat in an unlimited racing event and it is noteworthy that there were three cars slower than his.
Motoring Activities During The War
Until the “basic” stopped Heal used his potent O.E. Type 30/98 Vauxhall. This car. with two S. U. carburetters and a special camshaft is capable of 100 m.p.h. and with a Delage front axle stops very niceIy.
Later he covered a small mileage on his Scott “Flying Squirrel” motor-cycle in connection with Home Guard duties. His transportation finally degenerated to a push cycle.
Intends to continue driving in Edwardian classes with the Fiat and in Vintage classes with his other motors.
We asked his views on using his 2-litre supercharged Sunbeam as a modern racing car. He replied that whereas it could probably be made to hold its own, there was the question of spares (of which there are none). The car is over twenty years old and he intends to treat it with some restraint.
He does not plan to increase the size of his stable but, he says, you know what it is.
Cars Now Owned
O.E. 30/98 Vauxhall, open 4-seater (capable of 100 m.p.h. with it two S.U. carburetters and special camshaft).
1910 10-litre Fiat Edwardian racing car.
1914 T.T. 3.3-litre Sunbeam, 4-cyl. 16 valves.
1922 T.T. 3-litre Sunbeam Straight 8,twin o.h.c., 32 valves. (The car in which Segrave put up the fastest lap in the 1922 T.T. at 57.7 m.p.h.)
1924 2-litre G.P. Supercharged Sunbeam, 6-cyl. twin o.h.c.
1926 3-litre Sunbeam, 2 o.h.c. open 4-seater.
1909 Napier Cabriolet 30-h.p. 6-cyl.
1919 5-litre Ballot Indianapolis racing car.
1921 3-litre Ballot G.P. racing car.
Most Frightening Experience
The Occasion was the practising for the 24-hour Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans in 1939, which commenced well after dark.
A certain participant approached Heal and suggested that he might care to accompany him, as passenger, for several laps in the 4-litre Talbot-Darracq that he was to run in the race. He readily accepted. They set off at a great pace, cornering to the limit of the car’s quite remarkable ability, then hurtling on, touching 120 m.p.h. in places, all in Stygian darkness only pierced by the car’s headlights. On throttling back on corners flames would appear at the carburetters which would shine through the bonnet louvres and light up the roadside in grotesque fashion. At the best of times an invigorating experience, but terrifying for Heal when he began to discover that the driver, following an indulgent dinner, was over-exuberant and not entirely in a composed state of mind. With great difficulty Heal persuaded him to stop the car, saying that he wished to try the vehicle himself.
From the pits Heal set off alone and lapped twice, when he had to come in as the throttle linkage had become disconnected. Soon after, with the defect rectified, the original driver again recommenced his spectacular lappery. Finally, becoming increasingly dangerous and refusing to be called in, the practice wag stopped and all the other cars left the course. The circuit then became lined with furious French officials who jumped up and down and waved fiercely. Eventually coming in, this offending driver took to his bed with remorse and stayed there for the rest of the week.
Hobbies Other Than Motoring
Says Heal: “With a wife and child and a business to attend to, and a stable of nine cars, can there be room for anything else?”
Many enthusiasts are familiar with “Red Hill Cottage,” just west of London, where Heal welcomes many who are interested in the Sport.
Adjoining the house one finds a large brick-built hall which houses his famous collection.
He is blessed with a devoted and charming wife (who is also interested in cars).
Business Or Profession
Heal is the managing director of a furniture shop in the West End of London which bears his name.
Advice To The Less Experienced
Start on a motor cycle, as it encourages a healthy respect for the other road user.
His experiences with 30/98 Vauxhalls make him appreciate the value of constantly thinking ahead. A fast car, with poor braking, need not be dangerous if one’s senses are suitably trained.
Whatever sort of car one has, one will never have enough money. However, a large vintage motor gives the most fun for the least outlay.
Any Suggestions For Improving Motoring As A Sport
He has no criticisms to make, says he enjoyed it as it was, but feels that it is a pity the public is so averse.