First, a few corrections from the previous write-up. Austin-Healey was not a car company but rather a marque of cars manufactured by BMC (British Motor Corporation, the forerunner of British Leyland) under the guidance of car designer Donald Healey in BMC's Austin plant in Longbridge, England. They were known not just for their roadsters but also for their convertibles. (There's a difference.)
There are generally considered to be two kinds of Austin-Healeys, the "Big Healeys" and the Sprites. The Big Healeys were positioned in the market between the less expensive MGs and the much more expensive Jaguars. Production stopped in 1968 due to problems in meeting new safety laws in the U.S. Their lineage consists of:
- 100-4 (1953-1956, appeared as series BN1 and BN2). A four-cylinder roadster that had a successful racing career and two rare special high-performance models, the 100S (Sebring) and 100M (Le Mans.
- 100-6 (1956-1959, series BN4 and BN6). A six-cylinder roadster styled similarly to the 100-4.
- 3000 Mk I (1959-1961, series BT7 and BN7). A updated and restyled six-cylinder roadster that was a successful rally racing car.
- 3000 Mark II (1961-1963, series BT7, BN7 and BJ7). Added features such as two tiny back seats and roll-up windows (as opposed to removable side windows), plus a permanently attached folding top, making it a true convertible.
- 300 Mark III (1964-1968, series BJ8). More enhancements to to make it more comfortable but few deviations from the original technology.
The Sprites can also be organized into two group, the original Sprites (known as "Bugeye" in North America and "Frogeye" elsewhere) and the "box" Sprites. Eventually, the cars were sold under the MG
name. Their lineage
- Sprite (1958 - 1960, series AN5). A four-cylinder roadster with unmistakable looks. The headlights were originally planned to be retractable but that feature was removed due to cost.
- Sprite Mark II (1961 - 1964, series HAN6 and HAN7). A major styling tone-down from the Bugeye Sprite. The same car sold as the MG Midget.
- Sprite Mark III (1964 - 1966, series HAN8). Some minor modifications from the Mark II, including roll-up windows.
- Sprite Mark IV (1966 - 1969, series HAN9). More comfort and fittings, such as a true folding top.
- Sprite Mark V (1969 - 1971, series HAN10 and AAN10). Basically the same as Mark IV but not imported into the U.S.