Ashley’s Austin Healey

It would be safe to say that the majority of the people reading this blog post are gearheads with a penchant for mechanical pieces whether they roll on the ground, skip across the water or fly through the air. While we get pulled in by the fascinating bits and pieces, giving hours of attention to care, recreation and research, most of us would agree that the people are what make certain events and activities more enjoyable and most memorable.

Austin Healey driverside

Every June, the second Sunday is reserved for the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, where I recruit two seat Sports Cars up to 1959 for the Sports Classic category. These cars bring a smile to everyone’s face, Porsche, MG, Jaguar, Corvette, Alfa, Morgan, Triumph, Lotus, Ferrari, Siata, Austin Healey, all the little cars that are big fun! For 2014, an Austin Healey 100 BN2 was scheduled to appear on the field, registered by Gary Feldman from northern Ohio; the car had undergone a thorough restoration including extensive work performed in the Feldman’s garage.

Austin Healey backend

At Ault Park the cars wind down the garden paths to get onto the show field. The Big Healey drew attention as it picked it way through the gardens to take up its position amongst the other sports cars on the show field. As the 100-4, black with deep red inserts, and matching deep red interior, rolled across the lawn with the hood up to keep the morning dew at bay, one couldn’t help but notice the young lady in the passenger seat sporting an enormous grin. Ashley Feldman beamed from the right seat as her Dad, Gary, put the car on its marks; she popped out of the right side and went for the detailing equipment before Gary could extract himself from under the raised top. After a brief introduction, the Feldman’s prepared the car for the judging and spectators as I took the opportunity to look over the decidedly luscious Healey.

Austin Healey grill

Both Gary and Linda, Ashley’s Mother, took time to explain the depth of Ashley’s involvement in the restoration of the 100-4. From the day it was brought home as a used sports car Ashley developed an affinity for the car and claimed it part and parcel as “Her Car.” When the restoration process began, Ashley delved into the project alongside Gary, handing tools, reading instructions, pushing cables and pulling wires – all the fun stuff of the restoration project. Ashley faces special challenges with learning daily, vintage sports car restoration is a challenge she enthusiastically accepts and enjoys.

Ashley in her Austin Healey

A young lady proud of the car she put on the show field, as she well should be; Big Healey’s are quite the find with Concours recruiters. Few and far between, it is always an honor to have one on display. To have an exemplary Austin Healey adds immeasurably to any Concours. To have a Big Healey with such an exemplary story is very rare. A young lady restoring sports cars with her Dad and embracing the hobby is a refreshing twist from the daily grind.

Thanks to Ashley and the Feldmans for adding even more delight to our day.

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Kurt Niemeyer is a lifelong sports car guy with an interest in motorcycles, boats and general aircraft, if you can drive it, he likes it. A second generation sports car racer, Niemeyer races on road courses, paved ovals and drag strips along with autocrossing, in a Legends Car; 2015 marks his return to Vintage Sports Car Racing. An avid European sports car collector, preservationist and restorer he is often tapped as a Concours d’Elegance Judge for Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Austin Healey, Ferrari, Jaguar, racing cars and other marques. Part of the Car Selection team at the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, he picks and awards the William Niemeyer Exemplary Alfa Romeo Award each year to honor his Father, and recruits Sports Cars up to 1959. A writer and historian he works as the automotive/motoring editor for Cincy Magazine, and contributes to a variety of collector car publications.

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