ROCKFORD — What does James Bond have in common with the Austin-Healey? The writer of the James Bonds novels, Ian Fleming, was friends with Donald Healey. They rode in an automobile race together. Fleming was the navigator for Healey in the Alpine Trial. Donald Healey was a renowned auto engineer and race car driver. Healey, who had traveled extensively in the United States, wanted to create a relatively affordable British sports car for the American market. World War II had ended and the troops were coming back home with visions of sports cars in their heads. Healey took advantage of that, and brought his Austin-Healey cars to America.
Bruce E. and Karla Fent, of Rockford, brought their replica Austin-Healey Roadster to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. They have owned this beauty for three years. It was built in 1998 in Columbus. The engine was built in Fowler’s Engine, also in Columbus. Fent said his best memory is the first time he saw the car and started it up, the exhaust blew all the signs off the walls! He and his wife have fun riding in it.