Steve Norton has owned Austin Healeys since the mid 1980's and recognised several areas where service to owners could be improved.
If you are reading this you are clearly interested in our origins and if you are considering buying from us you are probably keen to know how committed we are to this great marque.
I am Steve Norton my first Austin Healey was an original RHD Mk II triple carb, an early car with the side change gearbox, it took me 5 years to restore, when it was finished impending marriage, home and kids meant it couldn’t stay, however, the process gave me a great insight into the car and the industry and in 1993 I started a company called the Midland Austin Healey Centre.
We started selling parts, mostly used original and rare stuff at first but gradually we sourced new parts and our stocks grew pretty quickly. Our first photocopied catalogue was (photocopied) in 94, the following year we computerized our database and said good bye to the Rolodex.
About this time a local customer insisted we restore his BT7 forcing us to open our restoration dept!
In 1999 we became Cape International, Cape because it is the place where Donald set up his factory near Warwick and International because we sell to 40+ countries around the world.
Our first BT7 based CapeSport 3000 was launched at the Austin Healey 50th Anniversary Event in 2002 and shortly afterwards featured on the front cover of Classic Cars magazine.
Our introduction to the 100S happened about now, we purchased John Daltons RWD132 whilst already looking after XJW858, coincidentally both were team cars at the 1955 Dundrod TT. We restored RWD for its first Goodwood appearance and this experience enabled us to pioneer the availability of 100S replica parts where previously owners of BN1 + 2 models could only replicate the 100M model. To prove how effective these parts could be we started building our first CapeSport 100 BN1.
A very sorry looking AHX11 arrived at our door in 2005. One of the 19 pre-production hand built Warwick BN1’s AHX11 is the earliest example of the 100 currently in Europe. We completed its ground-up restoration in 2007 when it was secured by the Austin Healey Museum in Holland where it is now displayed.
A series of fabulous CapeSport projects followed for clients in Monaco, Budapest and the UK and in 2012 we realised the business was being hindered at its old address and decided to purchase new premises in Redditch. This move has allowed us to control our environment better to improve and increase the range of services we provide.
2016 and bang up to date our most recent restoration of the 1955 Earls Court Show BN2 has just won 1st place in its class (Standard 100) and Outright Winner at the UK Austin Healey Club National Concours.
Back to the shop we are currently restoring a BN2 factory M, a 100S replica (for sale) and a Porsche 911S (for me!)