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 Post subject: Benjamin Bowden
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:53 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
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Posts: 325
Ben Bowden (UK) designed all the 'pre Austin' Healeys. He is most famous for designing the Spacelander bicycle, which, although admired by fellow designers was not a commercial success.


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 Post subject: Re: Benjamin Bowden
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 2:55 pm 

Location: COVENTRY, UK
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:36 pm
Posts: 19
I have recently written an article about the Nash Healey car for the Austin Healey Club of America 'Healey Marque' magazine. As a result of the research I undertook for the article I discovered more about Ben Bowden. I will share that information with you here -
Even before writing this article I had often wondered who had styled the Healey Sportsmobile and not so dissimilar Nash Healey bodies. They were distinctly different to the previous Westland thru’ Abbott designs which had been penned by Ben Bowden. Clearly Ben Bowden was a talented industrial designer, he was one of those rare people who combined artistic talent with an education in engineering. His exact relationship with Donald Healey and the Donald Healey Motor Company requires more research, if that is possible, it has eluded me up to yet. The facts that I have discovered are – before and during WWII Ben was chief body engineer for the Humber Motor Company, a member of the Rootes Group. That is where he met Donald Healey. He was one of the founder shareholders in the Donald Healey Motor Company, along with Archile “Sammy” Sampietro. As already stated Bowden designed the bodies of the early Healey cars, while Sampietro designed the chassis. Both overseen by Donald Healey.
Where the story gets to be a little disjointed is when one reads that at around the same time that Bowden was designing those Healey cars he had established one of the U.K’s first industrial design studios (think Raymond Loewy) in Leamington Spa, a town adjacent to Warwick. That was short-lived because by 1949 he had moved to the U.S. to work, in turn, for Ford and GM. The company he founded with fellow designer John Allen (Allen Bowden Ltd.) continued into the late 1960s. Incidentally, Ben Bowden is most well known for his ‘Spacelander’ bicycle design which was brought to fruition while he was in the U.S. It was admired by fellow industrial designers but was not a commercial success.
Ben Bowden with his Spacelander bicycle

Healey Abbot, one of the early Healey cars designed by Ben Bowden.

Healey Sportsmobile, the car before the Nash Healey, only 24 built, with the Riley 2.4Ltr. twin-cam engine.


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