You can sweep the steering wheel each way a few degrees with no discernible effect at first. But take up the slack and it takes on extra precision and immediacy. It doesn’t load up with feel; rather, you get a vibe of the car moving around beneath you on its modest rubber with big sidewalls, but that’s part of the charm, with a heady engine that doesn’t like less than 1500rpm and really needs no more than 4000rpm. There’s tremendous mechanical interaction and a lot of noise and bluster to go with it.
Whether that’s worth the £474,000 plus donor car that Caton asks is a different point. When JME-restored and/or mechanically well-tweaked Healeys, including recreations of some special versions, can be hadat less than half of the price of the Caton Healey, you’re really paying for the finish of it, the hour upon hour of craftsman working aluminium on English wheel until the proportions are absolutely perfect.
Customers will want nothing else (certainly, I couldn’t help looking back at it every time I got out of it), and for them it’s a nailed-on five-star winner. Other people will think it a two-star non-starter, as you can get the high-end classic car mechanical interaction and enjoyment for a lot less outlay. Cars like E-Type UK’s Unleashed share a similar theme.
Both arguments are valid, so when it comes to the verdict, what say we split the difference?