DMH had aspirations beyond Invicta, however and through his contact with the Riley family was loaned a Riley Brooklands, which he campaigned successfully in the Alpine Rally, which lead to a short spell assisting the company in vehicle preparation.
In those days success in an international rally or at a premier road race such as Le-Mans was front-page news and a guarantee of increased sales for the successful marque. DMH’s reputation was high and he was approached by the Triumph Motor Company, in those days manufacturers of sporting cars to compete with the likes of Riley and Alfa Romeo. He had sold his small motor business and so when he was offered the job of Experimental Manager he had no reservations about leaving Cornwall to move to Warwickshire.
Throughout his period with Triumph he continued to compete, and win rallies, but he had an aspiration to design a British sports car to compete, and beat continental opposition most particularly the all-conquering Alfas, of which the Monza 2.3 litre supercharged straight eight was the most famous.
It has often been said, with great scorn, that the Japanese motor industry grew from copying European engineering and indeed it could be argued that this was the case but it has always been so. DMH and Triumph, rather than taking a clean sheet of paper and developing their own design from scratch decided to take the short-cut of stripping down a Monza engine, measuring each part and building an engine almost identical in every respect.
The result was the magnificent 1934 Triumph Dolomite, a sleek two-seater with an enormously long bonnet sheathing the straight eight engine, with chromed exposed exhaust snaking along the nearside of the car.
Donald decided to take the car on the 1934 Monte to prove the design and all was well until a coming together on a railway crossing with a train! DMH and navigator were unhurt but the car was a right-off. Only 3 Dolomites were built as the market was limited and the price more than a 3 litre Bentley, but Donald stayed at Triumphs for 5 years until the War, when the company went into liquidation. He stayed on at the factory for some time, however, manufacturing carburettors for aero-engines and serving in the RAFVR as part-time officer in the ATC, moving towards the end of the war to Humber on the fighting vehicle side. At Humber the germ of an idea began to grow within DMH’s mind, the idea that once the War was over he would build high-performance cars of his own.
In July 1945 Donald Healey wrote an article entitled ‘The Enthusiast’s Car’ which outlined his ideals for a car to compete with the pre war continental masterpieces exemplified by the Mercedes SSK and 2900cc 8 cylinder Alfa Romeo - Donald Healey’s perfect car.