The Austin-Healey 100, named so because of its 100mph top speed, was a two-seater sports car designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company and produced at the Longbridge Plant in Birmingham by Austin.
First launched at the 1952 London Motorshow in Earls Court, the ‘Healey Hundred’ was an instant success. It’s low sloping profile, distinctive chrome front grille and genuinely impressive performance made it the ‘star of the show’, and the orders came flooding in:
The earliest production cars, known internally as the BN1, featured a torquey 2660cc 4-cylinder engine and 3-speed manual gearbox (both taken from the rather ‘unsporty’ Austin A90 Atlantic), with overdrive on 2nd and 3rd.
It’s interesting to note that the gearbox itself was actually a 4-speed unit, but given that the Healey was over 400kg lighter than the Austin A90, the 1st gear ratio was deemed unnecessary, and the selector mechanism was modified to block it out… leaving only 3 gears to choose from!
Production of the BN1 lasted from 1953-1955, during which time approximately 10,000 BN1s were produced (over 95% being exported to overseas markets – mostly the USA).
The BN1 was succeeded by the BN2 in 1955, which introduced a new 4-speed gearbox and some subtle styling changes.
However, despite these ‘improvements’, many collectors still prefer the BN1, not just because of its place in history as the first ‘Big Healey’, but because despite the BN2’s extra gear, the final drive ratios of both cars are actually the same, and the BN1 has the advantage of being ~80kg lighter due to an aluminium boot, bonnet, and lighter rear axle.
Built on the 18th December 1953, this early BN1 was first delivered, as most Healeys were, to the North American market.
We don’t know much about the car’s life ‘over the pond’. Our records begin in the early 90s when the car was imported back into the UK by a Mr Derek Peet of Thames Ditton, Surrey.
Orchard Restorations of East Sussex were tasked with recommissioning the car in 1993. Almost everything on the car was inspected, diagnosed and rectified, though it’s clear from the restoration notes that further engine work would be in order.
Nevertheless, Mr Peet held onto the car until 1999, when he sold it to a Mr Neil Rodgers, who, over the next decade or so, would to continue to restore and improve the Healey.
Beginning in November 2006, a 4-year comprehensive restoration was undertaken by Austin-Healey specialists, D.J. Grove, in which the car was almost entirely rebuilt, converted to RHD, upgraded with ‘Le Mans’ modifications and refinished in its current Carmine Red/Old English White two-tone colour scheme.
Rodgers would continue to use and enjoy his newly restored Healey over the next several years, before selling it to the current owner in 2018, who has carefully maintained the car ever since as part of his larger collection.
The car presents today in fantastic cosmetic and mechanical condition, and is accompanied by a comprehensive history file, tonneau cover, original chrome bumpers and hood.
We recently had the car on a rolling road, and obtained a maximum power output of 77.5bhp @ 3,800rpm at the wheels:
Eligible for a variety of prestigious UK and international events.
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