- 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1
- Beautifully original, UK delivered car
- Matching numbers engine
- Two-family ownership for almost 50 years
- Sympathetic restoration documented in the 90s
- Wearing light patina
- Great history file with original log book
This attractive Austin-Healey 100/4 was in the ownership of only two families for almost 50 years. In 1970, it was bought from John Hutson – who had owned it for two years – by London-based Andrew Koch.
Three years later, the continuation logbook shows that it was registered to Andrew’s brother Michael, but in 1977 it was Andrew who sold it on Michael’s behalf. Having been looking for ‘in excess of £600’, he had to settle for £500 and the Healey passed to Brian Hughes.
Hughes would own the car for almost 40 years, and it was clearly in need of some work when he acquired it. His hand-written notes show that he fitted new wings, doors, outer sills, seats and carpets.
There was further expenditure on ‘parts’ with the likes of AH Spares and Moto Build, and a new wiring loom was also needed. Hughes’ carefully documented expenditure shows that, once he’d finished, he’d spent £1898.02 – including the cost of the car.
Chassis number BN1/223961 was originally built on 10 February 1955 as a right-hand-drive UK-market Healey 100. It was finished in Carmen Red with black interior – a combination that it retains today – and was supplied to the Farghers & Ashtons dealership on the Isle of Man.
The continuation logbook suggests that the Healey came back to the mainland in June 1958, when it was given the registration RJU 322 – which was issued in Leicestershire.
In more recent years, it has been cared for by renowned marque specialist Rawles Motorsport, with a carburettor rebuild being among the jobs listed in the extensive paperwork. There is also a wealth of receipts and invoices from Hughes’ ownership, plus MoTs going all the way back to 1970.
Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this is a superb example of the BN1 Austin-Healey 100. Presented in very original specification, it offers all the excitement that you’d expect from this stylish ‘back to basics’ 1950s sports car.
Donald Healey founded his eponymous car company in 1945, having already served as an RFC pilot in World War One, won the Monte Carlo Rally driving an Invicta, and worked for both Riley and Triumph.
With Achille Sampietro and Ben Bowden on board, the company initially built Riley-powered cars in relatively small numbers. Then, at the 1952 London Motor Show, it produced a striking new model with styling by Gerry Coker, a chassis by Barry Bilbie, and the 2660cc four-cylinder engine from an Austin A90. Leonard Lord, boss of Austin, was suitably impressed, and the Austin-Healey era was about to begin.
A deal was done for Jensen to build the bodies, and final assembly took place at Austin’s Longbridge plant. The first-series Healey 100s were known as the BN1 and featured a three-speed gearbox with overdrive on second and third. Drum brakes were used all round and many of the major mechanical components came from the Austin A90.
When road-tested by The Motor, a BN1 Healey 100 accelerated from 0-60mph in just over 11 seconds and went on to a top speed of 106mph.
An updated BN2 model was introduced in 1955 and had a four-speed gearbox, still with overdrive on the top two ratios. The wheelarches were also slightly larger and two-tone paint was offered as an optional extra.
The Healey 100 was a huge success, particularly in the North American export market – it’s thought that almost 80 percent of production went there. It was also a popular choice for motorsport, with Healey offering the more powerful 100M and the now highly coveted aluminium-bodied 100S, which had disc brakes all round and a 132bhp engine.
For many enthusiasts, the Healey 100 – with its rugged four-cylinder engine and elegant styling – represents the ideal 1950s British sports car. It lasted until 1956, when it was replaced by the six-cylinder 100-6, which morphed into the 3000 three years later.
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