1954 AUSTIN HEALEY 100/4
Chassis No. BN1-158351
Red with black leather interior
Engine: four cylinder in line, pushrod overhead valve, 2660cc, twin SU carburettors, 90bhp at 4000rpm; clutch: single plate; Gearbox: BN2 four speed with syncromesh; suspension: front independent with wishbones and coil springs, half elliptics to live rear axle, telescopic dampers all round; brakes: disc front, drum rear. Left hand drive.
As the 1950s opened Donald Healey decided he needed a modern, lower-priced sports car to replace the successful but fairly costly Healey tourers and sports models he had been making in his Warwick factory. Not far away at Longridge, Austin chief Leonard Lord was burdened with sluggish demand for his Austin A90 models and hinted he might be interested in building a sporting two-seater using as many of the A90's components as practicable. Healey moved fast and on his stand at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show showed a delectable sports roadster powered by a mildly tuned version of Austin's "big four" and using its gearbox, axles and other components. Smitten, Lord struck a deal with Healey and the Austin Healey 100 was born. It handled well, a genuine 100mph was there for the asking, its production car-based mechanism meant that it was cheap and easy to look after. It cost more than the Triumph TR but much less than a Jaguar XK. Enthusiasts flocked to buy in their ten of thousands, encouraged by the car's great record in international rallying and sports car racing.
This well-presented example of the early BN1 series has been owned by the present vendor for 10 years, during which time the opportunity was taken to upgrade the car's specification and state of tune. Most notably, there is now an aluminium cylinder head with larger valves matched by new high compression pistons. The original BN1 gearbox has been replaced by a rebuilt four-speed unit, used in Austin Healey BN2 models from 1955. Virtually every component, from the radiator and steering gear to wheel bearings, rear springs and dampers, including electrical looms, starter and dynamo, has been rebuilt. There are new chrome wire wheels and a stainless steel exhaust. This lightly tuned Austin Healey 100 combines value for money and lively performance; it can be recommended as a rewarding road car, as an Historic rally entry, or on the show field.