1956 AUSTIN HEALEY 100M ROADSTER
Chassis No. BN2-L/232878
Engine No. (original) 1B/232878
Ivory with red leather interior
Engine: Four-cylinder in-line, pushrod overhead valve, 2660cc, twin carburettors, 112bhp at 4500rpm; clutch: single plate; gearbox: four speed with synchromesh; suspension: coil springs to front independant with wishbones, half elliptics to live rear axle, telescopic dampers all round; brakes: disc front, drum rear. Left hand drive.
By the early 1950's Donald Healey was one of the most respected of British rally competitors and sports car engineers. Healeys built at his Warwick factory had performed with distinction in endurance events such as the Mille Miglia and the GP d'Endurance at Le Mans. When Leonard Lord let it be known some time before the 1952 London Motor Show that Austin were interested in quantity production of a sports model using as many Austin parts as possible, hopeful specialist makers quickly built prototypes. But it was the svelte 100 two-seater on Healey's stand at the show that captured Lord's attention and was chosen. Renamed to become the Austin-Healey 100, the car quickly became a formidable opponent in every kind of international competition. It was strong, handled well and rewarded tuning. A substantial high-performance aftermarket rapidly grew up, with the factory leading the way.
In 1953 the official Austin-Healey 100 entry at Le Mans sported a special high-compression engine with a high-lift camshaft and stronger valve-springs. Breathing was looked after by a pair of hefty 1.75 in. SU HD6 carburettors on special inlet manifolds, drawing through a cold-air box. To match the enhanced power, the suspension was given heavy duty dampers and a large-diameter front anti-roll bar; a well-louvred bonnet was provided to dispose of surplus heat. This well thought-out tuning package duly appeared on a production model in 1955 with the introduction of the 100/M, of which 1159 are recorded as having been built. In this form top speed was 109mph with the screen up, close to 120mph with it lowered. The standing quarter-mile time was improved from 18.1 seconds of the standard 100, to 17.4 seconds.
This car has been documented by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust as a factory-built 100/M. It was exported first to Iceland, then to USA's East Coast, before coming to the present owner in Switzerland in 1988. It underwent in 1992 a detailed, photo-documented restoration 'from the ground up' by a leading British specialist at a cost of 46,000, since when it has covered some 6,000 miles. Upon a short test drive, it performed extremely well. It is offered as a particularly well-presented example of a rare high performance variant of a classic British sportscar, its practicability enhanced by Halogen headlights and an alternator and fitted with one of the now sought-after period Moto-lita steering wheels. Included with the Austin-Healey's papers are original workshop and driver's manuals.