Lot 124

Arizona 2013

1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2 'Le Mans' Roadster


$130,000 - $160,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



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Engine No.
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110 hp, 2,660 cc OHV four-cylinder engine with twin SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front suspension with coil springs and wishbones, live rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

• One of 640100M Le Mans factory-built roadsters

• Matching numbers, as confirmed by a BMC Heritage Certificate

• Reno Red with black coves and a red leather interior

In 1952, the British Motor Corporation held a competition to design a new two-seater Austin sports car. Donald Healey’s “100” won, and his Earls Court Motor Show prototype was ordered into production. With a fold-down windshield and knock-off wire wheels, it epitomized the affordable British sports car.

By the time the Healey 100 made its appearance at the 1953 International Motor Sports Show in New York, it was being built at Austin’s factory at Longbridge, and it had become the Austin-Healey 100 BN1.

“It’s really that good!” Motor Trend magazine announced after its first American road test.

With aluminum body-surrounds attached to a steel shell on a beefy frame, the Healey 100-4 was simple, robust, and fast. It weighed only 2,015 pounds, and at $2,995 (the price of a Buick Century Convertible), it would become a huge hit in America. From 1953 to 1955, the company produced 10,688 examples, with more than half that total going to the United States. The Healey’s 2,660-cubic centimeter four-cylinder engine generated 90 horsepower, and the little roadster could reach 110 mph and go from 0–60 in 10.5 seconds. The BN1 model had a three-speed gearbox with overdrive on the top two gears, but this was replaced by a four-speed in 1955.

Buyers who opted for the Le Mans, or the 100M model when it appeared in late-1955, received an additional 20 horsepower. With 110 horsepower, 0–60 came up in 9.6 seconds, and a top speed rose to 120 mph. Performance was boosted by a higher 8:1 compression ratio, a high-lift camshaft, larger 1¾-inch SU carburetors, and a cold air intake. Additionally, they included a louvered hood held down by a leather strap, as well as “Le Mans” badging and a dash plaque.

Later in 1956, the longer 100-6 model was introduced with jump seats in the rear, a fixed windshield, and the heavy Austin Westminster 2,639-cubic centimeter six-cylinder engine. The new car was heavier, slower, and nose-heavy, and enthusiasts prefer the earlier model.

The car on offer is a genuine, factory built, matching-numbers 100M, confirmed by its BMC Heritage Certificate. It was built in January 1956 and shipped to New York, fitted with a heater, a louvered hood, and a laminated windshield, top, and side curtains.

Recently restored inside and out, it was repainted in its original Reno Red, with black coves and a red leather interior. The car indicates 75,540 miles, which is believed to be original, and the car has been driven little since the restoration was completed.

Big Healeys have always been a pure joy to drive. They are fast enough for modern traffic, but big enough for U.S. distances, and they are relatively trouble-free. This has to be considered one of the most significant models, as well as one of the best-handling. The tilt-back windshield and knock-off wire wheels remain as iconic now as they were at the time.