Monterey | Lot 274
1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN2
$100,800 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
25 August 2018
- Freshly restored by marque specialists BRC
- Includes period Breitling timing equipment
- U.S.-market car originally delivered to Los Angeles
- Striking black over dark green leather trim
- Includes BMIHT Certificate
When Donald Healey presented his two-seat Hundred roadster prototype at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show, he was no stranger to high-performance automobiles. His post-war Elliott sedan defied an otherwise largely stagnant British car industry with its wind tunnel-proven design that made it the fastest closed production car in the world. Yet with the Hundred, Healey had broader expectations. The sports car made use of Austin A90 Atlantic componentry, which attracted brand chief Sir Leonard Lord. Healey and Lord struck a deal to build the car at Austin’s Longbridge assembly plant using Jensen Motors-supplied bodies, and they named their venture Austin-Healey and quantified the roadster’s nomenclature to simply 100.
The first Austin-Healey 100s utilized a 90-hp inline four-cylinder from the A90 with a three-speed manual gearbox with overdrive. More than 10,000 were built, spurred by strong demand in the U.S. where the roadster had garnered interest from enthusiasts since the Hundred prototype was named International Car of the Year at the 1953 New York Auto Show.
In late summer of 1955, an updated model dubbed the Austin-Healey 100 BN2 bowed. Visually, it was distinguished by beefier front wheel arches and many left the Longbridge factory with two-tone paint. A four-speed manual with overdrive and a revised rear axle ratio provided the BN2 with more spirited performance. The Austin-Healey 100 proved especially popular in California’s budding car culture, where its open top made it an ideal companion on the West Coast. Nearly three-quarters of Austin-Healey 100 BN2 production was earmarked for California, including the example offered here that left Longbridge on 7 June 1956 bound for Los Angeles.
This example was originally finished in Reno Red with a red interior and a black top but was recently restored by marque specialists BRC in Philadelphia. It was thus finished in a dramatic black over green AutoMat leather upholstery with contrasting black piping. The 100’s body is said to have been in excellent condition prior to the restoration, and it retains correct serial stampings throughout. Under its bonnet, the 100 retains its original engine, as confirmed by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, which is included. Its U.S.-market miles per hour Smiths speedometer was reset after a recent, extensive mechanical restoration that included its engine and its suspension. The 90-hp inline-four has barely been broken in since its refurbishment and is ready to be driven gently for the next 500 miles, just as its original owner would have been instructed to do in 1956.
Refinished wire wheels wrapped in new Vredestein Sprint Classic tires outside are joined by period Lucas fog lamps mounted to the roadster’s front bumper. Inside, the Austin-Healey 100 includes a trio of period Breitling timers that honor the marque’s racing pedigree.