1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1
Chassis no. BN1L219406
Engine no. 1B/219406
Timing is everything and its something that British motor industry veteran Donald Healey knew a bit about. This was a man who had won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1931 driving an Invicta, but failed to finish in 1935 after colliding with a train while driving one of the three Triumph Dolomite straight-eights.
Following World War II, Healey struck out on his own and from his base in Warwick, UK, began building very high-quality sporting cars using Riley running gear. There were roadsters and dropheads and coupes. These were cars that an upper middle-class owner could drive to work and rally or race on the weekends. But they werent cheap. Next came the Nash-Healey sports car. But despite modestly priced-running gear from the American independent manufacturer, the chassis, suspension and coachwork still resulted in a car that cost more than $4,000.
Healey was well aware that he needed a car that could be built in larger numbers and sold at a lower price in the rapidly emerging sports car market in the new world. MG and Jaguar were selling the bulk of their production to North America and Triumph was readying the TR2. Using the four-cylinder 2.6 liter Austin A-90 engine and transmission, as well as other components from the parts bin of newly-formed BMC (a merger of the Austin and Nuffield/Morris companies), Healey produced a sleek and beautiful prototype styled by Gerry Coker. Healey showed his Healey Hundred at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show in the UK and caught the eye of BMC supreme Leonard Lord.
Again, Healeys timing was perfect. Lord selected his car over a new MG prototype, thus delaying the replacement of the old-fashioned MG TD, which was also in the BMC family. When it went on sale in 1953, the beautiful Austin-Healey 100 cost less than $3,000 in the United States and would top 100mph. Those first cars, designated BN1, used the 90 bhp Austin engine, a three-speed transmission with overdrive and were happily received in the United States, which took most of the 10,688 cars produced.
The beautiful BN1 Austin-Healey 100 on offer was built in mid-September 1954. A left-hand drive model built for export to the North American market, it was finished in green and fitted with wire wheels, a laminated windshield and a heater, all of which were considered optional equipment.
Always a rust-free western car, in 2002, the car was stripped to its chassis for a full restoration. The engine was totally rebuilt and mated to a four-speed BN2 transmission. Gleaming in its rich new British Racing Green livery, the car is beautifully accented by new chrome wire wheels. The lovely exterior is complimented with pristine upholstery, carpets, trim panels, top and tonneau cover.
To many collectors and enthusiasts, the Austin-Healey 100s are the purest of the big Healeys. Theyre sleek, stunning to view and have that big, torquey engine. And though a good example like this one is ideal for carving up deserted back roads, it is also capable of keeping up with modern traffic. In a market where many cars are declining in value, there is an ever-increasing demand for these early Austin-Healeys.
- Please note, the engine number listed in the catalog is incorrect. The correct engine number is 1B230561M.