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The Audrain Concours Auction / 1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2 Le Mans Chassis no. BN2L 233047 Engine no. 1B/233047-M

Lot 105
1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2 Le Mans
30 September 2022, 16:00 EDT
Newport, Rhode Island, International Tennis Hall of Fame

US$160,000 - US$190,000

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1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2 Le Mans
Chassis no. BN2L 233047
Engine no. 1B/233047-M

2,660cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
2 SU HD6 Carburetors
Est 150bhp at 4,700rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission w/Overdrive
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

*One of the desirable 640 factory 100M Le Mans examples made
*Driven on prominent international rallies, including the Italian Mille Miglia in 2015
*Matching-numbers example, finished in as-delivered livery of Florida Green over Ivory
*Documented by British Heritage Trust and 100M Le Mans Registry Certificates


THE AUSTIN-HEALEY 100M LE MANS

Following the Austin-Healey 100's sensational debut at the 1952 Motor Show, the works had entered two mildly modified cars in the 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour Race. They finished in 12th and 14th places, a highly praiseworthy achievement for what were recognizably production sports cars. Accordingly, the name "Le Mans" was chosen for a bolt-on tuning kit offered through Austin-Healey dealers, by means of which private owners could bring their cars up to a specification approaching that of the works' entries. The kit included a pair of 1¾" SU HD6 carburetors, plus special inlet manifold and cold air box, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs, and a distributor with alternative ignition advance curve. With the kit installed, power increased from the standard 90 to 100bhp.

From October of 1955, the conversion was available, factory-fitted on the successor BN2 model in the form of the 100M. In addition to the Le Mans kit, the latter boasted high-compression pistons, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, special Armstrong front dampers, and a louvered bonnet. Power increased to 110bhp and top speed, with the windscreen folded flat, was within a whisker of 120mph. The number of BN1s converted by their owners is unknown, but 1,159 cars - mostly BN2s - were built or subsequently modified to 100M specification between 1955 and 1956. Of these, just 640 were completed at the factory, some 544 of which were exported to the USA.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Offered here is a matching-numbers example of the increasingly popular and rare, factory 100M Le Mans Austin-Healey, eligible for some of the most prominent motoring events around the Globe. In fact, this very example proves this fact, having participated in the legendary Italian Mille Miglia, among other international events. According to its Heritage Trust Certificate, this fine Austin-Healey was completed at the Longbridge Healey Works as a BN2 model, and factory equipped with the 100M Le Mans package, including a louvered hood, cold air intake, and other performance enhancing details. Furthermore, it featured the four-speed overdrive transmission, and the numerous improvements implemented during the course of production since the introduction of the BN1 in 1953. The left-hand-drive Austin-Healey was like most of these iconic British Roadsters destined for the North American market and finished in the same striking livery as it sports today; with the Roadster bodywork finished in two-tone Florida Green over Ivory, and the interior trimmed in Black.

A complete restoration to factory specifications was carried out in the UK around 2008, and the 100M is reported to have had just 52,000 original miles prior to this restoration. Around that time, the original 2,660cc inline-four was refurbished by Denis Welch Motorsport of Staffordshire, England. After a successful run on the 2015 Italian Mille Miglia, the Healey was was acquired by its most recent owner and imported to the United States later that decade. Keeping with the classic car rally theme, this 100M has been outfitted with a Monit rally tripmeter, Denis Welch tachometer, Moto-Lita wood-rimmed steering wheel, Lucas driving lamps, twin fuel pumps and straight-cut first and second gears, while the bumpers have been removed and replaced with bumperettes at the rear, very much like the 100S Competition cars. A comprehensive service carried out in 2021 included installment of new painted 15″ wire wheels shod on Vredestein Sprint Classic tires, repacking the wheel bearings, replacing the brake shoes, springs, rebuilt brake master cylinder, a gearbox rebuild and fitment of a new clutch.

Since then, the 100M has continued its participation in exclusive classic car rallies, including outings on the Copperstate 1000, the California Mille and the SCM 1000. One of the rare 640 Factory 100M Le Mans models, this fine example is true to the model's performance heritage and would be a shoo-in on classic car driving events and rallies. The Healey's engine and body tags are still intact, and match that of the BMIHT Certificate and 100M Le Mans Registry Certificate of Membership offered with the car. Further records offered with the car includes restoration photos and maintenance/restoration receipts. Mille Miglia eligible, the classic 100M Le Mans Healey remains one of the most popular mid-century sports cars ever produced, and this fine example deserves serious consideration.


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