Factory built, one of only 640 examples,1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581

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Lot 50*
1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster
Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581

Sold for € 149,500 (US$ 164,689) inc. premium
Factory built, one of only 640 examples
1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster
Chassis no. BN2-L/230581
Engine no. 1B/230581
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, which finishing in 12th and 14th places, a highly praiseworthy achievement for what were recognisably 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 carburettors plus special inlet manifold and cold air box, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs and distributor with alternative ignition advance curve. With the kit installed power increased from the standard 90 to 100bhp.

From October 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, stiffer front anti-roll bar, special Armstrong front dampers and a louvred bonnet. Power increased to 110bhp and top speed, with windscreen folded flat, to 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, approximately 640 were completed at the factory, some 544 of which were exported to the USA, including the example offered here, which is confirmed to be a genuine, factory built, matching numbers Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' by its accompanying BMIHT and 100M 'Le Mans' Registry certificates.

Chassis number 'BN2-L/230581' was delivered new in 1956 to Florida and in 1958 was purchased by the second owner, a Mr Ditter from Miami, Florida who used it until 1971. The Healey was then stored in his garage until his daughter sold it in 2006 to Harold Brandner from BMC Classics of Smyrna Beach, Florida who restored it completely between 2006 and 2009 (see DVD on file). In 2010 the car was shipped to the current owner in Basel, Switzerland.

Benefiting from a no-expense-spared, 'ground upwards' restoration to original specification, '230581' must be one of the very best of its kind available, as evidenced by its '1st in class' awards at the Tampa British Car Show (October 2009) and the Winterpark Concours d'Élégance (November 2009) and '3rd in class' award at the British Classic Car Meeting in St Moritz (July 2010).

Swiss registered, the car comes with one of the very few hand built wooden steering wheels by Donald Healey together with a new top, tonneau cover and windows; chromed spare wheel; '100M' and 'Le Mans' badges and a well-stocked badge bar.

Finished in its original factory colour scheme of Healey Blue and Old English White, '230581' represents a rare opportunity to acquire an iconic first-of-the-line 'Big Healey', built by the factory to the desirable 100M 'Le Mans' specification.

1 159 voitures, essentiellement des BN2, ont été construites ou modifiées après coup aux spécifications de la 100M entre 1955 et 1956. Parmi celles-ci environ 640 ont été construite à l'usine, dont 544 ont été exportées vers les États-Unis, y compris l'exemplaire proposé à la vente ici, qui est certifié être un modèle Austin-Healey 100M Le Mans d'usine à numéros concordants par ses certificats BMIHT et 100M Le Mans Registry.

La voiture, châssis n° BN2-L/230581, a été livré neuve en 1956 en Floride (premier propriétaire inconnu) et fut achetée en 1958 par son second propriétaire, un certain Mr Ditter de Miami, en Floride, qui l'a utilisée jusqu'en 1971. La Healey fut ensuite remisée dans son garage jusqu'à ce que sa fille la vende en 2006 à Harold Brandner de BMC Classics à Smyrna Beach, en Floride, qui l'a entièrement restaurée entre 2006 et 2009 (voir DVD au dossier). En 2010 la voiture a été expédiée à son actuel propriétaire à Bâle, en Suisse.
Restaurée sans regarder à la dépense, restauration intégrale aux caractéristiques originales, 230581 est sûrement la meilleure de son type, comme en atteste son prix de 1e de sa classe au Tampa British Car Show (octobre 2009), le Winterpark Concours d'Élégance (novembre 2009) et son prix de 3e de sa classe au British Classic Car Meeting de Saint Moritz (juillet 2010).

Immatriculée en Suisse, la voiture est vendue avec l'un des rares volants bois fait main par Donald Healey et une capote neuve, un couvre-tonneau, des fenêtres latérales, une roue de secours chromée, des écussons 100M et Le Mans, ainsi qu'une barre de calandre bien garnie.

Peinte dans sa livrée originale d'usine bleu Healey et Old English White, 230581 est une occasion unique d'acquérir une des premières et emblématiques « big Healey » construites à l'usine aux séduisantes caractéristiques 100M Le Mans.
Contacts
Factory built, one of only 640 examples,1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581
Factory built, one of only 640 examples,1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581
Factory built, one of only 640 examples,1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581
Factory built, one of only 640 examples,1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Le Mans' Roadster Chassis no. BN2-L/230581 Engine no. 1B/230581
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