1953 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1
Original UK car first registered to Donald Healey Motor Co; current owner 18 years; lots of history; older restoration in good condition throughout
Launched at the 1952 London Motor Show, the Healey 100 Sports was developed by Donald Healey and was based on the mechanicals of the Austin A90 Atlantic.
The design so impressed Leonard Lord, managing director of Austin, that a deal was struck with Healey to build it in quantity at the Longbridge factory. Renamed the Austin-Healey 100, production commenced in May 1953, the body/chassis units being made by Jensen in West Bromwich with final assembly at Longbridge.
The first 100s (series BN1) were equipped with the same 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine as the stock A90, but the gearbox was modified to be a three-speed unit with overdrive on second and top. Braking was by Girling 11-inch drums all round with independent front suspension using coil springs and a rigid rear axle with semi elliptic leaf springs. The steering was by a cam and lever system.
The BN1 was replaced by the BN2 in mid-1955, now with a four-speed overdrive gearbox, slightly larger front wheel arches, a different rear axle and optional two-tone paint. The BN2 was in turn replaced by the longer and heavier six-cylinder 100/6 in 1956, but many enthusiasts believe that the earlier four-cylinder car is a better-balanced machine.
A stock BN1 tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 106mph and could accelerate from 0-60 in 11.2 seconds with fuel consumption of 22.5mpg.
A total of 10,030 BN1s were built, the vast majority in LHD, and are perhaps the most desirable of the Healey models being the purest and the most fun to drive, not to mention being eligible for many historic events including the Mille Miglia.
As the original buff logbook shows, this BN1 was first registered to Donald Healey Motor Co Ltd of Warwick in August 1953, correspondence from the 100 Register stating that it is ‘about the 70th production car made’. Six further keepers are recorded up until the late 1970s, mainly in Lancashire and Cheshire, the car moving to Worcestershire/Herefordshire in the early 1980s where it has remained ever since.
A letter to a previous owner from the 100 Register dated October 1979 states that: ‘You appear to have obtained quite an early and interesting car and I believe you may have an "M" type engine conversion’. The letter goes on to outline differences with the M-spec engine (cold air box; size of carburettors; camshaft profile; distributor number) but states that it would take further investigation to confirm this theory, the file sadly not revealing whether this eventually took place or not so we are none the wiser on that score.
A good file of invoices from 1979 onwards attest to regular upkeep over the years, including four new wings and a full repaint in the original Ice Blue in September 1985, and a full interior retrim and a new soft top by JME in August 1988 when the alloy door casings were also replaced. The file also contains a dozen old tax discs and MOTs back to 1986 when the odometer was showing 39,514 miles, although it has been stuck on 73,462 miles since 1997.
Our vendor acquired the car in 2003 and has used it sparingly in fine weather only, clocking up around 1,000 trouble-free miles and having it regularly serviced and maintained, as shown in invoices on file. Kept in a heated garage, it comes with a full set of weather gear, all in serviceable condition, a spare key and has an agreed insurance value of £50,000. It also retains its original Warwick-issue number plate, NUE 974, which is transferable.
As you can see in the photos, it is a good honest Healey in nicely usable condition and has been starting promptly and running well as we have moved it around on site.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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