Lot 388 - 1953 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1
|Chassis Number||BN1 224973|
|Odometer reading||7,289 miles|
|Estimate||£38,000 - £48,000|
The Austin-Healey 100 was built between 1953 and 1956 by BMC (British Motor Corporation).
It was developed by Donald Healey to be produced in-house by Healey's small car company in Warwick and based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanics. Healey built a single ""Healey Hundred"" for the 1952 London Motor Show, and the design impressed Leonard Lord, Managing Director of Austin so much that a deal was struck with Healey to build it in quantity at Austin's Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100.
The '100' name comes from Donald Healey, who selected the name from the car's ability to reach 100mph, as opposed to the Austin-Healey 3000, which is named for its 3000cc engine. The first 100s (series BN1) were equipped with the same 90bhp engines and manual transmission as the stock A90, but the transmission was modified to be a three-speed unit with overdrive on second and top. The 2660cc engine featured an undersquare 87.3 mm bore and 111.1mm stroke. Girling 11"" drum brakes are fitted all round. Front suspension is independent using coil springs and at the rear is a rigid axle with semi elliptic leaf spring while the steering is by a cam and lever system.
A BN1 tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 106mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 11.2 seconds. These were built from May 1953, and replaced by the BN2 model in mid-1955.
The BN2 was fitted with a real 4-speed manual transmission, still with overdrive on the top 2 gears.
It was no surprise, given the styling, design and performance of these iconic motorcars, that Ian Walker, the 'Doyen of British Motorsport' as David Tremayne of the Independent put it, settled on this extraordinary example. Ian Walker played a key role in British motorsport at the time when Colin Chapman's Lotus emerged as the team that would take Jim Clark and Graham Hill to world championship successes in the 1960s. Walker's passion for motor racing emerged after a six-year period in the RAF which included two and a half years as a rear gunner in a Lancaster bomber during the Second World War. He became a Ford works driver and competed in the Monte Carlo Rally six times. In 1964 he shared a Ford Falcon with Hill, a friend. They took the event very seriously, making pace notes and using a helmet-mounted intercom system for the first time. On his retirement from race driving in 1962 he set up Ian Walker Racing, which enjoyed success across Europe and North America with the likes of Clark, Hill and Peter Arundell behind the wheel. Walker was also instrumental in nurturing the careers of young racers such as Mike Spence, Paul Hawkins and Frank Gardner. His team set new standards of professionalism, using custom-built articulated trucks long before they became fashionable. He was negotiating with John Player for sponsorship, and looking ahead to Formula One involvement. In 1968, Gold Leaf Team Lotus ushered in the era of commercial sponsorship.
With his connections, knowledge of racing and innate understanding of what makes up a competent fast-road car, he set about up-grading this one. Obviously restored to a good standard, the engine has been completely stripped and rebuilt by Mass Racing Developments, competition engine specialists, and a file exists listing parts used, torque curves during testing and cost of development. With a gas-flowed head and equalised combustion chambers, heavy duty cylinder head studs, bronze valve guides, Le Mans high lift camshaft and high compression pistons with equalised deck heights, this represents just a part of the modification undertaken; there are even retaining straps for the core plugs. An impressive read but the attention to detail does not stop there. Another two page list details the rally specification of the car. These include the basics such as tow-eyes, front and rear, full length sump guard and Lucas P100 headlights and Cibie spots but also twin fire extinguishers, twin Halda stopwatches, twin batteries, internal intercom system, four point belts and under dash cooling fans for driver and navigator. Even the wiper motor was deemed insufficient and so Walker had it re-calibrated to his own specification. The fuel tanks, exhaust system and radiator have been up-graded as has the suspension bodywork (bonnet) and internal fittings.
This has been meticulously put together by someone who knows what they are talking about and no expense spared. It would have no trouble taking part in international historic rallying across the world and comes, as you would expect, with FIA papers. With three files of paperwork including the buff log book with Ian Walkers details within, this extraordinary motorcar wants for nothing. There is even a trip/flight time clock on the navigators' side from a Russian MiG.
A stunning sports car with the heart of a thoroughbred.
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