Lot 205 - 1955 Austin Healey 00/4
|Odometer reading||8,500 miles|
|Estimate||£45,000 - £50,000|
|Result||Sold - £38,500|
Before the 100 LeMans, before the Healey 100S, there was simply the Austin-Healey 100 but what an amazing car it proved to be. The result of a partnership signed in 1952 between the head of BMC, Leonard Lord, and successful automotive engineer and Donald Healey, the '100' - so named for its top-speed capability - was unveiled at the 1952 Earl's Court Motor Show as a more sporting alternative. The 100 was simple and strong; the frame comprising a pair of steel rails that ran the length of the chassis, passing beneath the live rear axle and below the front lower wishbones. The alloy and steel body was supported by brackets extending outward from the main rails. The engine was the old Austin 90 long-stroke four of 2660cc, developing 90bhp at 4000rpm and 144 foot-pounds of torque at 2000rpm. Griffith Borgeson would write, "Such high torque at low engine speed is one of the competition assets of the Austin-Healey. Another is its durability..." The gear box was a three-speed manual unit with floor shift, enhanced by a Laycock de Normanville overdrive on second and third gears. In high overdrive, top speed is about 110mph. An endearing feature of the Austin-Healey is its lay-down windscreen, which adds greatly to its dashing, streamlined look, and not coincidentally, to its top speed. The BN1 proved to be an able competitor; in fact, prior to the advent of the lightweight 'S' spec cars the standard was carried by the early BN1 variant - albeit in sometimes modified form. Early outings included Lyon-Charbonnieres Rally, Mille Miglia and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Built on the 9th February, 1955, this original righthand drive car was delivered new to Melbourne, Australia but found its way to New Zealand in 1961. Correspondence in the large history file includes original New Zealand Certificate of Registration from 1961 where it was registered to James McKinlay of The Trentham Hotel, Wellington. In 1978, the car passed to John Whiting and in quick succession to Ashley Thomas and John Milligan by 1981. During this time, a comprehensive restoration started in 1980 and completed in 1990 with a photographic record accompany the work carried out. A detailed report covers the main points of restoration which included a complete engine rebuild, new gears and all new clutch components along with the dismantling and serviced overdrive, radiator re-cored, carburettors reconditioned while the body was sandblasted to bare metal and the interior re-trimmed in Connolly leather.
The car was on the road in New Zealand for approximately nine years before it returned to the UK where it was first registered on the 1st April, 1999. It is currently with its 3rd UK keeper who purchased the car in July, 2015 where it has been part of his collection of significant motor cars. The large file contains a plethora of bills from the 1980s covering the restoration and through to more recent times where routine maintenance has been carried out. In 2014, the car was with Murray Scott-Nelson where the gearbox was removed and stripped for assessment by Hardy Engineering and reassembled along with other sundry items the bill totalled some £2,532. A British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate and a current MoT test certificate valid until June accompanies the car. A superb 100-4 in every respect with a large and detail file making this a highly collectible example.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.