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Lot 087: Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Launched at the 1952 London Motor Show, the Healey 100 sports car 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 Austin's Longbridge factory. The car was immediately renamed the Austin-Healey 100 and was finished alongside the A90 at Longbridge based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich.

The first 100s (series BN1) were equipped with the same 2,660cc four-cylinder engines 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. These were built from May 1953 but were replaced by the BN2 model 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.

First registered in February 1955, this BN1 was first owned by Fron Purslow Motor Cycles of Shrewsbury and is believed to have been fitted from new with a 'Le Mans modification kit'  effectively an uprated air-box and carburettors, high compression pistons and strengthened valve springs which reputedly upped the power from 90bhp to 110bhp. From 1961 to 1972 the car was owned by Mobil Oil of Ellesmere Port and there are many bills from this period showing regular maintenance.

By 1990 ownership had transferred to Eric Perry of the Isle of Wight who was to have the car fully restored and continually improved during the 15 years that he kept it. The history file from this period is too extensive to detail in full, but the highlights include a full body restoration by marque specialists JME in 1991 which included new aluminium front and rear wings and a new aluminium boot lid. JME also fully retrimmed the interior in 1993, at which point the car is described as being in 'concours' condition.

The bodywork was restored again and repainted in March 2003 and the engine fully rebuilt with new high-compression pistons in January 2004  this work being carried out by Orchard Restorations of East Sussex, who also carried out a host of other works to the car over a period of several years to maintain it in tip-top condition.

The current vendor acquired the car in 2005 and has himself totally stripped, examined and rebuilt the engine in order to cure an oil leak. A rear crank seal conversion was fitted and new valves and timing chain were fitted at the same time and the dynamo rebuilt. The car has only covered some 600 miles since this work was completed and it is said to drive superbly.

The car comes with a very large amount of history virtually from new, including the original buff log book, many bills from 1961 to the present, a Heritage Certificate confirming that it still retains its original engine, registration number and colour scheme, plus all old MOTs back to 1987 when it had 20,700 miles on the clock (now 54,000).

With an MOT until September and taxed until November, the car is in superb condition throughout and is being offered here at a fraction of the costs lavished on it to date.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number087
Estimate£30000-£?
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£30000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1955
Condition rating0
Registration numberMSF 719
Mileage-
Chassis numberBN1222872
Engine number1B222872
Engine capacity (cc)2660
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors