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For Sale: 1953 Austin-Healey 100-4 in Bellingham, Washington

Vehicle Description

Here is a unique opportunity for the discerning collector/enthusiast that is conversant with Healey history. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a professionally restored example of a rare early Warwick modified competition Austin Healey. This car cannot be duplicated! It is car #93 and the last of the 1953 BN-1s manufactured. It is also one of the first to be modified for competition at the Healey works in Warwick. It has the many features you read about but never see. In addition to the competition modifications the car surprisingly has pre-production features such as a radiator with a crank hole and dual mounting holes for the steering box and the notorious door sills [now replaced but included] mentioned by Geoffrey Healey. They were a shortcut by Jensen that he made them correct early on in production. As one of the earliest examples of a Warwick modified car it qualifies as a predecessor of the much admired “M” series cars that were not to come along until two years later and now demand premium prices. It is a highly desirable, early factory-built example of a competition Healey, documented by both a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate as well as the Austin Healey 100M Le Mans Registry. This is a matching-numbers car and photographic documentation of the matching body numbers found on the cockpit trim and bonnet are included in the photo array.  In addition images of the hand engraved numbers on the carburetor bodies are included as well as the various number plates and many other items. The car retains its original matching-numbers engine, as verified by the BMIHT Certificate.

As a short history lesson for those not acquainted with all the particulars I will include here a few pertinent facts that validate the claim of being a predecessor to the later “M” models. Please note this is not a claim that it is an “M”. The “M” models were built August 1955-August 1956 and were intended to create showroom interest in the USA due to lagging sales and to bridge the time gap until the six cylinder cars were introduced. They were not ordered to be modified by a buyer but were built on spec.  Pre-dating them were cars that were ordered to be modified at Warwick when purchased. It is those cars that were the forerunners that the “M”s are based on. Many feel that the earlier cars are more important than the “M”s historically, opinions vary. It is the difficulty of documenting the time and place of modification that is a problem, and rightly so. In this instance we feel the array of item not otherwise available date the time and place of the modifications on this car. We believe that an unbiased and open minded examination of the facts will reveal the truth behind this cars origins. We are ready to present our case in more detail if necessary to interested parties upon request and will answer all pertinent questions but for now I will provide the following information that are backed up by the photos.

 

According to Bill Piggott’s book “Austin-Healey100 in Detail” page 105, the important items to look for that identifies a 100 M model are the following. This car has them all.  A rare Lucas racing distributor 40422A, this one is dated Jan.1953, that’s over two and a half years before the “M” model were built. It has the 1 ¾" S.U. AUC 6040X carburetors with the etched numbers 6047 or 6053 on them. Perhaps because of it being one of the first to be done the person doing the number 6053 did 6057 by mistake and had to correct his error. The inlet manifolds are numbered 1B 2893 and 1B 2894 and of course it has the cold air box. Additional items over and beyond the normal “M” modifications are that the brake backing plates are drilled for cooling and the flywheel was turned down from 42 lbs.to 28 lbs. Pictures of all these items are . The lack of high compression pistons and a high lift cam date the mods as pre-dating them being available. The pistons were developed in the autumn of 1953. As serious as this cars modifications are it is unlikely they would not of been included if they had been available. This car is obviously an early example of what the Healeys were doing in the very beginning of BN-1 production and shows the type and extent of those very first competition modifications.

This nearly rust free car was purchased in 1995 and carefully disassembled and media blasted before being meticulously rebuilt from the ground up. This included professionally re-building the engine, transmission and o/d, brakes, suspension, instruments etc. All work was done with the intent of retaining originality whenever and wherever possible. Care was taken to not over restore it. This car is in excellent overall condition and has been enjoyed, not stored. It has been driven sparingly but regularly since completion with no issues and is ready to enjoy. I use ethanol free gas and Collector's Choice motor oil. All gauges were rebuilt by Nisonger except the gas gauge which has now decided to quit. New sender did not help. Needed to go to Nisonger with the others I guess. My bad, but an easy fix. The dash lights are ready to hook up to the new wiring harness; I just never got around to doing it because I never drove at night. It should be simple to do if you are supple enough to get under dash which I am not anymore.

While all the original numbers matching bodywork, rust free but unrestored, comes with the car it currently has custom bodywork that demonstrates the beauty of the original Coker design and puts onlookers on notice that this is more than just another Healey. The current iteration incorporates the frontal aspect that was Mr. Healey's first choice for production and it is replicated here for the first time. During the early design stage we were fortunate in receiving gracious input from Gerry Coker, the original designer, to ensure we did it correctly. Images of some of Mr. Coker’s emails are include .

The decision to re-body the car was made with the intent to incorporate as many historical correct features into the design as possible. This indicates to observers the unique niche the car rightly occupies mechanically in Healey history that would otherwise go un-noticed as they are naturally out of sight. The intent was that it’s distinctive appearance should emphasize the underlying uniqueness without compromising the Healey style that is so admired worldwide. All the resulting bodywork is to a very high standard. It was produced by an individual with fifty years of experience in his craft, many of those years in aircraft composite design and manufacturing. The primary goal was to recreate the frontal aspect that was changed during the prototype build at Tickford. This car shows the design that Donald Healey originally approved for production and demonstrates what he intended the BN-1 to look like. It is the only example ever built to those specifications. Donald’s disapproval of the final familiar production design is well documented. We consider this car a fitting tribute to Gerry Coker’s unquestionably unique talents!

 As our build progressed other items were addressed to correct areas that were deemed to be less than satisfactory and strayed from the original concept due to production short cuts or design faults. One area that was thought worth addressing was the fenders. The lack of ground clearance has always a problem with these cars due to the underslung frame design that is not Gerry’s fault. Many cars have been raised up over the years but the resulting gap between tire and fender is an unfortunate consequence that disrupts that low slung ground hugging stance of the original car. We re-designed the new fenders to close the gap but still keep the extra room under the muffler by raising the car to the extent possible. The fenders were also extended so they now match the headlight rims correctly. The original car had much longer fenders but they were shortened before production started and somehow this caused a mismatch. Again not Gerry’s fault. We also chose to replicate the windshield configuration Dr. George Verrilli used in the1955 and 1956 Mille Miglia. It was deemed a historically allowable modification that allows one to drive with a lower windshield without goggles. Pictures of Dr. Verrilli’s car are included below. Finally a lightweight removable hardtop with enough headroom for a 6'2" driver was designed that matches the new windshield and complements the overall appearance of the car with a window outline that replicates a Coker design.

All the bodywork is bolt on exchange pieces and the original numbers matching bodywork and ancillary parts like the original bumpers, wire wheels, gear shift knob with o/d switch etc. are included should any future owner want to restore the car to its as built condition should future market values dictate doing so although it would seem a shame to lose its unique appearance. No modifications were made to the original car so restoration should be straight forward if desired. For now it is a great attention getter and makes a great show piece with many historical features to discuss with those interested in Healey history.

The car is readily available for inspection by appointment.  It is located in Bellingham, Washington in the northwest corner of the USA about 90 minutes north of Seattle. The car can be shipped as soon as funds clear but depending on buyers choices the many additional items like the original un-restored bodywork, all the molds, nine in all, great for making a replacement part if heaven forbid the need arises. Then there are the bumpers, top bows etc. These will all need to be crated for shipping depending on destination etc. This will take a bit of time but is not a big deal; the original bodywork goes into the molds which then protects them. Everything will probably fit in a 4’x4’6”x6’ crate. Just keep this in mind if you want everything to go at once. The buyer is responsible for arranging and paying for the crating and all shipping cost of the car and the parts.

I will assist if and when I can to facilitate matters.Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you for your interest.

Vehicle Details

  • Listing ID:CC-1244934
  • Price:$265,000
  • Location:Bellingham, Washington
  • Year:1953
  • Make:Austin-Healey
  • Model:100-4
  • Exterior Color:Green
  • Interior Color:Tan
  • Engine Size:Inline 4
  • Odometer:2146
  • Exterior Condition:Excellent
  • Seat Material:Leather
  • Bucket Seats:Yes
  • Engine Condition:Running
  • Drive Train:Rear-wheel drive

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