Donald Healey was having a successful bid at the booming sports car market in early post-war Britain. Starting in the late 40’s, Healey had moderate success building a variety of high quality high-performance automobiles. His Healey Elliot was briefly the fastest closed production car in the world thanks to a streamlined body and a strong 2.3 Liter Riley power plant. But Healey saw his supplies of Riley engines drying up and hoped to mass produce a new car that was simpler and more accessible to the growing audience of budding sports car enthusiasts at home and abroad. For the 1952 London Motor show Donald Healey brought a single prototype called the Healey Hundred, based on Austin A90 mechanicals. Healey’s goal was to impress Austin bosses enough to embrace his project and thankfully, the gamble paid off. Austin loved the idea of a proper sports car to boost their image and a deal was soon struck to assemble the Austin-Healey 100-4 alongside the A90 at the famed Longbridge plant. Austin-Healey bodies were actually built by Jensen and delivered to Longbridge painted and fully trimmed, just needing mechanicals and final assembly.
The first series Healey was an instant hit, the sleek body and bold, kite-shaped grille were thoroughly modern and attractive. The BN1 was built from 1953 to mid-1955 and is most readily identified by smaller front wheelarches and a 3-speed gearbox. In August of 1955, the revised BN2 appeared – gaining a much needed 4-speed gearbox with overdrive on the top two gears. Healey 100s lived up to their name and were capable of 100mph performance and proved very successful at the hands of amateur racers worldwide.
This lovely 1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN2 has been nicely restored to very fine show-driver condition. Brilliant red paint is glossy and straight and is contrasted by a lovely black leather interior piped in red. Pleasing details include a badge bar, luggage rack, Lucas driving lamps, headlamp stone guards, high-quality chrome wire wheels, handsome Moto-Lita steering wheel and of course, that signature 100-4 lay-down windscreen. Under the bonnet, the engine is nicely detailed but not overdone and all the correct details are present. Being a BN2, it is fitted with the all-important 4-speed gearbox with overdrive, the best combination for an early Austin-Healey. A correct black vinyl top is in great condition and the matching side curtains and tonneau cover are included. This is a car that has clearly been restored to be enjoyed. It is straight, solid, tidy and honest. It’s the perfect car to be driven to your local show, then driven home, enjoying the torquey pull and throaty exhaust note that helped make the Austin-Healey 100-4 a legend.