The Austin Healey 100 of 1952 was the first of several iconic machines born of a fruitful relationship between engineer/entrepreneur Donald Healey and the Chairman of Austin, Leonard Lord. Austin was looking to save face after the failed A90 Atlantic failed to make a splash in the USA, and Donald Healey was running out of Riley engines for his low-production sports cars and saloons. The timing of the Austin Healey’s arrival couldn’t have been better, as the American market was rapidly developing an insatiable appetite for sports cars. The MG T-series was affordable but rudimentary, while the Jaguar XK120 was fast, exotic, and expensive. Buyers who wanted more performance than an MG offered but couldn’t stretch to the Jaguar found the Austin Healey 100 to be the ideal fit. With their beautiful, quick, and practical 100, Healey and Lord had a hit in the making.
In the quest for more power, the 100-6 superseded the four-cylinder 100 in 1956, thanks to engineers shoehorning in BMC’s 2.6-litre C-Series inline-six borrowed from the full-size Austin Westminster saloon. The 100-6 retained the bare-bones, all-business character that endeared so many buyers to the 100-4, but it now had a substantial boost in horsepower and torque, affording the “Big Healey” the ability to nip at the heels of a Jaguar XK. The 100-6 remained in production until 1959, when the series was renamed ‘3000’, denoting the bump in displacement to a full three litres.
This 1959 100-6 roadster is a prime example of the Big Healey at its best. This two-seat BN6 is offered in its original colors of red over black body sides and features desirable factory options, including wire wheels, heater, and Laycock overdrive. It is the subject of a well-detailed restoration that has been nicely maintained through the years and presents in excellent order throughout, with attractive paintwork and detailing. The body is crisp and defined with consistent panel fit, and details like the chrome wire wheels and large Lucas driving lamps give it a purposeful yet period-correct look.
The cockpit has been restored to an equally high standard, with black leather bucket seats accented in red piping. The seats are in fine order, with taut, supple leather displaying an appealing character from light use. Black carpets are tidy and properly fitted, and period-correct Austin-Healey molded-rubber floor mats protect the rugs. Smiths instruments and Lucas switchgear are accurate to original specs, and the classic three-spoke banjo wheel is wrapped in leather. Additional details include the correct vinyl spare wheel cover behind the seats, an authentic vinyl top, and a set of side curtains in a matching protective bag.
Per the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, this 100-6 retains its original, numbers matching engine. The 2.6-litre inline-six is finished in the signature Healey green and detailed to factory standards with proper hose clamps, wiring loom, and hardware. A few minor blemishes on the engine reflect the car’s drivable, road-ready nature.
With the perfect balance of style and grunt, the Austin Healey 100-6 is quite possibly the quintessential British roadster, a svelte and sexy two-seater with gutsy, blue-collar horsepower. This well-sorted and appealing example is sure to delight its next custodian, as it is well suited to various uses, from casual shows to weekend touring adventures.
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