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Austin-Healey 100

Austin-Healey 100 (United Kingdom, 1953-1959)

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Review


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Review

Donald Healey, a top rally driver before World War II, had been the technical director of Triumph and built his own line of Riley-powered sports cars after the war. Looking for a more modern design, he worked up a new car by using the powertrain from Austin’s A90 Atlantic, which was a baroque-looking convertible that was intended for American consumption but had received a disappointing reception. The new car’s engine was a 2,660-cubic centimeter four-overhead-valve unit that could produce 90 brake horsepower, and the transmission was a three-speed version of the Atlantic’s that was coupled with a Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Healey had negotiated the supply of components with Austin’s chairman, Leonard Lord. When the car, badged as the Healey Hundred, appeared at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show, Lord was so taken with it that the two men immediately struck a deal for Austin to produce it. The first cars, re-named Austin-Healey 100, appeared the following spring.

In 1955, a new BN2 version of the Austin-Healey, which had a four-speed transmission, was introduced. At the same time that the BN2 was introduced, a new model, which was based on the BN2 and named the 100M, was also introduced. It featured larger carburetors, a high-lift cam, and a higher 8.1:1 compression. Stiffer front suspension was fitted, with hood louvers and a leather strap completing its bona fides. The engine mods, with the exception of the high-compression pistons, could be dealer-installed as the Le Mans kit, or it was also available at the parts counter for owner application. The factory-installed Le Mans package raised the 100’s 90 brake horsepower to an impressive 110.


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Austin-Healey


Austin-Healy was born out of an agreement established in 1952 between Austin’s chairman Leonard Lord and a prominent engineer and designer in the automotive industry named Donald Healey. Lord and Healey signed a 20-year long contract that resulted on the Austin-Healey brand. Donald Healey, however, would end up leaving the company before the expiry date, in 1968, in order to join another British car producer, Jensen Motors.   Austin-Healey stopped m...  more

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