The Austin-Healey car brand was born in 1952 as a result of the collaboration between BMC and Donald Healey. In the same year, the British Motor Company was also born because of the merger of Austin and Morris. Austin and Donald Healey wanted to offer a British sports car especially for the North American sports car market. Donald Healey had won the Monte Carlo rally in Invicta in 1931 and made a name for himself as the designer of Triumph and Riley sports cars. After the Second World War, he had established his own car factory, where cars were produced for Tickford and Duncan, for example. So the conditions for designing a successful sports car were already there.
In 1952, the first sports car designed by Austin and Healey was presented at the London Motor Show. Donald Healey’s son Geoffrey Healey and Barrie Bilbie were especially responsible for the developing of the new sports car. Gerry Coker helped with the design. The engine was an Austin straight four with two carburetors that pushed the sports car to a top speed of 100 mph. The car was initially named Healey Hundred, which was soon updated to Austin-Healey 100. The car was constantly developed and its power readings and driving characteristics improved.
In 1953, Donald Healey and Roger Menadue decided to build a BN-1 series Austin-Healey 100 race car for that year’s Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The prototype models were followed by a highly tuned batch of 640 Austin-Healey 100 M models, and later a batch of around 500 Le Mans tuning kits offered to Healey dealers, which they fitted to the new Healey 100 BN1 and BN2 models.
This Austin-Healey 100 in question was manufactured in 1953 and was sold new in the United States. The US title from Sandwich IL, is preserved. The car was bought to Finland in project condition by Grips Garage, which specializes in the repair and restoration of British cars, in November 2014. The current owner of the car bought the car as a project and wanted Grips Garage to do a complete restoration of the car in the spirit of a Le Mans racer.
At Grips Garage, the Healey was taken to parts and the car was restored and completely rebuilt. The Austin-Healey was stripped down and the body was built into a 100% aluminum body, including hand-made door frames. The chassis was restored. In spirit of the Le Mans racing car, the hood is cooled and locked with a leather strap. The body’s chrome moldings and bumpers were completely renewed. The aluminum petrol tank is filled from the Monza filling cap.
In August 1954, on the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah, an Austin-Healey factory racer broke the world record for Class D racing cars by driving for 24 hours at an average speed of 132.81 miles per hour. Commanded by Donald Healey, George Eysston, Carrol Shelby, Mort Goodall and Roy Jackson-Moore, the car was painted in a pastel green metallic shade. With rebuilt and restoration, It was decided to paint this car in the same shade.
The original block of the car’s engine has been machined and the engine assembled with the best possible parts, keeping in mind high peak power and still the usability of the car suitable for normal traffic use. The engine has a forged crankshaft, forged rocker arms and forged pistons designed for a highly tuned engine. The cylinder head is an aluminum Fast Road made by Denis Welch and the camshaft is the Healey 100 S model. Petrol is dispensed by 1 3/4″ “Le Mans” SU carburetors. The car has CSI electronic ignition, a Dynator alternator and a modern power start. The engine has an aluminum oil sump and an oil condenser. The exhaust sounds of the tuned engine are played by the “big bore” exhaust.
The car’s gearbox is a completely new 5-speed. Both prop-shaft and drive shafts are new and strengthened. The car’s steering is really precise and accurate, steering gear box is renewed.
The car’s brakes and the entire suspension were renewed. The car has disc brakes both in front and rear. All the chassis and arms bushings, bearings and joints have also been renewed and the car has been assembled with new bolts and nuts.
The interior has been completely rebuilt with dark green tones of leather and cloth and finished with a wood-rimmed Motolita steering wheel. The original gauges have been restored. The Healey runs with new 72-spoke chrome surface rims from Vredestain – classic tires.
After the completion of the restoration, the car has only been driven for a test drive of about 500 kilometers and the car is like new. Assembled with new parts, bolts and nuts, the car is really impressive as a whole, the restoration and built in a racing spirit, the end result is concours level and the car can withstand close inspection.
The engine and transmission works perfectly and the car is both really fast and great to drive.
Registered as a historic vehicle, Mot/Tüv inspection valid 10/2026.
The car is located in Vantaa, 25 minutes from Helsinki–Vantaa Airport. Views by appointment.
Worldwide shipping with generous rates.