In 1951, when the established range of Healey cars was selling steadily but out of the price range of most enthusiasts, Donald Healey realised there was a market for a relatively low-priced but high performance sports car. A readily available, reliable and tuneable engine was required and BMC agreed to supply the 2,660cc four cylinder unit from its Austin A90 model, together with Austin’s three-speed with overdrive gearbox.
For the chassis of the new car Healey and his son Geoffrey designed a simple but torsionally strong ladder frame using the A90’s independent coil spring/wishbone front suspension and a leaf-sprung rear axle located by Panhard rod, with drum brakes all round. Finally, an attractive, open two seater body was penned by Gerry Coker, the final rendition of which incorporated some last minute changes by Donald Healey himself.
The result, launched to a surprised public at the 1952 London Motor Show, caused a sensation and met with immediate approval from press and enthusiasts alike. It looked superb with performance to match; producing 94bhp at 4,000rpm, it could achieve 111mph with the windscreen folded flat and 0-60mph acceleration in 10.3 seconds.
Called simply the Healey 100, the new car also caught the attention of BMC supremo Leonard Lord who at once struck an agreement with Healey to market the car as the Austin Healey 100. Production began in May 1953 and it wasn’t long before the model was selling like hot cakes and featuring strongly in production racing on both sides of the Atlantic.
This early 100/4 went through a comprehensive body-off restoration during 2017 – 2018, including a rebuild of the matching numbers four cylinder 2660cc engine. In conjunction with the 3 speed (with overdrive) gearbox, we understand the car drives very nicely indeed. Finished in Ice Blue over Old English White, and with a lovely Dark Blue leather interior and chromed wire wheels, this is a wonderful looking and driving classic car for the enthusiast and collector.