Healey was well aware that he needed a car that could be built in larger numbers and sold at a lower price in the rapidly emerging sports car market in the new world. MG and Jaguar were selling the bulk of their production to North America and Triumph was readying the TR2. Using the four-cylinder 2.6 litre Austin A-90 engine and transmission, as well as other components from the parts bin of newly-formed BMC (a merger of the Austin and Nuffield/Morris companies), Healey produced a sleek and beautiful prototype styled by Gerry Coker. Healey showed his “Healey Hundred” at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show in the UK and caught the eye of BMC supreme Leonard Lord.
Healey’s timing was perfect. Lord selected his car over a new MG prototype, thus delaying the replacement of the old-fashioned MG TD, which was also in the BMC family. When it went on sale in 1953, the beautiful Austin-Healey 100 cost less than $3,000 in the United States and would top 100mph. Those first cars, designated BN1, used the 90bhp Austin engine, a three-speed transmission with overdrive and were happily received in the United States, which took most of the 10,688 cars produced.
The M specification included a louvered bonnet and leather strap, a cold air box, larger 1 ¾” carburettors, higher profile camshaft, stronger valve springs, steel-faced competition head gasket, larger anti-roll bar, front disc brakes and a free-flow exhaust manifold which gave higher compression using special pistons. A special distributor was also used, improving the advance curve, and when combined with all the other upgrades boosted the standard cars performance from 90 to 110bhp, which took top speed to nearly 120mph.
This lovely BN1 was originally delivered to the US in 1953 and has more recently returned to the UK in 1993. Acquired by the current vendor in the early 2000s the Healey was treated to an extensive restoration between 2006 and 2010 using cellulose paint where it was colour changed and presented in two tone old English white and Colorado red. Included in the history file are photos of the restoration process as well bills and receipts of work carried out amounting to a figure of around £18,000 as well as many previous Mot test certificates. Also included in the sale are front and rear chrome bumpers, fittings, and a wet weather hood. Having been in single ownership for the past fifteen years and presented in good all-round condition the Healey both looks and drives fantastically.