The Salon Privé Sale 2017

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1955 Austin Healey 100/4

Lot No.: 233

Registration: UKT700
Chassis Number: BN224861
Engine Number: 1B227579M
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 2.6
Year of Manufacture: 1955
RHD/LHD: Right Hand Drive
Sold for (£): Unsold

Donald Healey's eponymous company built a prototype two-seater sports car for display at the 1952 London Motor Show based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanicals and sporting a beautifully sleek body designed by Gerry Coker and formed by Tickford. It was dubbed the 'Healey Hundred' and, subject to a suitably encouraging response, Healey planned to build production versions in-house at his Warwick factory. As things transpired, the Ice Blue prototype so excited Austin's Managing Director, Leonard Lord, that he struck a deal to build the car in volume at Longbridge. It was just as well that he did, for Healey would take over 3,000 orders during the Show yet his company had never made more than 200 cars in a single year! The newcomer was renamed the Austin-Healey 100/4 and the rest is history.

Known internally as the BN1, the 100/4's chassis was a departure from the company's previous backbone designs and comprised a pair of three-inch square box-section side members. The car had 11in drum brakes all round, while the front suspension was independent by coil springs and the rear featured a traditional 'live' axle supported by semi-elliptic leaf springs. A 1953 BN1 tested by Motor returned a top speed of 106mph and achieved 0-60mph in 11.2 seconds, pretty decent 65 years ago. A total of 10,688 BN1s were produced between January 1953 and 1955.

UKT 700 left Jensen's West Bromwich works in late April 1955 and subsequently, fully assembled, rolled out of  Austin's Longbridge factory a couple of weeks later on the 11th of May headed in the direction of Bromley Motors Works Ltd in London. The car was originally Spruce Green but was subject to a fully detailed and photographic restoration some years ago and we believe it was painted Reno Red at that point. In spite of the age of the restoration works, one would be forgiven for thinking that it was completed in more recent times, such is the level of quality. The paintwork still looks fresh with a deep and even shine and the shut lines look factory tight. The black leather seating is gently patinated and the black carpets are edged in red leather. The bonnet is louvred alloy, 100M style, and when combined with the excellent weather equipment and new wire wheels the whole car looks 'just right'. Patently well looked after, it has enjoyed a lot of success in recent years at car club events and local Concours. More recently the cylinder head has been rebuilt by Sigma Engineering. UKT 700 is accompanied by its Heritage Certificate confirming dates etc and matching numbers.