AUSTIN HEALEY 100
The Austin-Healey 100 is a sports car built from 1953 until 1956.
It was developed by Donald Healey to be produced in-house by Healey's small car company in Warwick and based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanicals. Healey built a single Healey Hundred for the 1952 London Motor Show, and the design impressed Leonard Lord, Managing Director of Austin so much, he was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90, that a deal was struck with Healey to build it in quantity at Austin's Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100.
The "100" name comes from Donald Healey, who selected the name from the car's ability to reach 100 mph (160 km/h), as opposed to the Austin-Healey 3000, which is named for its 3000 cc engine.
Production Austin-Healey 100s were finished at Austin's Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich - in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports.
The 100 was the first of three models later called the Big Healeys to distinguish them from the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite. The Big Healeys are often referred to by their three-character model designators rather than by their models, as the model names do not reflect the mechanical differences and similarities well.
The first 100s (series "BN1") were equipped with the same 90 bhp (67 kW) engines and manual transmission as the stock A90, but the transmission was modified to be a three-speed unit with overdrive on second and top. The 2660 cc I4 engine featured an undersquare 87.3 mm (3.4 in) bore and 111.1 mm (4.4 in) stroke.
Girling 11 in (279.4 mm) drum brakes are fitted all round. Front suspension is independent using coil springs and at the rear is a rigid axle with semi elliptic leaf springs. The steering is by a cam and lever system.
A BN1 tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 106 mph (171 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.5 miles per imperial gallon (12.6 L/100 km; 18.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1063 including taxes.
A total of 10030 BN1s were built from May 1953 until replaced by the BN2 model in August 1955.
The BN2 was fitted with a real 4-speed manual transmission, still with overdrive on the top 2 gears. Other features that distinguish the BN2 from the BN1 are the slightly larger front wheel arches, different rear axle and being the first 100 with optional two-tone paint.
The colour alternatives available to the 100 were: Reno Red, Spruce Green, Healey Blue, Florida Green, Old English White, Black, and approximately 50 Gunmetal Grey cars.
The BN2 two-tone colours were: White/Black; Reno Red/Black; Healey Blue/White; Black/Reno Red; and Florida Green/White.
In 1955, a 100M model was developed as well, with larger carburettors, a cold air box to increase air flow to the carburettors, high-lift camshaft and 8.1:1 compression pistons. It produced 110 bhp (82 kW) at 4500 rpm. The front suspension was stiffened and the bonnet gained louvres, along with a bonnet belt.
Most (approximately 70%) of the cars were finished with a two-tone paint scheme including two cars finished in unique colour schemes: one White over Red and the other (for display at the 1955 London Motor Show) in Black over Pink.
There were 640 factory built 100Ms—all BN2 series cars.
The 100M components (except for the high compression pistons) were also available as the Le Mans Engine Modification Kit which could be installed in either a BN1 or BN2 with the engine in situ, improving the power output to approximately 100 bhp (75 kW) at 4500 rpm. The Le Mans kit and its component parts could be ordered from BMC, so cars were modified by Austin dealers and private owners.
The final BN2 was built in July 1956 with a total of 4604 BN2s produced, including the 100M.
AUSTIN HEALEY 100S
Built primarily with racing in mind, the aluminium-bodied "100S" (for Sebring) model developed 132 bhp (98 kW) at 4700 rpm. Only 50 production cars were made, plus an additional five works development/special test cars which were hand built by the Donald Healey Motor Company at Warwick.
The cast iron cylinder head was replaced by one made from aluminium and the overdrive unit was not fitted to the gearbox. Dunlop disc brakes were fitted front and rear. To keep weight to a minimum, there were no bumpers or hood (convertible top), a smaller grille and the windscreen was plastic. The 100S was also the first production car in the world to sport disc brakes at both the front and rear.
The car was approximately 200 lb (91 kg) lighter than standard. The majority of all 100S were two-toned White with Lobelia Blue sides. However, a handful of cars where produced in other colours including Spruce Green, red and one single black 100S.
An unrestored works racing team 1953 Austin-Healey '100' Special Test Car, which was campaigned in period by racing drivers Lance Macklin, Gordon Wilkins and Marcel Becquart, sold for a world record £843,000 ($1,323,915) plus buyers premium of £120,000 on December 1, 2011, at Bonhams' December Sale.
This car was involved in the 1955 Le Mans disaster, motor racing's most lethal crash—where 84 people died and 120 were injured.
The Austin-Healey 100-6 was the second of the three Austin-Healey models later known as the Big Healeys.
In 1956, a major redesign saw the wheelbase lengthened, redesigned bodywork with a fixed windshield and two occasional seats added (which in 1958 became an option with the introduction of the two-seat BN6 which was produced in parallel with the 2+2 BN4), and the powertrain completely replaced by one based on the six-cylinder BMC C-Series engine.
It featured a 2 in (50.8 mm) longer wheelbase than the original Austin-Healey 100 and a six-cylinder engine replacing the slightly larger capacity four, and added two occasional seats which later became optional. The body lines were changed to a less rounded appearance, with a wider, lower radiator grille below the air scoop which was added to the bonnet, and a windscreen which was fixed and could no longer be folded down.
There were two model designators, the 2+2 BN4 produced from 1956 onwards and the 2-seat BN6 produced from 1958.
The cars used a tuned version of the BMC C-Series engine previously fitted to the Austin Westminster and which at first produced 102 bhp (76 kW) increasing to 117 bhp (87 kW) in 1957 by fitting a revised manifold and cylinder head. The overdrive unit became an option rather than a standard fitting.
A 117 bhp (87 kW) BN6 was tested by The Motor magazine in 1959 had a top speed of 103.9 mph (167.2 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.8 miles per imperial gallon (13.6 L/100 km; 17.3 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1307 including taxes of £436.
The Austin-Healey 3000 was introduced in 1959, replacing the Austin-Healey 100-6. Despite the name change, the changes were relatively minor compared to those between the original 100 and the 100-6. The wheelbase and body remained unchanged, and there remained two models, a 2+2 and a two-seater.
3000 Mark I
The original Austin Healey 3000 has a 2912 cc I6 engine, with twin SU carburettors and Girling front disc brakes. It was only referred to as the Mark I after the Mark II was released, previously only being known as the 3000. Wire wheels, overdrive gearbox, a laminated windscreen, a heater, an adjustable steering column, a detachable hard top and two tone paint were all available as options.
The original 3000 was built from March 1959 to March 1961 and has model designation BT7 Mark I (4-seat version) and BN7 Mark I (2-seater).
13,650 were made (2,825 BN7 Mark I, and 10,825 BT7 Mark I).
A BT7 3000 with hardtop and overdrive tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.6 miles per imperial gallon (13.1 L/100 km; 18.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1326 including taxes.
3000 Mark II
Introduced in March 1961, the 3000 Mark II came with three SU HS4 carburettors and an improved camshaft, designated the BT7 Mark II (4-seat version) and BN7 Mark II (2-seat version). However, upon the introduction of the BJ7 (2+2 seats) model in January 1962, the number of carburettors was reduced to two, (SU type HS6) because of the problems experienced with balancing three carburettors.
As a result of the introduction of the BJ7, the BN7 Mark II was discontinued in March 1962, and the BT7 Mark II followed in June 1962. Externally, the main changes introduced with the BJ7 were a vertical barred front grille, wind-up windows rather than side curtains, an improved hood, and a wrap-around windscreen. Optional extras were similar to the Mark I, although the option of a factory hardtop was not available from the BJ7's introduction.
From August 1961 a brake servo was also available as an optional extra, which greatly improved braking performance. The BJ7 was discontinued in October 1963 with the introduction of the 3000 Mark III.
A 3000 Mark II BT7 with hardtop and overdrive tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961 had a top speed of 112.9 mph (181.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.9 seconds. A fuel consumption of 23.5 miles per imperial gallon (12.0 L/100 km; 19.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1362 including taxes.
11,564 were made (355 BN7 Mark II, 5,096 BT7 Mark II, and 6,113 BJ7).
3000 Mark III
The 3000 Mark III was launched in October 1963, and remained in production until the end of 1967 when production of Austin-Healeys ceased. (One further car was built in March 1968.)
Classified as the BJ8, the new model was the most powerful and luxurious of the big Healeys, with a walnut-veneer dash, wind-up windows, and a 150 hp (112 kW) engine. Improvements to the engine included a new camshaft and valve springs, and twin SU 2" HD8 carburettors, together with a new design of exhaust system. Servo-assisted brakes were now fitted as standard.
Only 2+2 seat versions were made.
Optional extras were similar to those offered for the Mark II, the main change being that the standard interior trim was now Ambla vinyl, with leather seats being added to the list of options.
In May 1964 the Phase II version of the Mark III was released, which had a modified rear chassis to allow rear ground clearance to be increased, and subsequently, in March 1965 the car also gained separate indicators.
17,712 were made.
Austin Healey 3000's have a long competition history, and raced at most major racing circuits around the world, including Sebring (USA), Le Mans (France), and Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst (Australia).
The BMC competitions department successfully rallied the 3000 from its introduction, but the development of the works cars effectively ended in 1965, mainly because of the success of the Mini Cooper 'S'.