1955 Austin-Healey 100
- Year of manufacture1955
- Chassis numberAHS 3702
- Lot number11
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourOther
- Fuel typePetrol
'RWD 132' - The ex-John Dalton, Arthur Carter
1955 Austin-Healey 100S Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Registration no. RWD 132
Chassis no. AHS 3702
During the 1950s the most accessible, most appealing and in many cases the most successful club racing car available to any aspiring racing driver was one of the products of the Donald Healey Motor Company's famous factory at The Cape, Warwick.
This particularly appealing and in-period highly successful Austin-Healey 100S is a shining example of the type. It has an outstanding record as one of the most successful 100Ss of it's period competing in no fewer than 49 races on almost all UK circuits claiming 30 podium places including 14 outright wins. For 37 years it comprised part of the celebrated Norfolk connoisseur Arthur Carter's wonderful Austin-Healey collection. As a genuine 100S it is one of only 55 such Austin-Healeys ever produced during 1955, of which only 38 are believed to survive today...
During its initial motor racing exploits in 1955, first owner John Dalton entered it in events at Oulton Park, Alton Towers, Dovedale, Davidstowe and Silverstone before tackling the World Sports Car Championship-qualifying RAC Tourist Trophy classic at Dundrod in Ulster. The car finished first in four of its nine outings that season, second in another and was co-driven by its owner and the great Work's Driver Lance Macklin in the Dundrod TT .
Gentleman owner/driver John Dalton lived in Derbyshire and the regular club racing duels in which he featured in 'RWD 132' locked in combat with arch rival Ken Rudd's equally well-prepared AC-Bristol - enlivened many of the regular club race meetings in which they frequently did battle.
John Dalton had found his way into motor racing with a humble MG before acquiring George Phillips's famous special-bodied Le Mans TC. He would graduate from the Austin-Healey to an Aston Martin DB3S, his cars being prepared for him by his friend Alan 'The Colonel' Barton of the Burton Road garage and tuning establishment. John Dalton never aspired to become a professional racing driver, preferring the enjoyment of treating it all as an amateur sport, but in later years he would become co-sponsor of the advanced-technology Amon AF1 Formula 1 car designed and built for Chris Amon by Gordon Fowell in 1973-74.
Through 1956, John Dalton enjoyed his second season of competition in 'RWD 132', racing the car from March to October in no fewer than 16 events, which yielded seven further race wins, at Snetterton, Mallory Park, Aintree, Oulton Park and Silverstone, and which saw him win his class in the 1956 'Autosport' Sports Car Championship. Through 1957 John Dalton returned to the fray with 'RWD 132' offered here, his programme of 15 events that year yielding a lone race win at Mallory Park in August, but also second places at Silverstone (twice) and at Mallory Park and notable third places at Goodwood and in the demanding Snetterton 3-Hour race.
John Dalton finally sold this car to Scottish owner/driver W.A. 'Bill' Thompson in March 1958, and during this second ownership through 1958-59 he ran the car in Scottish events on the aerodrome circuits at Winfield and Charterhall, around the northern army-base courses at Stobs' Camp and Catterick, at Ouston aerodrome in the north-east of England and at Bo-ness hill-climb back over the border on Scottish territory, winning at Charterhall and at Bo'ness, and adding two second places at the Charterhall circuit.
Bill Thompson then sold the car in August, 1960, to the Dobson Brothers dealership in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and that December saw it acquired by John Mitchell of Huddersfield. He continued to campaign the car at minor club level, making eight appearances that season at Oulton Park, Rufforth, Mallory Park, Catterick (third), in the Burton's factory sprint at Leeds (second), the Ricall Sprint (which he won with Kaye) and third again at the Burton's factory. A second place at the Burton sprint and two thirds (at Catterick and Buxton) followed in 1962, and before year's end Mr Mitchell then sold 'RWD 132' to its fifth owner, Dr Richard Raynes.
He was more adventurous with the car than any of his immediate predecessors, racing it at Oulton Park but then taking it to Belgium for the Ardennes hill-climb in June, followed by the Coupes Benelux meeting at Zandvoort, Holland, that July in which he notched a good Continental victory.
Norman Tuckwell acquired the car in 1963, sprinting it to another class victory at Blackbushe aerodrome near Camberley on the Surrey/Hampshire border and racing it at 750 Motor Club level at Castle Combe in Wiltshire.
A long pause ensued in the car's yard-long competition record (as recorded within the extensive documentation file accompanying this Lot). Mr Tuckwell sold the car to trader Robbie Gordon in 1965, from whom it was acquired in partnership by James Boothby and David Vine. It was from them in July that year that 'RWD 132' was acquired by enthusiast Arthur Carter of King's Lynn, beginning his 37-year tenure which would endure until as recently as 2002, and which would include a public appearance in a Silverstone demonstration event, in July 1968.
In 2002 the car was acquired ex-Arthur Carter Collection by well-known Historic racer/preparer Jeremy Broad, and on September 5, 2004, the car competed in the Goodwood Revival Meeting driven by Guy Broad, returning the following year for the 2005 Revival. A letter in the extensive documentation file accompanying the car is from Dick Raynes to Jeremy Broad relating how "The car was bought on my behalf by an old friend, Peter Sutcliffe (D-Type, GT40 and Ferrari driver)...". In 2006 it passed to leading Historic racing driver and trader Frank Sytner and it was from him in 2007 that this very highly-regarded and extremely well-known Austin-Healey was acquired by the present vendor.
In the 2008 Le Mans Classic he drove it into eighth place overall within its race, and that September saw 'RWD 132' take third place in its class at Spa-Francorchamps, back in Belgium. Returning to Le Mans for the 2009 Legends event it finished 22nd overall and at the Le Mans Classic in 2010 it qualified second upon the starting grid and finished sixth overall. Fifth place followed at Le Mans in July 2012, and in the Goodwood Revival Meeting that September this Austin-Healey 100S finished third overall in the major Freddie March memorial Trophy race. A class win followed in the 2013 Geroge Abecassis Trophy race at Silverstone, and as recently as this past Spring 'RWD 132' offered here successfully completed the gruelling Italian Mille Miglia Retro event.
In its Goodwood Revival Meeting outings this Austin-Healey 100S has never been bettered by any sister Austin-Healey and has demonstrably proved itself to be "...an Aston Martin DB3S and even Jaguar C-Type eater...".
In its third place 'podium finish' at Goodwood last September it was beaten only by a Chrysler V8-engined Cunningham and by the renowned postwar Lagonda V12, both with significantly larger engines. This result clearly illustrates how delightfully nimble and superbly balanced these 100Ss are, with exquisite handling matched only by its braking capabilities.
As offered here, this important and most desirable Austin-Healey with its FIA Sports Car World Championship and International history in addition to its many British club-level successes - is surely one of the most actively and successfully campaigned of all the so highly-regarded and much-coveted 100S series.
It is offered in what the owner describes as race-ready condition, and is presented without roll-over bars and modern race seats, but with single (race) roll-over bar and double (Mille Miglia Retro) roll-over bar included within the Lot to be fitted as a new owner might require. The Lot also includes the car's race seats, a spare set of wheels with Avon tyres, and most importantly the engine and gearbox that was installed in the car when it was acquired. This spare power unit and gearbox was fully operational prior to it's complete rebuild in 2007/8 when the Denis Welch prepared new engine and gearbox were installed. The previous engine is substantially complete but would need a complete rebuild. The car as offered has its race engine installed, and it rides upon Dunlop Racing tyres.
The only reason that 'RWD 132' is now being offered for sale - hopefully to another enthusiast equally intent upon prolonging its fantastic competition record - is that the current vendor's focus is now directed towards such endurance rallies as the Peking-to-Paris...
Here is a passport to participation in all the great European Historic racing events, behind the wheel of a truly classical all-British sports car of great distinction and considerable achievement.