Donald Healey's stylish Austin-Healey 100 caused a sensation when it debuted at the 1952 London Motor Show. Intended as a low-cost, high-performance, limited production sports car and aimed at the US market, which took almost 100% of production initially, the Austin-Healey 100 sourced its major components from the Austin Atlantic saloon. In fact, the car first appeared at Earls Court badged as a 'Healey Hundred' and was re-badged 'Austin-Healey' while still on its stand after Austin boss Leonard Lord bought the rights to the design. 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!
Lord had been happy to agree to supply Austin Atlantic components as the model had not been selling well in its intended market - the USA - and was scheduled for deletion. Low-revving and torquey, the Atlantic's 2,660cc four-cylinder engine produced an unremarkable 90bhp but when installed in the lighter and more streamlined Healey the result was a genuine 100mph-plus car capable of reaching 60mph in under 11 seconds. A three-speed gearbox equipped with overdrive on the top two ratios was an unusual feature of the original BN1, which was superseded by the short-lived, conventional four-speed BN2 for 1956. In 1953 a team of drivers including Donald Healey and George Eyston set a host of international and AMA speed records at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats driving two Healey 100s. Highlights including a maximum speed of 143.626mph and 1,000 kilometres at an average of 127.00mph achieved by the tuned car and 24 hours at an average of 104.3mph set by the AMA-selected 'off-the-showroom-floor' example. A muscular sports car to delight the purist, the 100 was not bettered by its six-cylinder successors in terms of outright performance until the introduction of the Austin-Healey 3000 in 1959.
A left- to right-hand drive conversion, this BN2 model was purchased by the current owner from Brooks' Olympia Sale in February 1995 (Lot 279) since when it has been kept garaged as part of the vendor's private collection of classic cars. The 1995 catalogue description stated that the Healey had been imported from the USA in 1989 and restored to a very high standard, covering fewer 50 miles before being offered for sale. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry bills for work done in the vendor's ownership, and numerous MoT certificates, the most recent of which expired in April 2014