Christies Sale of AHS 3607

Discussion in '1955 Austin-Healey 100S' started by Richard Owen, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. AUTOMOBILES DE COLLECTION LE MANS CLASSIC
    Location Paris Sale Date Jul 08, 2006

    AUSTIN HEALEY 100S

    Year: 1955
    Chassis No. AHS 3607
    Engine No. 1B222717C
    Engine: four cylinder, in-line, pushrod overhead valve, twin carburettors, 2.660cc, producing 132bhp at 4.700rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual with overdrive: Suspension: front, independent coil spring with wishbones, rear, semi-elliptic leaf spring; Brakes: discs all round. Left hand drive.

    Coachwork: Roadster, dark blue over cream with black interior

    Model history
    By the early 1950s Donald Healey was one of the most respected British rally competitor and sports car engineer. The eponymic cars which were built at his Warwick factory had performed with distinction in endurance events such as the Mille Miglia and the Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans. When Leonard Lord let it be known some time before the 1952 London Motor Show that Austin was interested in quantity production of a sports model using as many Austin parts as possible, hopeful specialist makers quickly built prototypes. Ultimately it was the svelte 100 two-seater on Healey's stand at the show that captured Lord's attention and was chosen. Renamed the Austin-Healey 100, the car quickly became a formidable opponent in every type of international competition. It was strong, handled well and rewarded tuning. A substantial high-performance aftermarket rapidly developed, with the factory leading the way.
    In early 1954 it was decided that the Donald Healey Motor Company at Warwick should develop and produce a more powerful and lightweight model of the BN2. At the same time it was decided to market an engine tuning kit which owners could fit themselves, alternatively completely modified cars could be ordered, the '100S' and '100M' were born. Having won their class at Sebring with a 100 model sporting modified bodywork, non-standard disc type centre lock wheels with Dunlop disc brakes fitted front and rear and an extensively modified engine, there was no hesitation in naming the new competition version the 'S' after the Sebring track. In the Mille Miglia of the same year Lance Macklin brought the 100S across the line in 23rd position overall out of 380 starters, taking fifth in class.
    The final '100S' specification, included significant modifications to the body, engine, transmission and suspension. It had light alloy two tone bodywork, a smaller oval shaped radiator grille, louvred bonnet top, competition Lucas 'Le Mans' headlight units, a low one piece perspex screen and a centrally placed filler cap leading to a 20 gallon fuel tank. Without bumpers or other embelishments the car was 100kgs lighter than the the production '100', with an engine power increase of no less than 42bhp over production cars. With a top speed of over 200km/h the '100S' holds the honour of being the fastest production Austin Healey model.
    After numerous successes and compliments from its drivers the model is unfortunately always linked to the worst accident to date in motorsport, when the Mercedes of Pierre Levegh collided with Macklin's '100S' in the 1955 le Mans, causing the death of some 80 spectators .

    Specific history
    The Austin-Healey 100S on offer here is a lovely example of a mere 55 produced. AHS 3607 was originally delivered on 23 March 1955 to British Motor Car Distributors, San Francisco, fitted with engine number 1B222717C. It was raced at Lime Rock among other US circuits but was still highly original (with original upholstery, screen, engine etc) prior to its sympathetic "ground up" restoration between 1992 & 1994 - the odometer showing a mere 23,000 miles which was believed to be correct. The original upholstery, being rather tired was removed but is still together with the car, as is the original Perspex screen. A full photographic record of the rebuild is included in the history file. It has since been used in various events including the Mille Miglia and has been raced in invitation events at the Nürburgring and Silverstone. The engine was completely rebuilt again by South Cerney Engineering in 2001 and was fitted with a new cylinder head (original retained with the car) and a new steel billet crank and rods, new flywheel etc. Everything has been professionally maintained regardless of cost and the car's condition and preparation can only be described as immaculate.
    This ultra rare '100S' represents an extremely rare opportunity to acquire one of the Marque's most iconic models and to many the purest and most beautiful. Very few authentic '100S' models are still around today, consequently they very rarely appear for sale as owner's retain them as treasured collectors' items and highly eligible competition cars. Christie's recommends close inspection of this stunning example. The Healey comes with FIA and FIVA papers, a comprehensive history file and a large quantity of spare parts. It is tax paid in the EEC and still has the original USA Title in the file which should make it possible to import it into the USA without duty if this is ever required.
     

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