20th Sep, 2023 12:00

30th Anniversary Sale at The Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Lot 380

1953 Austin-Healey 100 Modified to 'M' Specification

Lot details

Registration No: GAS 705
Chassis No: BN1L147312
MOT: Exempt

  • 1 of the first 1,000 Austin-Healeys manufactured (body number 544)
  • Comprehensively restored, being completed in the early 2000s and later uprated to 'M' specification
  • Pleasingly retains many of its original early features including the two-piece dashboard
  • ‘Matching’ chassis and engine numbers
  • 3rd placed in the Austin-Healey Clubs International Concours after the completion of the restoration

As part of his publicity campaign to promote the Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1, Donald Healey entered a team of four pre-production cars for the 1953 Le Mans 24-hour race. Running with standard windscreens, interiors, and even bumpers, two of this mildly tweaked quartet survived to finish 12th and 14th overall (an amazing result for such comparatively inexpensive cars in near showroom condition). Eager to capitalize on this success (and also to comply with the event's homologation requirements) Healey persuaded BMC to list a 'Le Mans kit' (twin 1.75 inch SU carburettors, high-lift camshaft, revised distributor advance curve and stronger valve springs etc) in its parts catalogue for 1954. Known officially as part P-280, it was available to fit on new or old models alike and by dealers or private individuals. Adopted by BMC themselves (together with the addition of a louvered bonnet complete with leather strap) for the 100M version of the BN2 100/4 introduced at the 1955 London Motor Show, it has remained a popular modification package ever since.

Manufactured in 1953, chassis number ‘147312’ was fitted with body number ‘544’ and is notable as one of the first 1,000 examples. Supplied new to the United States of America, the Healey demonstrates a number of early car features such as the two-piece dashboard, different seat attachments to the floorpans, and different inner wheel arch welding when compared to later examples. Discovered some forty years later in Massachusetts having been on a U.S. Air Force base, the 100 was found to be highly original (albeit requiring restoration) with the bonnet and boot being the only major items to have been changed. Repatriated to the United Kingdom in 1999 following the vendor's acquisition, the restoration of this early 100 was embarked upon the same year.

Taking over three years to complete, the Healey was fully stripped down with the engine and gearbox removed. The engine was provided with a light refresh, with the gearbox and overdrive unit completely overhauled with new seals and bearings, and the differential also overhauled. The instruments were disassembled and refreshed (with the mileage at the time showing a credible 42,416 miles) and refitted to the repainted two-piece dashboard. Attention then turned to the chassis and bodywork renovation with new metal grafted in where required including new sills, footwells, outriggers, suspension mounts, and B-posts. The chassis was then treated with rust proofing before being reunited with the bodywork and the car being provided with a full professional respray in the Sage Green paintwork it presents today.

The suspension and brakes were then renewed and fitted to the shell, with the restored propshaft and rear axle mated to the car too. The interior was completely refreshed in complementary Spruce Green with the retrimming completed by a former Longbridge employee at J. M. Grant Trimming. The final build was completed and a Don Hoods soft top and new sidescreens were supplied to the car, now registered ‘GAS 705’. Shown at the 50th Anniversary celebrations for the Austin-Healey at the Club’s International in August 2002, chassis ‘147312’ achieved 3rd Place in the Concours competition. Pressed into action up the hill at Prescott and around Thruxton racing circuit as further parts of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the ‘Big Healey’ was used locally for several years before a more comprehensive engine overhaul was decided upon in 2009.

This comprehensive engine overhaul included uprating to mechanical M-Specification with larger pistons, high-lift camshaft, uprated distributor, alloy cylinder head, and H6 carburettors with correct needles. Wishing to retain the original external appearance, the bodywork was unchanged. Used sparingly since the completion of the engine overhaul, the Healey now displays a credible mileage of just 51,500 miles and has been with the vendor for twenty-four years now. Offered with a complete tool kit and a large history file that contains an extensive selection of invoices documenting the restoration with bills from companies such as A. H. Spares, Cape International, Denis Welch Motorsport, S C Parts, and UK Healey Centre; BMIHT certificate; previous MOT certificates, a book documenting the restoration with numerous images; technical literature; and paperwork, passes and stickers for the 50th Anniversary International Club meet. Boasting the original ‘matching’ chassis and engine numbers, this first-1000 production example of the now iconic Austin-Healey pleasingly retains many of its original early features, and many of the cockpit trims are stamped with the body number, and is a very well-presented example, with engine upgraded to M-specification.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
07538 667452


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: 30th Anniversary Sale at The Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 20th Sep, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Now owned by its employees and trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe.


Buyers, bidders and attendees will enjoy a special day in the prestigious Imperial War Museum with some fantastic treats including.
Drinks Reception   |   Music   |   Guest Speakers

With each successful bidder receiving a specially selected hamper.

Watch the website for more details.


To take part in the bidding action please click 'Register to Bid | Sign In' at the top of the page



Tuesday 19th September 2023 from 1pm to 8pm
Wednesday 20th September 2023 from 9am


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