Austin Healey 100S

Car producer : 

Austin Healey







 In 1952, Healey had struck a deal with Austin for them to assemble his “Healey Hundred” in far greater quantity than his tiny Warwick-based company ever could have. As part of that arrangement, Healey continued development of the car and embarked upon a competition and record-setting program to garner publicity to boost sales. The key element of that effort was the development and creation of the 100S, a car conceived not to make a profit but rather to advance the marque’s sporting image by its appearance on race tracks around the world.

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 hand built by the Donald Healey Motor Company at Warwick. To minimize weight the cast iron cylinder head was replaced by an aluminium one, and the overdrive unit was not installed. Brakes were discs all-round, the world's first production car to feature them both front and rear. To further lighten the vehicle, bumpers and hood (convertible top) were eliminated, the grille reduced in size, and the windscreen made of plastic. In all, weight was reduced by approximately 200 lb (91 kg). The majority of 100Ss were two-toned white with Lobelia Blue sides. A handful were produced in solid Spruce Green and red, and single one in black.

The 100S was developed throughout 1953 and 1954, and what emerged was a car that looked very similar to the standard 100 but was, in fact, built by hand at the Healey Works in Warwick, where scores of improvements and modifications were incorporated to make it more competitive in racing. As with any race car, weight was always a principal concern, and to lighten the 100S, an all-alloy body was used, along with an alloy substructure. To further contribute to weight savings, the standard car’s bumpers were shed, as was the large glass windscreen and the “weather equipment,” which included the top and side curtains. The result was a curb weight of just 1,876 pounds. The 100S was a purpose-built racing car from the beginning.

The engine was also highly modified, resulting in a power increase from 90 to 132 brake horsepower. This was achieved by dozens of modifications, with the most apparent being a specially designed aluminum Weslake cylinder head that required the intake and exhaust manifolds to be on opposite sides from those of the production cars. Although ostensibly still an “Austin” engine, they were actually built at the Morris engine plant in Coventry.

Among other notable features of the 100S are the brakes. Dunlop hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners were cutting edge in the mid-1950s. The early Dunlop systems used a Plessey mechanical pump to energize the braking system. However, with advances in disc brake design, the pump was believed to be unnecessary, and Healey and Dunlop installed a new design in the Cooper 100S chassis. Through trial and error, the final set-up was determined and used on the subsequent 100S Healeys.

Sold for: 1012000 USD
Go to restoration
See other models

You may also like these cars

to top