・South African car now in the UK ready to register
The Austin-Healey 100 made its debut at the 1952 London Motor Show at Earl’s Court, having been developed off the running gear of an Austin A90 Atlantic by motorsport engineer Donald Healey at his workshops in Warwickshire.
Originally named the Healey Hundred, the design impressed Austin boss Leonard Lord, who was looking for a vehicle with which to take on the likes of Triumph and Jaguar in motorsport.
Lord struck a deal with Healey to build it in quantity; with bodies made by Jensen Motors in Castle Bromwich, which were then given Austin mechanical components at Austin's Longbridge factory down the road in Birmingham. The car was also renamed the Austin-Healey 100, the name being given because of the car's ability to reach 100mph.
Those early Healeys are now often referred to as the Healey 100/4 to differentiate between the early four-cylinder cars and the latest sixes which were officially known as the 100/6.
The car we have here is an original right-hand-drive Healey 100 from the very first year of production, making it a very collectible thing indeed.
With the vast majority of Austin-Healey 100s being exported, less than two in every ten cars were right-hand-drive and with the majority of RHD cars sold in the UK, where a damp climate did little for their preservation, finding solid survivors that haven't been converted from left hand drive is pretty rare.
This one, however, has always been an RHD car as it was supplied new to South Africa in the first full year of production. Its most recent owner kept the car for over 30 years and for much of that it was an exhibit at the Cape Wine Farm Museum near Cape Town.
It was purchased by the vendor earlier this year and imported to the UK this summer.
The seller is a former South African resident who works with contacts in the motor trade and classic car scene out there in order to source some of the most remarkable cars and bring them to the UK.
This example certainly fits that bill and comes with all of its import paperwork, along with a South African registration document, and will be sold with a full UK MOT.
The vendor is experienced in bringing vehicles to the UK and is happy to help the new owner with registration.
However, the car has not been registered with the DVLA yet in case the next buyer wishes to export it. It does, though, have a NOVA certificate and all UK duties have already been paid, so aside from a small first registration fee there are no additional duties to be paid.
Resplendent in its original Primrose Yellow colour scheme, the Big Healey looks absolutely terrific with only a couple of very minor blemishes in the form of small chips in the paint work, one on the very bottom of the boot lid and a couple more on the inner lip of the bonnet shuts. These are all very tiny and do not detract from the cars overall finish.
The panel fit is superb and there is no visible rust anywhere either on top of the car or underneath. It has been repainted at some point in its life but the quality of the respray is very good, with a deep shine and minimal imperfections. It has brand new radial tyres all round.
The Healey also has a hood, although this was not fitted at the time of our photographs. it was, however, supplied at the same time as the car was resprayed and is said to be in excellent condition. It also comes with a full-size black leather tonneau cover, which is also in fine order.
The cabin of a Big Healey is a fairly simple affair with a series of traditional Smiths instruments mounted in a cluster directly ahead of the driver, two bucket seats and an offset gear shift to the left of the transmission tunnel.
You soon get used to the slightly odd driving position, whilst in this example the seats have been refurbished and given extra padding, making it slightly more comfortable than the standard model.
It also has new carpets throughout and is in very smart and presentable order in every respect.
Under the bonnet, the original Healey 100 uses the 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine carried over directly from the Austin A90, coupled to a three-speed manual gearbox with overdrive on second and third.
The engine produces 90bhp, which doesn't sound a lot by today's standards but was peppy enough back in 1953, especially in a car fitted with drum brakes all-round.
We were able to conduct a short test drive of the car and can confirm that it’s in fine running condition. It starts at the first push of the starter button, holds a steady temperature and idle, and both the gearbox and steering are delightful to use, whilst the brakes feel strong and effective at low speeds.
This is a really lovely example of the seminal Austin Healey 100 - a car that went on to be the father of several successful racing and rally cars and became one of the legendary British sports cars.
It's a great example in one of the all-time classic colours, with an incredible pedigree and history and is, of course, an original factory right-hand-drive car. Every single one of those factors adds further to a car that already has immense appeal as well as great long-term investment value.
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1953 Austin-Healey 100/4
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