Debuting at the 1952 London Motor Show, the Healey 100 was a big hit. So much in fact the then acting director of Austin, Leonard Lord took enough interest to add “Austin” in front of the name through a partnership deal, proposed by Donald Healey. With funding in place the Austin Healey 100-4 began production. It was produced briefly from 1953 until 1956. As a new British Sports Car came to light it became evident that these little roadsters were quite successful both on the road and the street. 100-4’s took to circuits worldwide as both factory race cars and privateer entrants, proving success on the track these agile 4-cylinder sports cars attributed to the Austin Healeys success as a road car. Allowing for much progression and later evolving into the 100-6 and 3000 examples.
There is one instance in this brief history where the pinnacle of racing success was realized for Austin Healey. At the 24 Hours of LeMans the 100-4 factory race cars, which were then “LeMans” Prototypes experienced success in 1954 with second in class and 12th overall, an astounding achievement for the young company. It was decided then that for 1955 and 1956 a special edition of the 100-4 would be produced to commemorate the success and offer the enthusiast buyers of these fine sports cars the opportunity to enjoy the best of what the company could offer. It would end up that only 640 Factory built 100M LeMans would be realized during the production run. As such, owners of standard 100-4’s who couldn’t get their hands on the factory built examples went back to the dealer for the ”M Modification” and upgrades. This included a louvered bonnet, special aluminum cold air box, special cam, tuned carburetors, and ignition amongst other subtleties. This formula produced a potent little racer that was much quicker than the original with sporty looks and a superb performer.
Within Austin Healey Circles the breakdown is simple; there are two basic categories with correlating price differences. Factory 100M LeMans cars as verified by multiple sources, and one of the original 640 examples, and Dealer 100M LeMans cars, cars completed at the dealership or thereafter that have been totally converted, and done so correctly either in period or in recent years.
The example on offer here has had a diverse history in its presentation and offering. It is first and foremost one of the finest restored examples we have experience. Completed to the highest and most correct standard possible by well known Marque Specialist Richard Chrysler of Canada. Having competed nationally and awarded Concours Gold at the 50th anniversary puts this Healey in a very special category.
Early history on this example is not 100% known, but thanks to the accompanying British Heritage Trust Certificate we do know that this example, Chassis # BN1L219630 was indeed a North American export specification car to be distributed and sold through the Austin Motor Company of Ameica. It lists its engine number as 1B219630 and body number 5407, from new. It also shows as it did when new in Old English white with a Red interior and Red hood (top and accompanying weather gear). The options at the time were limited; however this example did receive a heater, laminated windscreen, and a miles-per-hour speedometer. All things considered, this car can 100% be confirmed as numbers matching in every way, and finished exactly as it left the factory with the addition of a proper 100M Dealer prepared kit having been installed.
We do know that the car spent quite some time in Ohio until the late 1980’s when it was purchased by a Mr. Knight of Canada. During Mr. Knights ownership the car was an old driver, and at that time finished in a silver color. It was kept around for many years until about 2002 when a total concours restoration was commissioned and sent to Marque Specialist, Richard Chrysler. It was with Richard that the entire car was 100% completely disassembled, every last item, bagged, tagged, and organized. The car was totally stripped to the metal and any rust issues tended to correctly with proper techniques and metal. Panel fitment was test fitted, matched, and then only after it was perfect it received the beautifully deep Old English White paint job it carries today over dead straight panels. The engine and transmission were totally overhauled at the time of restoration, as were all suspension, steering, braking, fuel and electrical items including a new harness. All of the bright work, fixtures etc… were all refinished and a totally new and correct interior was completed. Every angle, job, and item addressed was done with correctness in mind. The completed job can be described as none other than near perfect and as such the car was awarded nearly 1,000 points at the Lake Tahoe 50th Anniversary National Meet where it received a Concours Gold Certification from the Austin Healey Club. Since, it has remained a show goer receiving many other awards, and carefully enjoyed on tours and rallies throughout the United States and Canada.
A few years after the car had completed the show circuit it was sent in to have a total 100M conversion completed to correct and exacting standards, much like that of most other 100M’s. It received a total engine rebuild including new pistons, bearings, blue print and balanced components, and a proper M specification grind on the cam. The carburetors and ignition were adjusted and the head also totally built for power. The appearance looks totally stock and correct but inside this engine is completely built and tuned to M specification or more. It was nicely finished with the correct aluminum air box and intake and still retains all of the correct clamps as well as reproduction factory “warning” tags hanging in the engine bay; a truly authentic example done to the highest standards possible and testament that this car has only been treated to the best, by the best. Lastly a proper 100M louvered bonnet and strap was installed, and also stamped with the body number; all culminating into a seamless transition to a totally correct Dealer 100M LeMans.
Today the car shows impeccably well throughout. The exterior paint is beautiful and easily concours worthy as is the bright work and related components. The wheels are the correct painted type and the tires are correct as well and in good condition. The fold down windscreen presents beautifully and we recommend it stay in its unique position as the most sporting attribute. The headlights we have noted have been changed over to modern lights, but the originals are included, and it present perfectly fine with the current ones. The badge bar holds a Lake Tahoe 50th Anniversary Badge, Austin Healey Club Badge, and a Concours Registry Badge. The Fog lights are the correct type, fully functioning and add a nice touch to complete the look. The panel fitment is superb and easily as good/or better than the factory intended. The gaps are excellent as are all of the shut lines, which can be considered factory correct. A view down the side shows a totally straight example with no issues or indication of any metal work or previous accidents. One would be hard pressed to find any issues beyond a possible chip here or there near the wheel well, or beyond the only notable blemish: a small crack near the rear trunk support (very common on most 100-4’s).
The interior is highly correct in its presentation, and shows only signs of use that can be described as a nice patina. The red of the period presents more of a burnt orange, which is indeed correct and not often seen during the restoration of these neat cars. The chrome items, door panels, carpets, kick panels etc… are all excellent. The seats show signs of use with one small mark on the driver’s side upper bolster, present, but in no real need of attention. The dash is finely finished with the correct type gauges present and rebuilt throughout. Every item on the interior is in correct working order and is excellent overall. The interior presents beautifully and is an excellent place to enjoy the afternoon. All of the weather gear is present including tonneau, side curtains, and top, all of which are in nearly new condition and highly correct in terms of their restoration and presentation. The cockpit surround are a proper brushed finish and are also in good condition.
The underside of the car and the trunk are of the same consistency, showing signs of use and enjoyment but nothing that a detailing couldn’t put back to concours condition. Everything is 100% solid, presentable and correct in body color with no apparent issues beyond some road residue. The suspension components still shine and were correctly finished in there factory coatings. The rear end and battery box area are of the same consistency and there are no instances of substandard work anywhere on this car.
The trunk offers everything one wants to see when buying a truly complete 100M, not only is it properly trimmed and appointed. It also holds many treasures, of which include a totally complete and restored tool set, jack, spare, hammer, original books etc… all in leather pouches as when new. In addition the original starter (currently has a high ratio started) and original lighting is included and present along with all of the cars history (including photo album) and documentation. Beyond this such items as a “safety Warning” tag have been reproduced and put in there appropriate places. The weather gear is nicely stowed in storage bags as well.
This is truly one of the best examples of the 100-4 in Dealer M Specification form. Restored by only the best with known history, well documented and offered as an incredibly correct example with all of its accessories from new; this is a rare opportunity to acquire a concours proven example that will make a fine addition to any collection and is worthy of much consideration by any collector or enthusiast.
Available Documentation: (Click on the links below to view the file)