1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Roadster
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 2660cc|
|Gearbox||4-speed manual (see text)|
|Colour||Healey Blue on white|
One of the truly great sports cars of the 1950s, the Austin-Healey was a case of the right car at the right time. Having developed the original prototype for the 1952 London Motor Show, Donald Healey's little company based in Warwick was unable to take advantage on the unprecedented reaction. Fortuitously, the boss of Austin, Leonard Lord, spotted the Healey and recognised its potential as an affordable rival to Triumph's successful TR series. As a result, Austin and Healey made a deal to jointly produce and market the 100 under their combined names and a legend was born. The stunning bodywork, designed by Gerry Coker, was made by Jensen Motors of West Bromwich, the chassis by Thompson Pressings and the cars assembled at Longbridge from March 1953 onwards. The 100/4, as it was designated, utilized the Austin's rugged 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine (first seen in the Atlantic), developing 90 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and plenty of torque, had hydraulic brakes front and rear along with well set-up suspension. With a fold-flat windscreen, minimal creature comforts and plenty of urge, the Austin-Healey was the quintessential British sports car and continues to enjoy a massive following around the world. The original two-seater BN1 remained in production until August 1955 and the vast majority of the 10,688 built were exported to the United States. The earliest 100/4s are highly regarded by Healey enthusiasts for their purity of line and raw sports car driving experience somewhat diluted on the later six-cylinder models.