AUSTIN-HEALEY 100S, IN SAME OWNERSHIP FOR 50 YEARS, JOINS BONHAMS SCOTTSDALE AUCTION By: Bonhams
Bonhams is delighted to announce the addition of a very special car to its sixth annual Scottsdale sale: a 1955 Austin-Healey 100S Sports-Racer that's been in the same ownership for half a century.
The Austin-Healey 100S was a limited production out-and-out sports racing car, designed to challenge for honors in the blue ribbon international races, as well as the active club racing scene in Europe and North America.
During the 1950s it was arguably the most accessible, most appealing and in many cases the most successful club racing car available to any aspiring racing driver and one of the most enduring models to emerge from the Donald Healey Motor Company's famous factory at The Cape, Warwick.
As a genuine 100S, this example, chassis number AHS 3610, is one of only 55 such Austin-Healeys produced during 1954-55. The Competitions Department retained five works cars with 50 being sold to customers primarily in the US and the UK.
AHS 3610 is a customer car that was sold new to the US and has resided there ever since. It has, extraordinarily, been in the present ownership since 1966. The Colorado domiciled owner bought the car as a 17-year old high school student and budding racer. It was found on a Saab dealer's used car lot! At the time, the owner was too young to even hold an SCCA license but was participating on local Auto Cross events. As soon as the owner saw the car he knew he had to have it and borrowed the money to do so.
At the time of acquisition, the car had a 283 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 installed (instead of the factory 2.7-liter 4-cylinder motor) and the owner feels it was one of, if not the fastest car on the road in Denver at that time. The car's non-original V8 engine ultimately let go and, in the late 1960s, the car was laid up as the owner was focusing on his single-seaters.
The owner fortuitously resisted the many offers to sell AHS 3610 and in 2003 decided to entrust the car to one of the leading authorities on the model for restoration. Steve Pike, of Marsh Classics in Australia, restored the car to its present immaculate condition, retaining as much originality wherever possible. A new, correct specification, 100S motor was built and installed.
In later years these 100S sports racers have become the car of choice for many enthusiasts as they are eligible for the world's great historic motor sport events such as the Colorado Grand, Copperstate 1000, California Mille and the very best that Europe has to offer such as Le Mans Classic, Mille Miglia and Goodwood Revival.
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Having laid dormant in hibernation for some 40-years, AHS 3610 emerged with the owner and returned to the road and track.
James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director, and Austin-Healey 100 owner commented, 'The Bonhams team has handled more 100Ss than any other auction house and I am delighted the reclusive Denver domiciled '3610' will join the list. The car had lain dormant for many years and the owner was astute by resisting all offers from yesteryear and entrusting the car to be restored by the most recognized expert for the model. Having been in such long-term custody, the owner recognizes that the car is somewhat more valuable than his 1966 purchase price. As such, and being an older gentleman, '3610' is estimated conservatively at $500,000-$700,000. That looks very good value in my opinion and I'm sure the car will attract a lot of interest. As one would expect, it presents beautifully and the time has now come to pass ownership onto another enthusiast for '3610' to enjoy a new chapter in its life.'
Bonhams Scottsdale Auction takes place on Thursday, January 19th at the beautiful and easily accessible Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, a leisurely 30-minute drive from the Phoenix international airport. To register to bid, in person or remotely, please visit www.bonhams.com/scottsdale'.
See daily updates from our Motoring Department on Instagram at @BonhamsMotoring.