1955 Austin-Healey 100S news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sport Roadster
Chassis Num: AHS3802
All Austin-Healey 100S cars were produced between February and July of 1955. The 100S prototype was officially timed by the American Automobile Association at a mean speed of 143.1 MPH over the measured mile at Bonneville in August, 1954. With this record established, 49 cars and 7 works car capable of high speed and endurance were produced. Unfortunately, less than 30 cars are known to exist today with only 5 of those in the United States.

The 100S was quite advanced for the period with its all-alloy body, sub-frame members above the chassis, four wheel disc brakes and a 51/49 front-to-rear weight distribution. Prominent SCCA racers of the day purchased the first cars: Briggs Cunningham, Jackie Cooper, Bob Fergus, Fred Allen, Vince Sardi and Jim Fergusson. The majority of the cars were painted Old English White with blue sides, the American racing colors. There were 3 notable exceptions: Briggs Cunningham's car was white with a blue stripe drown the center; Jim Fergusson's was all red as he was from Canada; and Jackie Cooper's car was a special request of Spruce Green.

The current owner found AHS3802 in Australia in the late 1990s. Fortunately, it was still in its original condition; although, somewhat the worse for wear. After many years of racing he felt it deserved a complete frame-up restoration to the exact condition it existed when it left England for the United States over 4 decades ago.
Sport Roadster
This is the first and last 100S produced by Austin-Healey. It was raced in the 1955 Mille Miglia and finished eleventh overall. It raced in the 1955 Sebring event and finished eleventh overall. It was one of the first original works special test cars built.

After the 1954 season the car was converted into the last 100S, S standing for Sebring, and was destined to be a gift from Donald Healey to Ed Bussey of Ship and Shore Motors in West Palm Beach, to thank him for all of the help he had given the Healey racing family at Sebring. She was given the special 100S front nose piece, a new black interior with red piping, and she was painted red, one of only two with this color scheme. Before the car was delivered, Healey realized he would be short of cars for the 1955 Mille Miglia, this car finished eleventh, it turned out to be one of the greatest Austin-Healey racing accomplishments.
Sport Roadster
Chassis Num: AHS-3504
Engine Num: 1B222705
Sold for $1,012,000 at 2015 RM Auctions.
Already a main character in Our Gang and, for more than 50 years, the youngest ever to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor, John 'Jackie' Cooper, Jr. would be a rising star in pre-war Hollywood. But while Jackie Cooper would make a name for himself in 'Tinseltown', he would also make some important acquaintances within motorsport, and these characters would enable Cooper to make a name for himself on the track as well.

Having participated in an apprenticeship with the Royal Flying Corps beginning in 1916, Donald Healey would soon earn his wings and would serve the British on a number of night bombing raids and anti-Zeppelin missions. Sadly for him, and a blessing for motorsport, he would be shot down by British anti-aircraft fire and would end up spending the rest of the war inventorying aircraft components.

While his wings may have been clipped, Healey would look into flying a little closer to the ground. Having taken an automobile correspondence course, Donald would open his first garage in 1920 in the coastal town of Perranporth.

Motor racing would soon become his passion and he would soon relocate to the Midlands where he would end up working at the Triumph Motor Company. During his tenure with the company he would create the Triumph Southern Cross and then the mighty Dolomite 8.

Unfortunately, another World War would interrupt Healey's automotive aspirations. However, it would provide the man with an opportunity. Following the end of the war, training and active bases were littered all across the English landscape. This meant an abundance of unused hangars and space in which to develop, build and test automobiles. Healey would make use of an RAF hangar in Warwick, setting to work creating some of the first Donal Healey Motor Company automobiles.

Class victories at such races as the Mille Miglia only stoked Healey's fire. Success would continue to come Donald's way as he not only designed the cars, but raced them as well. However, his creations were often too expensive. He had a goal. He wanted a rather inexpensive sports car, and it needed to be able to go 100mph.

Unveiled at Earls Court in 1952, the Austin-Healey 100 would be a hit and demand would be such that British Motor Corporation would actually be contracted to manufacturer the very popular small sports cars.

If the car wasn't popular enough, Healey would develop the 100S, which was a tweaked version of the 100 meant strictly for competition. Developed throughout 1953 and 1954, the 100S would be an impressive improvement upon the 100 despite the fact the two looked very similar.

Weighing less than 1900 pounds and utilizing a 2.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing around 130bhp, the 100S would be a significant evolution of the 100 and would bring people like Jackie Cooper calling.

The Austin-Healey would be all about performance. From its increase in horsepower from 90 to 130bhp to its innovative use of Dunlop disc brakes, Healey's creation not some sportscar found wanting. This was exactly what Cooper wanted.

Already driving a 100, Cooper had developed an affinity for the Healey brand and had even befriended Donald Healey. Cooper would be such an institution within the motor company that he would travel to some events with the company, and, would even narrate special publicity films from time to time. Already a stalwart Healey fan, Cooper would be among the first to receive the new 100S.

Chassis AHS-3504 would be just the fourth car to be completed. However, the car's rarified nature would only deepen as it would be one of just fifty to be built with a special alloy racing model body. Cooper would have one other request—it had to be finished in Spruce Green, the only 100S to ever be so colored.

Many elements of Cooper's 100S would be one-of-a-kind. This would include a YCM Mallory distributor, the Spruce Green livery and the lack of a plaque on the dash claiming relation to the 100.

Cooper would co-drive the car with Roy Jackson-Moore in the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring. There would be a fleet of 100S Healeys and top-flite drivers to pilot them, including none other than Stirling Moss and Lance Macklin. Cooper would come close to finish 2nd in class behind Moss and Macklin. But, in the end, the bumpy Sebring circuit would play havoc with the wiring causing battery failure. Cooper wouldn't give up though and would push the car about a mile to finish in 42nd place. The effort would result in magazine articles and pictures and even being named Auto Sportsman of the Month.

The rest of 1955 would be busy for Cooper. He would use 3504 in races all over the east coast, and even the Bahamas. The car would continue to race for years to come, despite the fact it would change hands a number of times.

In 1976, Bill Wood would by a 100S. An avid Austin-Healey collector, Wood had purchased a 100S that was a little worse for wear. Needing various parts, Wood would place an ad in a popular automotive magazine and would soon receive a call offering him a 100S engine and gearbox. After buying them, Bill would find out they belonged to 3504. Later, he would come across a 100S being prepped for installation of an MGB motor. A better option, Wood would make a trade for the body only to find out it was chassis 3504. Nearly the whole of the car, inside and out, had been brought back together again.

Quickly a full restoration would begin. And, in 1990, the car would roll-out as one, just as it had done 35 years earlier. In 1997 the car would be sold to Italian Tommaso Gelmini. He would use the Austin-Healey to take part in the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia Storica in 2001. One year later, the car returned to the United States and would change hands a couple but would continue taking part in some vintage races.

Purchased by the current owner in 2010, the 100S has become something of a regular at British car shows. Still with its original engine and some unoriginal body panels as a result of racing damage, this 100S just oozes history. Having been owned at one time by Jackie Cooper, raced on the same track as Stirling Moss and unique in just about every way, 3504 is absolutely among the most desirous of the 100S family.

Offered as part of RM Auction's 2015 Amelia Island event, the 1955 Austin-Healey 100S certainly will be a highlight and, quite possible, a show-stopper. Still bearing its unique Spruce Green, original engine and numerous other original parts, 3504 would be worthy of attention in its own right. Add to that the connection to Jackie Cooper, Stirling Moss and others and it would not be very difficult to surmise the pre-auction estimates of between $975,000 and $1,375,000.

By Jeremy McMullen
Sport Roadster
Chassis Num: AHS3805
This example is truly unique; it is equipped with airbag front suspension, supplement badge delete, and BRG paint. Only 55 aluminum bodied 100S Austin Healey racing cars were constructed by Donald Healey. The extremely light car was fitted with a special Weslake aluminum head, 4 wheel disc brakes and an aluminum oil cooler. This car, Chassis 3805, is one of the extremely rare 100S factory team racecars equipped with 45mm DCO3 carburetors an air intake on the front bodywork, special camshafts, airbag front suspension supplement, single fold down windscreen, oval side exhaust, stripped interior, badge delete, BRG paint and green covers on the seals. 3805 was a factory race team car in Europe, subsequently sent to Canada as the Austin of Canada team car and then purchased by Canadian Hugh Sutherland.

From 1955 through 1961, 3805 was frequently raced in Canada and the United States including Harewood, Ste Eugene, Green Acres, Watkins Glen, New Kiskeard, Mosport, and Nassau Speed Weeks. 3805 was then retired to Hugh's garage and remained there until Greg Johnson purchased it in 2002. With its racing province rare works from specification and just 3480 one-owner original race miles. 3805 is one of the most original of the rare 100S Healeys to survive.
The Austin Healey 100 was introduced in October of 1952 at the Earls Court Motor Show. The first Austin Healey 100's were known as 100-4 or BN1. The name 100 came-about by being able to break the 100 mph barrier. The BN also had meaning. The B represented the engine class which meant it had between 2000 and 3000 cc. The N represented the body-style configuration, two-seat and open-top. The 100 was powered by a A90, 2660 cc, four-cylinder engine capable of producing 94 horsepower. The manual three-speed transmission was also borrowed from the A90. However, the first gear was blocked off and was fitted with overdrive on the second and third gears to provide extra power.

The name 'Austin Healey' was formed by a partnership comprising of the designer, Donald Mitchell Healey, and the manufacturer, Austin.

During its total production cycle, 10,688 examples of the BN1 were produced.

In October of 1955, the BN2 was introduced. The BN2 was similar to the BN1 in design but now featured larger drum brakes and a new four-speed transmission with overdrive.

During its production run, 3,924 examples of the BN2 were produced.

The Austin Healey 100S was produced in limited numbers, only 55. Their primary purpose was for competing in racing and rally events as well as for development and marketing purposes. They were entered into races such as Sebring, Mille Miglia, and Le Mans. They were copies of special factory test car that Stirling Moss raced in the 1954 12-hour Sebring race where he placed third. The 100S's were produced at the Healey Warwick factory and most were decorated with the American racing colors, white and blue. Of the 55 that were built, only 10 remain unaccounted for. The 100S, when compared with the 100, featured Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, different cylinder head and internal engine modifications, four-speed gearbox without overdrive, and a light-alloy body shell.

The 100S was followed by the 100M. The 100M was a Le Mans variation of the BN2 with an increased horsepower rating of 100-110. It featured bigger carburetors and modified distributor. Valve springs and anti-roll bars were added to the suspension. During its production run, 1100 of the Le Mans BN2's were produced.

Over time, about 100 BN2 were later modified but in order to qualify for the Le Mans configuration the vehicles needed to meet specific standards. These standards included a 1.75 inch H6, SU carburetors, cold air box and air tube, Le Mans regulation strap and a factory style louvered hood.

The four cylinder engine was used from 1952 through 1956, after which a BMC six-cylinder engine was used. The car was dubbed the '100 Six'. Three years and a few engine modifications later, the car was named the '3000' and today is known as the 'Big Healey'. Over the production lifespan of the 3000, it could be assembled with multiple options such as a two-seater or 2+2, hard-tops, single or duo-tone paint schemes, overdrive, and more.

In 1962 the body was redesigned with a curved screen and wind up windows. The interior of the vehicle was revamped in 1964 and also received more ground clearance.

The 3000 was produced from 1959 through 1968. The original engine produced 124 horsepower and was capable of about 114 mph. Modifications to the engine throughout the years increased the horsepower to around 148 and the top speed to 121 mph. The size of the car, the power of the engine, and weighing in at around 2400 lbs made this car responsive, competitive and fun to drive.

In all, there were around 73,000 100's and 3000's produced with 58,000 featuring the six-cylinder engine.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2005
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