1954 Austin-Healey 100 Roadster

A 1954 BN1 fitted with the Le Mans kit from new is even rarer than the
“factory” 100M model of 1955

{vsig}2007-12_2112{/vsig}

Following the Austin-Healey 100’s sensational debut at the 1952 Motor Show, the Works entered two mildly modified cars in the 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour race. They finished in 12th and 14th places, a praiseworthy achievement for what were recognizably production sports cars.

Accordingly, the name “Le Mans” was chosen for a bolt-on tuning kit offered through Austin-Healey dealers, by means of which private owners could bring their cars up to a specification approaching that of the Works entries. The kit included a pair of 1 3/4 inch SU HD6 carburetors, plus special inlet manifold and cold air box, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs, and a distributor with an alternative ignition advance curve.

With the kit installed, power increased from the standard 90 hp to 100 hp. From 1955, the conversion was available factory-fitted on the successor BN2 model in the form of the 100M. In addition to the Le Mans kit, the latter boasted high-compression pistons, stiffer front anti-roll bar, and special Armstrong front dampers. Power increased to 110 hp and top speed, with windscreen folded flat, to within a whisker of 120 mph. The number of BN1s converted by their owners is unknown, but 1,159 cars, mostly BN2s, were built or converted to 100M specification by the Works in 1955 and 1956.

We are advised that this Austin-Healey 100 (BN1) roadster has been fitted with the Le Mans (100M) kit from new. Owned originally by one K.W. Fraser of Glasgow (a director of A & D Fraser Ltd.), the car was first registered “JUS 2” and competed in the 1954 Tulip Rally, one of the first “Big Healeys” to do so.

The Austin-Healey 100 Roadster was registered “PGB 505” when Fraser sold the car in November 1955, and has remained in the same family ownership since 1957, coming into the vendor’s possession in 1971. Preserved in original condition and offered with original bonnet, it has covered only 44,547 miles from new and comes with documented history from delivery to the present day, including details of an engine rebuild in 1956. (It is interesting to note that the car had covered 22,000 miles-half its total to date-by December of that year.)

“PGB 505” has had an updated MoT annually and comes with all expired certificates, while we are advised that no major work has been required during the current period of ownership and that the engine is “running well.” Offered with old-style logbook, current MoT, and Swansea V5 registration document, “PGB 505” represents a rare opportunity to acquire an iconic first-of-the-line “Big Healey” boasting desirable Le Mans kit and preserved in remarkably original condition.

Reid Trummel

Reid Trummel - SCM Contributor

Reid is editor-publisher of Healey Marque magazine, the official publication of the Austin-Healey Club of America (www.healeyclub.org). His interest in cars began when he taught himself to drive a stick in a hand-me-down 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. Wanting more power than the Alfa’s 1300 could provide, he bought a Healey 3000 and fell down that slippery slope of affection for British cars. Currently the owner of two 1956 Healeys — a 100M and a 100 with the Le Mans Kit — his affliction also includes non-British dalliances. He is also Chairman of the Columbia Gorge Classic Rally (www.columbiagorgemgaclub.org). He makes his home in Portland, OR.

Posted in English