Austin-Healey 100 (1953 – 1956) Review

Austin-Healey 100 (1953 – 1956) At A Glance


+Good to drive, better to look at, excellent to drive, a proper 'English' sports car

-Limited weather protection, unrestored cars will cost big money to get pristine

The Healey 100 first appeared at the 1952 London Motow Show. It was an appealing little car that that caught the eye of BMC boss Leonard Lord. And just like that, the Healey 100 becaame the Austin-Healey 100 overnight as Lord liked it enough to offer to build it.

The timeless, low-slung looks hid running gear plucked from the Austin parts bin, including the four-cylinder 2660cc engine from the A90 Atlantic. It was rorty, honest and - most importantly - fast, and just as Lord predicted, the Healey 100 became an instant overnight success. The USA took the 100 to its heart, and the car was also a substantial success there, boosting BMC's exports and profitability usefully.

And today, it's an enduringly appealing sports car that continues to win new friends.

Ask Honest John

My Austin Healey gets very hot inside - can you suggest anything to help?

"I have an Austin Healey, which is very hot inside when driving due to engine and gearbox heat. I've added heat insulation material under the carpets but it is still too hot, especially on the passenger side. Are you aware of any product designed to insulate from heat which can be added to the floor and bulkhead?"
Healey Hotfoot is a well-known condition. You can take some steps to rectify it, but I'm not sure you'll ever get rid of it. First of all, check that the factory heatshields are where they should be and all the holes in the bulkhead are sealed up with the correct grommets. Fitting more modern carpets with insulation will also help. Products such as Dynamat can keep heat (and noise) to a minimum.
Answered by Keith Moody

Replacing a classic with a modern car - what should I buy? `

"After 19 years of using my Austin-Healey 100/4, I have decided to sell as I can no longer cope without power steering. I want to replace it with a relatively modern petrol convertible with as high a driving position as possible and have thought about a MINI or Volkswagen Golf. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. Budget up to £15K."
You must know that auction values of Austin Healeys and particularly of 100/4s have shot up over the past couple of years. Yours could be worth £30k - £50k, or even more. MPVs and SUVs are easiest to get in and out of, and if you can get £35k + for your Healey, adding £15k buys a Range Rover Evoque convertible: Putting the Healey money in the bank and just using £15k opens you to a variety of convertibles though none apart from a Jeep or a LandRover Defender as high as the Evoque. Sublime to ridiculous: Lexus IS250Cs are a bit thirsty but extremely smooth even with the top down. FIAT 500Cs have great seats, quite high driving positions and are easy to get in and out of.
Answered by Honest John

Thanks for advising me to auction my 1956 Healey BN2!

"Regarding your recommendation to put my part-restored LHD 1956 Healey BN2 in the Historics auction on 1 September, the car sold for £21,250, £7250 over the top estimate. I think I probably owe you a drink. Very many thanks for your most excellent advice."
I know. I was there. Very, very pleased for you. The Aston Martin DB5 in the auction sold for £300,000 + commission, £40,000 over its highest estimate. The right cars are now making the sort of money from investors that used to be associated with fine art. A 1971 Fiat 500 that David Cameron once bought for his wife’s birthday comes up for auction on 17 November and may well exceed its top estimate of £12,000, just like your Healey did.
Answered by Honest John

Is this British 'Woody' a Triumph Dolomite?

"My American buddy asks if this British ‘Woody’ is a Triumph Dolomite?"
No. It's a Healey 2.4-litre, built 1946 - 1954. The high-set lights date it 1950 - 54. It has a 2443cc 4-cylinder Riley engine. Quite quick for its day, and would probably do 100mph when new.
Answered by Honest John
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