Austin-Healey 100S and 100M (1954 – 1956) Review

Austin-Healey 100S and 100M (1954 – 1956) At A Glance


+Brilliant performance from the S, which was essentially a road-legal racing car, M - for Modified - less so, but a great canvas for racers to build upon

-Spotting a genuine M is hard, quite a few replica Ss have been built so be careful, you'll pay dearly for one of the 50 100S models.

Almost as soon as the Austin-Healey 100 had gone on sale, its maker was developing faster versions. The most impressive of all came first - the 100S was created to go racing. But it was a car that privateers could buy from the factory. Fifty examples of the 100S were built, although only six stayed in the UK.

The ‘S’ actually refers to the Sebring 12-hour race in Florida, where a prototype finished in third place 1954. Based on the 100, the 100S had a stiffer chassis and more aluminium body panels. Brakes were discs front and rear. The engines had the same capacity but a different block casting and aluminium Weslake head. Larger SU carburettors were fitted and the result was 132bhp. Rare and fantastically valuable today - and it's possible to buy authentic replicas today - just be careful that the one you're looking at is one of these.

The 100 was further developed for privateer racers, and its appeal extended accordingly. The factory has already  offered as an upgrade kit that could either be retro-fitted or specified from new. If the latter option was chosen, the car became known as the 100M, the letter standing for ‘Modified.’

In 1955, the 100M became a model in its own right. Its engine – tuned to Le Mans specification – boasted 110bhp, the strapped-down bonnet had louvres in it to help keep things cool, and there was stiffer suspension and an anti-roll bar.