Arizona

16-17 January 2014

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Lot 35

1956 Austin-Healey 100M 'Factory' Le Mans BN2 Roadster

  • Chassis no. BN2-L/230818
  • Engine no. 1B/230818
  • Body no. 12340

$180,000 - $230,000


110 bhp, 2,660 cc overhead-valve inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with overdrive, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and hydraulic front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 92 in.

  • One of 640 factory-built 100M models
  • Meticulous one-and-a-half-year restoration
  • British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate of Origin, 100M Le Mans Registry Certificate, and Gold 100M Certificate


Donald Healey, a top rally driver before World War II, had been the technical director of Triumph and built his own line of Riley-powered sports cars after the war. Looking for a more modern design, he worked up a new car by using the powertrain from Austin’s A90 Atlantic, which was a baroque-looking convertible that was intended for American consumption but had received a disappointing reception. The new car’s engine was a 2,660-cubic centimeter four-overhead-valve unit that could produce 90 brake horsepower, and the transmission was a three-speed version of the Atlantic’s that was coupled with a Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Healey had negotiated the supply of components with Austin’s chairman, Leonard Lord. When the car, badged as the Healey Hundred, appeared at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show, Lord was so taken with it that the two men immediately struck a deal for Austin to produce it. The first cars, re-named Austin-Healey 100, appeared the following spring.



Donald Healey himself was timed at 142.636 mph in a lightly modified example at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1953, and he set a number of speed and endurance records, allowing the advertising department to proclaim: “It’s fast! It’s dependable! It’s record breaking!” Production topped 10,000 in three years, with more than half of them being exported to the United States.



In 1955, a new BN2 version of the Austin-Healey, which had a four-speed transmission, was introduced. At the same time that the BN2 was introduced, a new model, which was based on the BN2 and named the 100M, was also introduced. It featured larger carburetors, a high-lift cam, and a higher 8.1:1 compression. Stiffer front suspension was fitted, with hood louvers and a leather strap completing its bona fides. The engine mods, with the exception of the high-compression pistons, could be dealer-installed as the Le Mans kit, or it was also available at the parts counter for owner application. The factory-installed Le Mans package raised the 100’s 90 brake horsepower to an impressive 110.

This 1956 100M is one of 640 made by the factory, and it was purchased by the current owner in the summer of 2011. A complete restoration commenced after the purchase, which included taking the car completely apart, including the body, frame, engine, transmission, brakes, and steering. Everything was then rebuilt, including a new fuel tank, with new parts where the old ones were not deemed 100 percent correct and in top condition. During inspection, the car was found to have all the criteria necessary to authenticate a factory 100M: all four cockpit surrounds are correctly stamped, as are the boot lid and bonnet, with the latter being the original louvered one. There are correct, marked carburetors and an induction manifold, and the engine compartment has been modified to make room for them. Additionally, this 100M retains its original and correctly stamped distributor. The engine was completely rebuilt with some performance upgrades, such as a lighter flywheel. The original four-speed overdrive gearbox was rebuilt, too.

The seats were very good, with a little bit of patina, which the owner preferred to new leather, and they have been retained. The car is painted in correct Healey Blue over white, with a dark blue interior. New high-quality paint was applied, and new carpets have been installed throughout, including a new boot lining. Extra driving lights were also fitted. A new, smaller wood steering wheel was installed to facilitate entry and exit, but the original steering wheel also accompanies the car.

The restoration was done by Greg Perry at Vintage Motor Cars, of Mesa, Arizona, and it took a year-and-a-half to complete, at a cost of about $90,000. The engine was air flowed and tuned by Jim Unsworth, of flow bench fame.

This Healey has a 100M Le Mans Registry Certificate, a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate of Origin, and a Gold 100M Certificate, as well as all of its correct factory stampings, tools, and side curtains. It is surely one of the best and most desirable examples.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more