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1956 Austin-Healey 100M dR

1956 Austin-Healey 100M dR

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Published by: David Traver Adolphus on Jun 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/17/2011

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#52
DECEMBER, 2009
The Finest Collector Cars from Around the World
     H   e   m   m    i   n   g   s
    S   p   o   r   t   s    &     E   x   o   t    i   c    C   a   r
    P   e    b    b    l   e    A   u   c    t    i   o   n   :    $    5    0    M     B   a   r   r    i   e   r    B   r   o    k   e   n    !
PEBBLE BEACH & CONCORSO ITALIANO!
 
Austin-Healey Special
LOTUS
LOTUS
TURBO ESPRITSGO RACING
BUYER’S GUIDE
MAZDA RX-7CONVERTIBLE
 
100M
 
SPEEDWELL SPRITE
The Ultimate Healey Road Car Drive Report
SE52-Cover-NEWS Final 2.indd 1
SE52-Cover-NEWS Final 2.indd 1
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      D
       r
        i
    v
 e
R
 p  
o    
r         
  t   
HEMMINGS SPORTS & EXOTIC CAR
 
December 2009
HEMMINGS.COM
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Healey’s
Ultimate Road Car
They made them bigger, but they didn’t make them betterthan the Austin-Healey 100M
D
onald Healey may not have lookedthe part, but he liked life in the fastlane. “Like all men, he liked fastcars, and he certainly enjoyed companyin his travels,” said his son, Brian “Bic”Healey. But where he had to live with thepeople nature provided, when he wanteda faster car, he could have one made..The Donald Healey Motor Company(DHMCo) before 1953, including Nash-Healey and Alvis Healey, was a bou-tique manufacturer—25 of this car, 45of that, and never more than a few hun-dred of anything; 1,287 cars altogetherfrom the company’s first in 1946, through1953, including race cars. Those theycampaigned to great success and fame,but the company remained small, untilDonald Healey met Austin’s Leonard Lordin 1952.After several trips to America (
HS&EC 
 #49), Healey had recognized the potentialin the American market, and his engineerswere working on a sports car he thoughtcould fit between an MG and Jaguar. Hisinitial brief called for a “scaled-downXK120,” wrote the car’s designer, GerryCoker, in
The Healey Book
. ”I explained Ithought he wanted a Healey, not a Jaguar,”and had a fresh design stretched aroundthe chassis’ hard points by late 1951.Thinking about American sales, he wascareful to provide room for his own 6’2”frame, with a distinctive, effective largegrille opening and Donald Healey-speci-fied folding windscreen.Coachbuilders Tickford built the proto-type Healey Hundred in aluminum, andafter testing, Donald Healey used it to seta land speed record for its class, 111 MPH.By the time it was displayed at the 1952Earls Court Motor Show, an agreement wasin place with Austin, so it debuted as theAustin-Healey 100.Healey established an international repu-tation early on with aggressive and success-ful racing at Le Mans and in major rallies,and there was no question that the new100 would race as well. In 1953, as a firsttest run of twenty 100s was in production,Donald Healey and Leonard Lord autho-rized five “Special Test Cars” for enduranceevents. They were built from light alloy,and the Austin Experimental Shop built theengines, which were equipped with larger,dual 1¾-inch SU H6 carburetors with air-box, high-lift cams, racing flywheels anddouble valve springs. They went througha variety of configurations through theirlife spans, and DHMCo further modifiedtwo into full-race 100S models. But theoriginal 100M configuration proved veryeffective, and in 1954 the factory beganoffering a customer Le Mans kit that largelyreplicated their 1953 Le Mans race entries.These kits were sold both over the counter
100Ms were built on fully trimmed base models,and their full slate of options was on the table.Healey gauges changed little over the years. 16½-inch wheel has self-correcting trafficatorturn signal switch in the center, and is here correctly centered, spoke up.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID TRAVER ADOLPHUS
HEMMINGS.COM
December 2009
 
HEMMINGS SPORTS & EXOTIC CAR
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9/25/09 10:14:45 AM
9/25/09 10:14:45 AM

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