FEATURED AUCTION - 1956 AUSTIN-HEALEY 100M BN2 LE MANS
Desirable and rare factory 100M Le Mans Healey, one of just 640 factory Le Mans cars.
Estimate (US$): 180,000 - 220,000
2,660cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
2 SU Carburetors
110bhp at 4,500rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Desirable and rare factory 100M Le Mans Healey
*One of just 640 factory Le Mans cars
*Offered with sizable history file, Heritage and Le Mans Registry Certificates
*Comprehensive restoration performed
*Retaining matching-numbers engine and body panels
Following the Austin-Healey 100's sensational debut at the 1952 Motor Show, the works had entered two mildly modified cars in the 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour Race. They finished in 12th and 14th places, a highly 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 1¾" SU HD6 carburetors, plus special inlet manifold and cold air box, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs, and a distributor with alternative ignition advance curve. With the kit installed, power increased from the standard 90 to 100bhp.
From October of 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, a stiffer front anti-roll bar, special Armstrong front dampers, and a louvered bonnet. Power increased to 110bhp and top speed, with the windscreen folded flat, was within a whisker of 120mph. The number of BN1s converted by their owners is unknown, but 1,159 cars—mostly BN2s—were built or subsequently modified to 100M specification between 1955 and 1956. Of these, approximately 640 were completed at the factory, some 544 of which were exported to the USA.
THE CAR OFFERED
Offered here is an extraordinary example of the increasingly popular and rare, factory 100M Le Mans Healey, eligible for some of the most prominent motoring events around the globe. According to its Heritage Trust Certificate, this fine Austin-Healey was completed at the Longbridge Austin-Healey works on June 6, 1956. A BN2 model, this example benefits from having been factory equipped with the 100M Le Mans package, including a louvered hood, cold air intake, and other performance enhancing details. Furthermore, it featured the four-speed overdrive transmission, and the numerous smaller improvements implemented during the course of production since the introduction of the BN1 in 1953. The left-hand-drive Austin-Healey was equipped with a heater, miles-per-hour speedometer. and a laminated windscreen. It was finished in black with Reno red coves, over black upholstery and weather equipment. Like most of these iconic British roadsters, this BN2 was destined for the North American market.
The Healey's early history remains unknown, but in the 1990s it emerged when it found its way into the collection of Sharon and Dick Gunthell of North Salem, NY. During their ownership, a thorough restoration was performed on the rare Austin-Healey by Wappinger Falls, NY-based Lakeside Auto Cosmetics. Many photos and receipts from the comprehensive restoration can be found in the sizable history file accompanying the sale of the car.
This fine example of one of Britain's most iconic Roadsters looks and performs like a true sports car should. On a recent test-drive, the BN2 100M Le Mans offered spritely acceleration, good braking and handling, and a smooth gearshift. Equipped with the desirable 100M Le Mans upgrades from the factory, the BN2 is true to the model's performance heritage, and would be a wonderful entry on a number of classic car driving events and rallies. The Healey's engine and body tags are still intact, and match the Heritage Trust Certificate. Overall, this wonderful example of Austin-Healey's excellent 100 BN2 should offer its next owner much joy and driving excitement.
In addition to the aforementioned history and restoration file, this 100M Le Mans is offered with owner's handbook,100M Le Mans Registry Certificate, and the British Motor Industry-issued Heritage Trust Certificate. Mille Miglia eligible, the classic 100M Le Mans Healey remains one of the most popular mid-century sports cars ever produced, and this fine example deserves serious consideration.