- Upgraded to “Le Mans” specification
- Modernized with a “Healey 5 Speed” manual gearbox
- Numbers-matching inline four-cylinder engine according to BMIHT certificate
Three milestones marked the early evolution of the Austin-Healey: the introduction of the sleek, minimalist Healey 100 at Earls Court in October 1952, the successful entry of three Healey 100s in the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the presentation of the Austin-Healey BN2 with improved performance and reliability in October 1955.
The Le Mans modification kit could be dealer-installed or ordered through BMC, allowing 100 M components to be installed on BN1 or BN2 models. Upgrades included a louvered bonnet, leather bonnet straps, larger carburetors, aluminum air box, high-lift camshaft, and high-compression pistons. The engine upgrades increased output to approximately 100 horsepower.
This 1954 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN1 left the factory completed in left-hand drive destined for North American export. It was completed on 17 June 1954 and delivered new to the Austin Motor Company of America finished in Spruce Green over a Green interior. It was further equipped with 12-volt electrics, 590 x 15 tires, Smiths miles-per-hour speedometer, SU H4 carburetors, and a rear axle ratio of 8 to 33. It is presumed the car was upgraded to the later 100 M (BN2) “Le Mans” kit at some point in its life, though it is unknown if it was dealer-installed.
Today this 1954 Austin-Healey 100-4 BN1 “Le Mans” presents nicely, having benefitted from a restoration years ago. The car is finished in red with a black convertible top and black tonneau cover. The front bumper has been removed, replaced by fog lights mounted to the front bumper brackets. A louvered bonnet is held in place by leather bonnet straps, and the windshield can stow flat for high-speed runs. The car rides on chrome knock-off wire wheels wrapped in Michelin XZX tires, with a full spare in the trunk.
According to its accompanying British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate, the car is powered its numbers-matching inline four-cylinder engine. The gearbox has been upgraded to a Healey 5 Speed manual. The interior is trimmed in black with red welting and features a passenger grab handle, dash-mounted rearview mirror, and Smiths instrumentation including a 120-mph speedometer and 6,000-rpm tachometer. A beautiful wood-rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel with a factory-style horn button rounds out the interior.