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© 2016 Ascott Collection

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1956 AUSTIN HEALEY 100-4 BN2 - Matching numbers - In period "Le Mans" Conversion kit

The Austin Healey 100-4 BN2 is in many ways the quintessential English sports car

The elegance and sobriety of its 1950s body-lines combined with its fine road-holding qualities immediately transport its driver into a world of refinement and contagious pleasure. The BN2 has never fallen from grace. Ever since it was created and right up until the present day, it has always commanded the affection of sports car enthusiasts and has now become one of the most emblematic of all collector cars.

 

In the history of the Austin Healey brand, the BN1s and BN2s were the first to be produced in the series of the “Big Healeys”. The BN1 inherited the superb silhouette of its predecessor, designed by Gerry Coker, but its road performances were significantly improved thanks in particular to the adoption of a 4-speed gear-box. Whereas 10,000 BN1s were produced, BN2 production was limited to only 3,924 cars….

The special racing series such as the M series (referring to the le Mans 24 hours race) and the S series, which were produced in very small numbers, helped to forge the reputation of this unique model in the Healey galaxy. About 519 "Le Mans" Conversion Kits were sold to Austin-Healey dealers or car owners for conversion of standard 100 Austin Healey sports cars to "Le Mans" specifications.

 
A matching numbers car. One of the 519 BN2s with the "le Mans" conversion kit

The Austin Healey BN2 now presented by Ascott Collection is a matching numbers car, fitted from new with left-hand drive. Sold to its first owner in Germany in 1956, it still has its original engine and body. It benefited from "le Mans" convertion kit, making it a rare specimen of a model. The engine number is 1B/230888-M. The body, engine and chassis plates are all clearly the original ones.

 

Kept by one of its owners for 35 years

The recorded ownership chain is practically unbroken since the car was built.

After being delivered to its initial owner in Düsseldorf (Germany), as attested by the constructor’s data recorded in the Austin Healey register, it was purchased by Mr. Sixto Sanchez, a resident of Seguin in Texas USA. It was thus exported to the US between 1956 and 1968. Following Mr. Sanchez’s death, it was acquired on March 29, 1968 by Mr. Dewey W. Davidson Jr., who lived in the same town. On February 12, 1976 he sold it to Mr. Vars Smith, who lived in Liverpool in the State of New York (USA).

 

Remarkably, Mr. Vars Smith kept the car for 35 years, from 1976 to 2011. During the mid 1990s, he decided to start entering his BN2 for historic car races in the United States. To that purpose he carried out a certain amount of work to prepare the car for the race-track. The “racing” preparation consisted mainly in adding a roll bar and a race-approved fuel-tank and in replacing the drum-brakes by disc-brakes. The engine was tuned to enable it to deliver 110 HP instead of its original 90 HP. On the race-track, it looked like a 100 S, with its slotted bonnet and without its original bumpers. This particular BN2 comes complete with its racing log-book and thus a full record of the races it was entered for from 1996 to 2006.

 

In 2011, the car was purchased by a French gentleman driver who brought it back from the USA to France and had some work done to allow it to be registered for road-use. It thus now possesses a French registration document.

Ascott Collection acquired this BN2 in March 2014 and carried out a certain amount of restoration work on it. In addition to having its coachwork restored and repainted, the car received several new fittings, such as the rear suspension blades, fresh fluids and filters, the original fuel-tank, the windscreen, the rev counter, the oil temperature gauge and four 72-spoke wheels.

A certain number of subtle, barely perceptible modifications originally made during the time when the car was racing in the US have been maintained, so as to preserve the unique history of this particular Healey and thus offer a car which is rally-tuned, in the true spirit of the 100 S cars. In particular, the disc-brakes with their significantly improved braking power and durability have been maintained, together with the engine tuning settings which give an appreciable increase in torque and power for greater driving comfort. With its dashboard fitted out with several pressure and temperature gauges, this Austin Healey BN2 definitely plunges its driver into the world of the 1950s car-rallies.

It is now ready and waiting to delight its next owner.

 

SOLD

 

: Austin Healey

: 100-4 BN2

: 1956

: BN2-L/230888

: 1B/230888-M

: 12350

: Tubular

: Steel and Aluminium

: 2.660-litre, in line

: 110 HP

: 4-speed + overdrive

: 980 kg

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