miercuri, 20 aprilie 2016

Austin-Healey 100S 1955 - World Of Classic Cars -

Austin-Healey 100S 1955

In 1952, Healey had struck a deal with Austin for them to build his “Healey Hundred” in far greater quantity than his tiny Warwick-based company ever could have. Perhaps the key element of that effort was development and creation of the 100S, a car conceived not to make a profit but rather to boost the marque’s sporting image by its appearance on race tracks around the world.
It was developed throughout 1953 and 1954, and what emerged was a car that looked similar to the standard 100 but had scores of improvements and modifications incorporated to make it more reliable and competitive in racing. As with any racing car, weight was always a principal concern, and to lighten the 100S, an all-alloy body was used, along with an alloy substructure. The result was a curb weight of 905 kilograms, compared to 987 kilograms for the standard car.
Austin-Healey 100S 1955

The engine was also highly modified, resulting in a power increase from 90 to 132 brake horsepower. This was achieved by dozens of modifications, with the most noticeable being a specially designed eight-port aluminium Weslake cylinder head with larger valves, a high-lift camshaft, a nitride-hardened crankshaft, and forged-steel connecting rods. Although labelled an “Austin” engine, they were actually made at the Morris engine plant in Coventry. Other notable features on the 100S are the brakes: Dunlop hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners were cutting-edge technology in the mid-1950s.

Austin-Healey 100S 1955

This car, AHS-3707, is the seventh 100S of the third batch of ten. It was shipped on 21 April 1955 as one of six sent to Gough Industries in Los Angeles, where the popularity of sports car racing was at a fever pitch. This car, finished in the classic and model-signature combination of Old English White and Lobelia Blue, was used exactly as intended, competing in numerous races at Pomona, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and Riverside, amongst other venues around Southern California and Nevada.
Although the original owner is unknown, the ownership history has been continuous since early 1959, when the car was purchased by Bob Schilling from a used car lot on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. He would race the car on and off from 1960 to 1962, until he sold the Austin-Healey to Louise Grey-Young, of North Hollywood, in 1964. It subsequently traded hands several times over the years, with other notable caretakers including well-known and highly respected car collectors Jon Savage and Craig McCaw.
Austin-Healey 100S 1955

The car maintains an outstanding appearance, as it was restored in the mid-1980s at a reported cost of over $200,000, with the work being finished by renowned specialist restorers (Phil) Hill & Vaughn. In fact, under its current ownership, the car has been looked after by Woolmer Classic Engineering Ltd. (which maintains the vast majority of 100Ss residing and competing in the UK). They report:
The original chassis and body plates are fitted. The chassis and body appear to be largely/completely original. The chassis welding is to the correct specification. All of the outer panels are the correct shape and dimensions; the original body number stampings are clearly visible on both the bonnet and boot lid.
Austin-Healey 100S 1955

The interior has been re-trimmed, presumably when the car was restored in the 1980s, the seats now have a nice patina and retain their original foam cushions, giving them the correct shape and feel. All of the instruments and switches are to original specification and presumably original to the car, as is the steering wheel. The correct original gearbox filler cover is still fitted to the tunnel.
The car retains its original engine and a correct-specification 100S gearbox, almost certainly the original for the car. The differential has been changed for a production-specification 3.66:1 unit, which makes the car much more useable on both road and track.
Austin-Healey 100S 1955

The brake callipers retain their original, very rare early Dunlop piston bodies with wear indicators.
Mechanically, the car is in very good order, the engine starts readily and shows the correct oil pressure when hot, and the gearbox has a good change up and down, with synchromesh working correctly in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The four-wheel disc brakes are strong. The steering is direct, and the car drives precisely as a correct-specification 100S should.
Although it has been about 30 years since it was fully restored, this 100S maintains an outstanding appearance, including a lovely patina, which is the result of careful use and proper storage and maintenance. Within just the last few years it has also benefited from considerable attention to mechanical excellence, which included crack-testing and rebuilding all the steering, suspension, brakes, and new wheels. It was last raced at Monterey, California, in August 2012 and then shipped back to the UK, where it was subsequently serviced and thoroughly checked, with the rear axle and half shafts being rebuilt to assure outstanding mechanical condition.