200 MPH Club? Aluminum Austin-Healey Racer

Is your car quick, or is it fast? An odd question, some might think, but automotive enthusiasts know the difference references acceleration vs. top speed, respectively. This custom-bodied Austin Healey had one goal… go as fast as possible. Facts about its history are as slippery as the aircraft aluminum body, but the current owner of this streamlined Austin-Healey hopes to learn more. Maybe you can help! The retired racer in Roselle, Illinois wears stickers from the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1960 and the a “Grant 200MPH Club” member. Check out the whole story here on ahexp.com.

It takes more than a chimpanzee with a hammer to beat aluminum into compound curves while maintaining reasonable symmetry. Take a moment to admire the graceful curves and practical touches like open wheel arches that keep the body low and minimize its air-slicing frontal area. Air needed for cooling and combustion routes directly to the mechanical bits, and all remaining molecules are invited to slip by as gracefully as possible.

Bow-Tie fans may recognize the 327 cid small block Chevy engine. Normally historical race cars are restored to a particular point in time. As the 1953 (or 55?) chassis pre-dates the 327, the new owner may target a date in the 1960s. While the engine is not currently running, the owner feels confident that it could, with minimal effort.

This article came with the car’s paperwork, though it offers few data points to answer historical questions. Of course the “200 MPH Club” sticker may just be a sticker. Research continues. Do you think this Chevy-powered Austin-Healey could hit 200?

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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Come up with a proven history and you’ve got a Vintage race car to play with. No history you’ve got nothing….

    Like 8
  2. Rosko

    The builder got skillz!

    Like 8
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Donald Healey did build a Bonneville car based on the Healey 100 with the 4 cylinder engine but used some of the sheet metal of the original car and added a streamlined nose. This car with the complete hand formed aluminum body is another brand of cat. Either way, I would not feel too comfortable going Bonneville speeds on wire wheels.

    Like 3
  4. Jay Morgan

    No aerodynamics with that roll bar hanging out there. That part like looney for its purpose. Makes no sense. 2 mirrors ? Great rat rod tho.

    Like 5
    • jaymon1962

      Yeah, mirrors aren’t in great demand at Bonneville. Cool car, though.

      Like 2
  5. ArchitectureOnWheels

    Power to weight and aerodynamics can certainly enable this creation to hit the 200 mph mark. No skepticism here. As the driver, I would be concerned with becoming airborne or losing directional stability in the steering as the nose became lighter. Interesting and imaginative creation.

    Like 5
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Google Donald Healey’s Bonneville Race Car and you get a good comparison with this one.

    Like 1
  7. Don H

    Ok what part of it is Austin Healy ?

    Like 3
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    The Healeys have a pretty stout frame and running gear. That’s probably what is under this car considering the spoked wheels and the disc/drum brakes.

    Like 1

    I can see it reaching 200 MPH if you find a really high cliff to push it off.

  10. Scott Moler

    Nice to see an article about this car. Thanks Todd. I am the original poster at the ahexp link. Im still searching for any clues about history. Car was apparently at 44th Bonneville Nationals in 92 according to another body sticker, looks original. The 1960 sticker is a repro but I wonder if it was there that year. Appears to be some sand or salt in w.wells, from 92?Fortunately no corrosion.
    Im debating whether to rebuild the Carter carb and try starting. Eng does turn. I dont know if reg gas is good idea. Need to look at internals but hesitant to rip into anything
    I dont know the story on the side mirrors. Same with tailights, I dont know if theyre wired. Not sure when the electric fan was installed either. Damage to front tunnel is old. May be from a tow or ramp incident. No idea about 200mph status. Seems possible to me.
    I will update original post soon with more details. Scott

    Like 1
    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      Great to hear from you, Scott. Numerous stories and magazine articles chronicle the effort required to hit 200 MPH, and doing so (or owning a machine capable of it) would be a real achievement. Regardless you have a fascinating car, and we wish you the best with it. Please update us here if you learn more about it, and thanks for your comment!

      Like 1

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