Classic British Project: 1955 Austin-Healey 100/4

The person who decides to take on this 1955 Austin-Healey 100/4 (BN1) is facing a major restoration project, but in my own opinion, the appearance of the 100/4 ranks only second to the Jaguar E-Type Roadster when it comes to attractive British sports cars. The little Healey is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is listed for sale here on eBay. After initially opening at $2,500, steady bidding has pushed the British classic up to $5,910 in a No Reserve auction.

The body of the Healey is certainly looking pretty crusty, and this is a car that will represent a full frame-off restoration project. The floors will need to be replaced, and the shell itself looks like it might have received some repairs in the past, so will need to be stripped back to bare metal to establish just how bad it actually is. It looks like a few items such as the rear bumper are missing, but the remainder of the external trim appears to be present. The windshield is also present and looks like it is in good condition.

Once again, the interior of the Healey is all present but will need complete restoration. It doesn’t look like the car has spent any significant time exposed directly to the elements, so items such as the gauges should be okay. The reassuring thing with this interior is that it is definitely able to be salvaged. The dash needs restoration, the seats and door trims need new upholstery, but all of the parts that could be required are readily available, and are surprisingly affordable.

Powering the Healey is the 2,660cc 4-cylinder engine which allowed the car to reach a claimed top speed of 109mph. This is backed by a manual transmission, which sends the power to the rear wheels. With only 90hp on tap, it was the fact that the 100/4 was a relative light-weight that allowed it to produce reasonable performance figures. While this car doesn’t run, the engine does at least turn freely. Some of the missing parts from the engine are sitting in the car’s trunk, although I haven’t been able to spot the carburetors. As with so many British sports cars from this era, the engine in a 100/4 is not a particularly complex item, and if a rebuild is required, it could conceivably be completed in a home workshop.

The Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 is a car that was built in reasonable numbers, with 10,030 cars rolling off the production line. They have been a firm favorite with historic racers for many years because they are a light car that can provide surprising levels of performance with little work. This one needs a full restoration, but it is a classic where replacement parts can be sourced both easily and at a reasonable price. When you look at the relative value of a BN1, you can begin to understand why bidding on this one has been quite steady. Finding a project car under $20,000 is a bit of a rarity, while a reasonable example can be had for around $40,000. From there, the sky is the limit, and a truly pristine example can fetch up to $85,000. Those sorts of prices certainly leave some room to move on a financially viable restoration project.


  1. lhm

    Besides all the rust issues from your knees down,
    the left frame rail in the picture seems to show quite
    a bit of bumps, dents and does appear to be a little s shaped.
    Might be parts car at best, check for water in the trans and rear end and motor.
    Still a very cool car

  2. Had Two

    Uh…kinda rough……..

    Like 2
    • Pat

      Uh,,,,the carburetors are right where they are supposed to be….attached to the drivers side of the engine….

      Like 7
  3. Fossil

    It’s lighter weight now with half of the tin-ware rusted away, may increase the terminal speed by a few miles per hour.
    For mine – too far gone!! Part-out only!!

    Like 3
  4. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    ” this is a car that will represent a full frame-off restoration project. ”
    .Experience with these, and looking at the pictures, I think once it it is ” frame off “, you will find it needs a NEW FRAME too…

    Like 8
    • Brakeservo

      I don’t recall these having a separate frame that the body can be removed from.

      Like 2
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Owned 2 of these, both ’55s, restored one. If the one that we restored looked like this we’d still be working on it and be huge dollars in debt.

    Like 5
  6. Ben T Spanner

    I owned 4 100-4’s. This reminds me of my own barn find. The outer tin was good, but as the tires deflated the frame and floors came into contact with a pile of manure. Now it would be restored, then it was a parts car.

    Like 1
  7. Del

    The owner must be bidding ?

    Like 1
  8. bobhess bobhess Member

    The Healeys had separate frames until the last one. Don’t care much for separate frames but a lot of Healeys have been saved because of it. There are several companies building new frames, the originals being super prone to rust.

    Like 3
  9. Jimbosidecar

    I bought a ’56 100.4 when I was 15 for $300. Got it running and drove it for 2 years of high school. Then the motor spun a bearing and I couldn’t find replacements anywhere ( way pre Internet). So I ended up s liking it for what I paid for it. I believe a lot of the body was aluminum and other than surface rust, the under carriage was in prett good shape as well. It sure would keep your feet worm winter or summer

    Like 1
  10. SMS

    Met a fellow who’s father raced one. After his father passed he went to the garage and pulled out the car. Had been sitting for years. Looked somewhat similar to this. He put in a new frame, rebuilt the brakes, suspension and motor. Washed the body and vacuumed the interior.

    Ran great and looked shabby. Thing is he wanted to keep all the lettering as his father left it and sit on the same seat as his father had.

    To me the car looked great and after hearing the story even better.

    Like 1
  11. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    The article said it’s from Salt lake. Looking at that body I suspect it’s more likely this car was IN Salt Lake, & for a long time!

    Like 1
  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Is Keith off today ?

    Like 1
  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Jul 07, 2019 , 7:48PM
    Winning bid:US $9,578.00
    [ 16 bids ]

    Like 1

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