Don’t Worry, It Unbolts! 1955 Austin Healey V8

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Reader Doug T. sent in this 1955 “Nasty Boy” Austin Healey 100-4 that someone has taken some extreme liberties with. I know that Gerry Coker was never particular satisfied with the original 100-4 nose (they parked the prototype at its debut car show and hid the nose with a potted plant) but I don’t think many of us would be more pleased with this version! The car is located in Thousand Oaks, California and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently at $9,600 but the reserve has not yet been met.

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It actually doesn’t look too bad to me from this view; obviously very Cobra-ish with the flares, side pipes and wide wheels. The seller tells us it was built in the 1960’s, and features fiberglass over foam flares, fender vents, and that…grille. I’m sure someone, somewhere, liked the way that looked…at some point. Although the bumperettes aren’t to my taste, they do appear relatively well constructed, as do most of the rest of the modifications, or at least what we can see of them. By the way–the seller added that the grille will unbolt and you can replace it with a regular one–hurray! I found one here on eBay that’s currently at $78!

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It looks like the front flare on this side has some damage–a closer look at that might tell us more about the construction. The seller tells us that they have owned several V8 Healeys and this is their favorite. They are selling off a major portion of their collection (the Pantera is for sale as well according to the listing, although it doesn’t have its own auction) and right now the Healey is joined by this 1958 Triumph chopper. There’s an old Chevy gasser as well that’s visible in the pictures of the Triumph.

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While the frame doesn’t look too bad at all, there are some corrosion issues around the rear valence at the bottom, and I’m sure about some of the modifications that were done. You’ll have to judge those for yourself.

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Parts of the interior don’t look bad. The seats, while not original by any means, seem to fit ok, and the dash isn’t too bad, but I wish they had sourced gauges that look similar to each other.

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This is a small block Chevy attached to a Muncie four speed transmission. The seller tells us it runs off a bottle with no unusual noises. While there’s a lot of work left to get this once back on the road, that’s encouraging at least. Overall, this is an interesting car. You’d never want to try to return it to original — there are plenty of other cars to do that with. Any “nasty boy” fans out there?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    This is very similar to the AH 3000 ( may have been a 100-6) with the small block Ford at the “gymkana” rallies I saw years ago. Someone, I’m sorry who, termed it the “AH Cobra”. That says it all. That guy cleaned up on everyone there. This, however, may not be able to carry the “Cobra” part, being a SBC, but I’d bet dollars to donuts, it’s just as much fun. Front end is a bit odd, but hang on, this will wake you up. Very cool find.

    • Dave Wright

      The guy I bought my lotus 11 from had a similar car he called a Cheveely. It was really fast.

  2. sir mike

    Should be a crime against humanity….

  3. Dolphin Member

    This is what happens when a guy has an old Healey and a bad case of Cobra envy.

  4. Jim C

    This is a kit car not a Healey

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      JIm C., this started out as a Healey, not a Kit Car.

      • Jim C

        I’m afraid not – this was never an actual Healey – they sold these kits and this is one of them. It was probably from a place called Classic Roadsters, now out of business, but likely an older one from the 70’s or 80’s.

        This car isn’t even metal.. why can’t anyone see that?

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greeting All,

        So Jim, you telling me the kit copied the frame and chassis?

        See the picture.

        Somehow, I dounbt it as there are easier donors.

        Yes, I do know the underside of these intimately.

      • Dave Wright

        This is an original car that someone (common at the time) put fiberglass fender flares on and faired them out with bondo. The cops would give you a ticket if your tires extended outside your fenders. This was a feeble attempt to get around that so they could run wide tires with the big engine……Ross is correct as usual.

  5. MH

    Who cars about this car, I’d rather have the pantera in the background. It’s amazing to see one so dirty.

    • Moose Feather

      Isn’t that two Pantera’s ?? and that blue one behind the bushes is possibly a 3rd.

  6. Jeffro

    Even though I have owned a couple MG’s and a Spitfire, I’ve never been a big British car guy. I do have to admit, I like this.

  7. Blindmarc

    The way they should have been built in the first place……

  8. Mike MacLean

    It was actually Donald Healey that did not like the front grill treatment and ordered the car with the nose against a pillar in the exposition hall. Coker had designed it and liked what he had designed. Donald was nervous about the front end until the public reaction to the car proved Coker’s design was a hit.

  9. Rick II

    This is a true two seat model, no butt buckets. A rare model indeed and sought out by the big Healey crowd. Can’t say I enjoy the custom job inflicted here.

  10. Sidedraught

    If this overpowered wacky looking beast wasn’t on the other side of the planet to me I would buy it and keep it looking just like it is. Take it drag racing, to motorkhanas, to hillclimbs, anything that I could enter it in and have a ball. Then on Sunday mornings do burnouts at cars and coffee.

  11. Jack Quantrill

    This is a hideous ruination of a fine motorcar! Donald Healey is spinning in his grave!

  12. Mike Burnett

    Oh dear! Especially considering that genuine 100-4 prices have skyrocketed, overtaking the 3000, even though the 4-cylinder engine was disappointing compared to the later 6 cylinder cars; but is a fold down windscreen worth tens of thousands in car value?

    • Kent Pearson

      No the 4’s put out nearly the same horsepower and were way lighter, as was the engine itself. It was the 4’s that won at Le Mans.

  13. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    MIke B. The 100-4 was a better handling and lighter car speed was equivalent as the Six’s weight negated any of the displacement gains.

  14. Tommy

    it’ll buff out!

  15. Healeyguy

    That looks like an original 100-4 Healey that was altered. I do love a good Nasty Boy when built well. One of Carroll Shelby’s early ideas for a chassis met a dead end when BMC showed little interest in selling Austin-Healey rolling chassis to him and that’s when he went over to AC about their Ace.

    That car is going to need alot of work from what can be seen. I would take the whole suspension out and do something more modern. Another problem I see is it’s using the original chassis and they are notorious for rotting from the inside. I remember seeing a AH 3000 running an autocross course on Cape Cod break in 2 from a rotted frame.

  16. Blindmarc

    A Walmart electric cart could beat it in stock form…,.

  17. wes

    I may be incorrect, but most if not all Healeys of that era were aluminum bodies, not fiberglass. Had to order new front fenders & hood due to watching two gals in 64 Chevy convertible. It took 8 to 10 weeks to get them from England.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Fenders, doors and hoods were steel (unless it’s a 100-S!) and shrouds front and rear were aluminum. Leads to a lot of electrolytic corrosion in the joints between the two!

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