Field Find: 1955 Austin Healey 100-4 BN2

It’s pretty clear that this 1955 Austin Healey 100-4 BN2 has been sitting for a good long time. Heck, there’s a license plate on the front that dates from 1969 (!). It’s listed for sale here on HiBid.com where early bidding is only up to $600, but there’s a full week left in the online auction as I write. The big Healey is located in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, and is being auctioned off with a bunch of American classics, tools, and all kinds of mechanical equipment.

The BN2 is the second generation of 100-4 and reflects some improvements over the original BN1. For example, it features a different transmission that is a true 4-speed (still with Laycock overdrive available) and a more robust rear axle design. Although the trunk (boot) lid on this car shows some damage, there is an extra one included in the sale. I’m surprised there isn’t more damage showing at the fender seams, where the aluminum shroud and steel fenders typically cause electrolytic corrosion.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the dogleg and sill area, where there’s plenty of repair work necessary. The ancient bias-ply tires lend credence to the car being off the road as long as the license plate suggests. I’m pretty sure this is the original Healey Blue color but it could be an old repaint. The BN2 had a short life, as it was only built from August 1955 to July 1956, when it was replaced with the first six-cylinder Big Healey, the 100-6 BN4. (There were two prototype BN3s, for you anoraks out there who are wondering about the skipped number).

I’m surprised to see the interior as intact as it is and am really intrigued by the vintage Lucas box on the driver’s side floor. I’m a sucker for vintage packaging and I love checking out old parts boxes. It’s about the right size for a voltage regulator. Before I forget, thanks to Mike B. for sending in this super-cool auction find!

hate posting a picture as blurry as this, but it’s the best we have–and this is after I tried to sharpen the image with some online tools. What we see is the 2,660 cc engine (intended originally for the Austin A90 Atlantic) that was used in all the 10,030 BN1s and 4,604 BN2s built. A typical long-stroke, small-bore British engine of the time, it’s considered quite reliable although not a spectacular performer in stock form. However, 100-4s in any guise are becoming quite valuable and this car is more than likely going to end up restored. Are you the one to do it?

Comments

  1. Laurence

    My big question would be what’s the rust status of the chassis and the floorboards? If rust isn’t too bad this would be a good long-term restoration project for an amateur who knows Big Healeys well. It could also prove to be a good restoration candidate for a professional Healey restorer. If not someone in one of these two categories, stay away unless you have money to burn.

    Like 5
  2. Bultaco

    There is no way that car has sat outside in New Hampshire since 1969. It may have sat in a barn or carport for that long and been dragged outside relatively recently though.

    Like 6
  3. mike Member

    Rusty Rusty Rusty undercarriage……

  4. Howard A Member

    Oh boy, Jamie, our resident British car expert is going to like this story,,Yesterday, on a tip from the deli guy at Walmart, he said his sister and brother in law were having a yard sale not far away. Another older couple, lived here for years, bailing on Colorado for Florida,,, anyway,,the yard sale was the “Holy Grail” of, and I can’t say “mans” yard sale anymore, heck, probably more women than men do those things today, it had EVERYTHING, naturally, I was overwhelmed, and it was poorly represented, but we talked about a great many things, how screwed up the world is today, the guy, maybe late 60’s said, “btw, did you see my car in the ( open) garage”, Peering around the corner, there it was, a 1967 ( last year for US) A-H 3000, green, wood dash, black top, chrome wires, it looked BRAND NEW!! He said he bought it when he was 19! Needless to say, I was impressed, and apparently, you never know what’s in someones garage. They are awesome cars, even in their beginnings here, but,,extremely expensive to restore, and for a spell, everyone of these, restored, brought 6 figures. I seem to notice, that has eased some,,,to 5 figures,but cars like this just aren’t generating the interest, even though, to me, and Jamie will agree, this is a smokin’ deal for a “Big Healey”.

    Like 5
    • David Jurich Member

      Is the Colorado Healey for sale or was the owner just showing it to you?

      Like 1
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Owned two ’55s, restored one of them. Fun cars but the rust on the restored car took tons of time. The rust out on the right rear quarter panel and rocker tells me there is a ton of work to be done on this one too. If you can do it yourself then you’d have a car that’s got some real value and a lot of fun to drive.

    Like 1
  6. OldGTracer

    Let’s be accurate here, this is not a big Healey. Those are only the later models with the larger 6 cylinder motor.
    I won’t even begin to discuss restoring one of these but as others have already pointed out expect to need a massive infusion of cash.
    As those who race these cars in vintage events will tell you, the 100-4 is a far better balanced and handling car than the later cars. The 4 cylinder can be built up to provide excellent performance without a lot of effort.
    While the Healey market has soared these last 10 years, it has softened somewhat recently. This car, if bought right, could be made whole again as a road car with a lot of work and $$, but unless you’re very competent and able to do most of the work yourself, it’s likely to exceed the market value. On the other hand, turning this into a vintage race car might prove much easier and less costly.

    Like 2
    • healeydays

      The 100-4 is considered a “Big Healey” . The bugeye is the little Healey. I’m the guy who turned barnfinds onto this car. I’ve owned a number of 100-4s and 3000s in the past and always had a sweet spot for the BN2. This one is not for the weak. You need to have a real good restoration game to take this on.

      Like 1
    • MGSteve

      I made the same mistake as a kid. These ARE big Healeys. As a young know-it-all, I turned down two legitimate big Healeys cuz I made the same mistake. In point of fact, these early big Healeys are, to many Healey folks, the most desirable. The windshield folding down flat (oh, what a look!!!) is to die for.

  7. Tom

    If only it were closer to home. My “sickness” for anything Austin (especially Healy’s) would have me bidding on such a rare find. Rust can be the cancer for old iron… but with enough love and attention it can be cured. This little guy deserves that chance. Someone with the right attitude and ability, PLEASE give this the respect it deserves.

    Like 2
  8. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    Amazing, look at all the other cars, parts and automobilia in the auction HD sidecar 56 Fairlane 33 Ford B pickup 1911&14 Model T
    https://newhampshire.hibid.com/lots/other/?apage=4

  9. matt

    Maybe a deal, maybe not, it depends on the condition of all things steel/aluminum.
    Is there any left ?
    How deep are your pockets?
    My Dad would ask me when I saw a Brit car I had to have… Matthew, is that the last one on earth? Are there no more?
    Is this the last one ?

    Like 2
  10. Troy

    To bad it was left to rot outside it looks like it was a fun country cruiser at one time now I think it’s just a parts car

  11. montagna_lunga

    Big or little these ones drive like a tractor. No thanks.

    • healeydays

      I can tell you’ve never driven one especially on a nice windy road…

  12. Tom

    I’d swear Lamborghini was a tractor… If you know how to drive, these drift like no other!

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