Old School Cool: 1954 Austin Healey 327 V8 Hot Rod!

California was ground zero for the rod and custom scene starting in the 1940s. So-Cal Speed Shop, Hollywood Motors, Dean Batchelor, Vic Edelbrock, Von Dutch – never was there more fertile grounds for hot rod creation than Southern California. In recent years, vintage hot rods have gained favor, even earning a berth at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2019. Here on eBay is a piece of this history, a 1954 Austin Healey 100/4 transformed with a 327 CID Chevy V8 sometime back in the 1960s. The bidding is brisk, standing at $5,200, reserve not met. The car is currently in Ventura, California. We have Peter Rettig to thank for the tip!

This unique car comes with a unique story. The seller relates that when he was growing up in Ojai, a biker named Rick used to bomb around town in his Austin Healey hot rod. The seller acquired the car when Rick moved. It had been sitting for some years, so Noble Fabrication was hired to resurrect the car without damaging its historical patina. The car has its original black plates and pink title slip. Its custom louvered hood is tied down with a leather strap and it runs on wide track Torq Thrust wheels behind, with the original knock-off wires up front. The dual exhaust exits just behind the front wheels on both sides.

The motor is a 327 CID Chevy V8 paired with a Muncie four-speed. No word on whether the chassis was beefed up, or what kind of rear end is handling all this power. Details in the listing show the radiator is original. The original steering column skates neatly to the side of the motor. That cool Hilborn-type finned aluminum air scoop fits under the bonnet, amazingly, so someone must have spent some time creating the right cradle for this engine swap.

The interior retains the original buckets, a little the worse for wear. And those gauges are original as is the handbrake. The shifter exits the tunnel farther toward the driver’s hand; a stock Austin Healey 100/4 shifter is situated nearly under the dash. The seller assures us that the car “fires right up and drives like a wild beast!” The front end looks almost demure, with its 100/4 grille and driving lights. Vintage hot rods are all about the stories. The buyer here needs to find as much historical data as possible, even if it means networking to the builder himself. For the sleuth who loves hot rods, this might be the perfect fit.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Set of matched wheels, good paint and upholstery and you’d have a good looking unique and fast piece of automotive creativity. I like this one having owned two ’55 100 4s that were lots of fun, even without the extra horsepower this one has.

    Like 8
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      I love the mismatched wheels, especially if it was built that way. Looks mean.

      Like 15
  2. Paul in Ma

    Ummmmm – Picture Tattoo pointing and shouting “The frame the frame”

    “Details in the listing show the radiator is original.” what?

    “No word on whether the chassis was beefed up, or what kind of rear end is handling all this power. ”

    Whoever buys this, I will pay you $100 if you agree to let me take life insurance out on you with me as the beneficiary.

    Like 8
  3. FrankD Member

    This is the coolest car I’ve seen in years.

    Like 4
  4. Geoff

    Being an “originality” guy and someone whos done deep dive restorations, I would normally shout out “blasphemy” ! BUT, this thing has it all right in the right places. A very cool look. Hope my friends don’t see this

    Like 4
  5. Gudio36

    Steering is not original – it never had a U joint in it and the seats are not original. This requires a substantial amount of cash to make it safely roadworthy but generally a fun sort of ride in an irreverent street racer rebel rouser kinda way.

    Like 1
  6. BlondeUXB Member

    Takes me back to when sex was safe and cars were dangerous…

    Like 14
  7. James hunter

    I love Austin Healys so I am biased but if the final price isn’t too high and the new owner has mechanical skills? I have seen one at the Portland Swap Meet over years asking under 10k.

  8. 19sixty5 Member

    This looks like a riot to drive! The only thing I would change would be an older set of Torque Thrust’s with the dark centers and flip the white letters to the inside. Too much bling for the rest of the car.

    Like 3
    • Steveo

      “A riot is an ugly thing und once you get one started there is little chance of stopping it short of bloodshed.”

  9. FOG

    Another guy in the late 60’s dropped a V8 in a Healey (NW OH). Actually rolled the car pulling out of his driveway when the cigarette lighter landed his lap. Luckily, he survived.

    Like 2
  10. John

    Geoff Healey told me that in 1953 he and Donald fitted a V8 to a Healey 100. He said that it was their desire to keep improving the cars not preserve them. Its seems that BMC got in the way of what could have been amazing.

    Like 2
    • Euromoto Member

      This is a BAT-worthy comment, for sure.

      Like 2
  11. chrlsful

    “…even if it means networking to the builder …”
    jesh, that’s the 1st step ta me…

  12. RoughDiamond Member

    @chrlsful-With all due respect I feel the need to down a couple of shots of whiskey before trying to decipher some of your comments lol.

    Like 7
  13. JimS

    I love that this car is period correct. There will be some who cry that it has not been restored to better than the factory ever dreamed of. I buy old British cars as a time machine that puts me back to what it was like if I had been old enough to own one back then. I never wanted something modified like this; but, it certainly is akin to any 50s or 60s American made and customixed hot rod of the time.

    Like 3
  14. BOBv

    states original seats…. NO, wonder what else is miss stated?

    Like 1
  15. John Arduser

    I test drove what very possibly is this exact car back in the late ’80s off a lot in Reno Nevada. Had the transplanted 327 and the leather strap on the hood. No top in sight. It was such a blast to drive… like a jet powered roller skate! But the brakes were so weak I’m lucky I survived the test drive.

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