Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Period Nasty Boy: 1956 Austin-Healey 100


Of all the Big Healeys produced, the ones built between 1953-1956 will always be my favorites. Sure, the later cars benefited from many improvements, but the purity of the early cars just can’t be beat! The triangular grill was more eye catching than the later oval shape and the fold down windscreen made for one smooth silhouette. The looks were great, but obviously some owners wanted more oomph than the four-cylinder provide. AH tried to appease them by sticking a six in there (100-6, 3000), but a few people decided to take matters into their own hands. Find this “Nasty Boy” project located in Lawton, Iowa and listed for sale here on eBay.


A previous owner of this particular 100 was one of those people who wanted more. So, they ripped out the four-banger and shoved a V8 in there! The conversion was apparently done back in the seventies and although the engine is no longer installed, it still wears the scars from the job. The next owner will need to decide if they want to correct the modifications or just go with the “Nasty” theme. It is a shame that this car was hacked up because, as you probably guessed, these early cars are highly desirable amongst AH collectors.


This car is a BN2 too, which meant that it came standard with a four-speed manual transmission in place of the three-speed (which was just a four-speed with first blocked off). It also benefited from other small improvements without loosing all the charm of the first cars. Most of us assume that a lower cylinder count always means lower speeds, but the 100-6 actually wasn’t any faster than the four-cylinder equipped 100. As the model name implies, this Austin-Healey could hit 100mph with just four pistons!


This car is rough, but is nowhere near as rusty as some of the Healeys we have featured in the past. So, as long as the reserve is set at a realistic amount, this could make a great project for someone. The seller has sourced the correct transmission so the next owner will just need to decide what direction they want to take this project. They could source a four-cylinder and fully restore the car. Or they could cram a V8/4-speed combo in there and just drive it. I know which option would be more fun, but what route would you take?


  1. John M

    Another one that will take wheel barrows of $$$ to restore. Proceed with caution. ;-)

    Like 0
  2. Leo

    Cars like this make me quesrion what really is “sanity”. There really is no way to restore this car and be anywhere remotely close to where you could even break even ( not in this market, nor the next one)!! Sorry guys but to me this is strictly a parts car. Just the interior alone is going to be 8 – 10k!! We are talking just the upholstory guys!! Havent even discussed the instruments yet. Moror? Trans? Add another 10 k into the figures. Thats why i say this is a parts car, nothing more. I dont know how many of you have big healeys but they definetly arent for the “we cheap” crowd. if you are looking for a big Healey the motto “buy the best you can afford” rings clear!!!

    Like 0
  3. Leo

    This car really made me think about the variety of cars posted here, the various states of disrepair, and in the end what ultimately is their “worth”? I mean, unless any of us here have a bank account that only our team of accountants reconcile then somewhere in the equation enters the end “worth”. Hence my question, of the vehicles posted this week which offers the most return on mony spent? My nomination would be the “Big Boy Terraplane”. That truck could be restored or restro rodded and in the end you would not be upside down provided it was done in a quality manner. This car? The only one who is going to be smiling is its current seller!


    Like 0
  4. Dolphin Member

    The car came out of long term storage in Florida earlier this year and went to Iowa. Someone pop riveted sheet metal in to try to deal with areas that were hacked for the V8 install. I’m guessing that the seller bought the car to restore it, but then realized the massive project he has here and is now bailing. That’s the right move for the seller, but IMHO buying this car to restore it isn’t the right move for anyone else.

    Like 0
  5. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I’m surprised by the response here. We have featured AHs in a lot worse condition than this and they were better received. Admittedly, it’s not a project I would want to take on, but I have no doubt that someone will save it. Personally, I would want to try to fix any structural rust and put a V8 back into it. That may be an uncharacteristic route for me or for this site, but if someone already did the damage, why not go with it? It would be cheaper and a whole heck of a lot of fun. You would want to plan on holding on to the the car though because it wouldn’t do anything to help its value.

    Like 0
    • Tim H

      I am totally with you on this one, the fold down windshield makes the car. If it goes at a low enough price it would be a good alternative to a kit car.

      @ leo You are right a restoration could cost 8K on the interior but as a hot rod you don’t have to spend that much. I would rat rod it. I would feel cool riding around with the windshield at about a 30 degree angle with my seat leaned way back, pretending I didn’t care if you saw me or not.

      Like 0
  6. julian

    Lots of aluminium in this car which is why it has survived.
    Best restored in the UK where you have a better chance of Austin engine parts, and a whole industry of other bits including complete trim kits. Worth £50plus completed properly.

    Like 0
  7. jim s

    this work is from back when these were just another old sports car and not worth much. what a project this will be either way but since it has a bid i think someone is willing to take it on. i would hate to see it parted out. nice find..

    Like 0
  8. rancho bella

    I don’t want to start any rumors, but………..looks like the front fenders have had flaring welded to them (gawd…..). As much as I like the older Healeys………..this is best sold to a shop that does em’………as it is a major do.

    Like 0
    • Roadstir

      I think a shop already owns it, there’s a huge restoration shop in Lawton called Healeywerks.

      Like 0
  9. Dan h

    Solid body panels? It seems the word “solid” is used too loosely these days. Nonetheless, it’s still a cool car.
    Better leave the kids college-fund accessible…..you’ll need the extra cash for this one.

    Like 0
  10. Ric Parrish

    I had one when I was in Engineering school at IOWA. I lost it when my little British car repair business burned up.

    Like 0
  11. Carl B.

    Two Thoughts:
    Without the Internet and EBay – back in the 80’s and prior – this car would have been hauled off to the junk yard.

    This is a project for a Master Metal Worker – someone with great skills and who also loves to apply them. That person could put this body in proper shape – enjoy the process – and maybe recover a few dollars per hour for their labor when they sell it. Then let the next person spend the big money on everything else.

    Like 0
  12. Bruce R. Colbert

    ” mostly complete. ”
    Except for that long list of items.

    Like 0
  13. fred

    I agree with the rat rod idea. If you forget the “correct” notion and just drop a crate V8 and four speed in it, get the suspension and brakes in order, etc. you could just drive it and have a blast without spending that much. It would look like the “beater” sports cars we all saw as kids and bring back a lot of good memories – while being able to burn rubber for a quarter mile.

    Like 0
  14. gunningbar

    Sorry…i gotta disagree….i wouldnt put $8-10k into the interior…nor would i go crazy sourcing the correct guages…etc so its NOT a parts car! Its an OLD car that should be put together and ENJOYED..something some people on here cant appreciate. Maybe they need a new interest/hobby.

    Like 0
    • Carl B.

      Or maybe they have enough experience and common sense, to know that putting this back together, so it could be driven and enjoyed – – would make no sense at all.

      Like 0
  15. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Perhaps we should have featured this one instead: http://www.ebay.com/itm/141479088856

    Like 0
  16. Tom Stewart

    Since it’s already been messed with, and restoring it is way to expensive, I’d say just drop a decent engine in the thing, find an interior that would fit, and have fun. But otherwise, it’s a parts car for someone already restoring a Healey (or two).

    Like 0
  17. Graham Lloyd

    Doing my daily check to see what is out there, and guess what I found.


    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Nice, good find Graham! Too bad about the price though… I would love to have one of these, but I’m afraid they are just getting a little too pricey for most of us.

      Like 0
    • Roadstir

      Gone now. What was it?

      Like 0
  18. Richard V

    A college room mate had shoehorned a 327 into an early AH 3000, thing went like hell. BUT… He didn’t bother so spend the relatively little $$ it would have cost in the early 70s to replace the front lever-action shocks. Therefore it was extremely dangerous to drive, especially at speed! It bounced all over the road. If done correctly it would have been a gas to drive!

    Like 0
  19. gunningbar

    I think a mostly intact (just a guess) classic car..sans drivetrain should be kept intact and put back on the rd…even with a wrong engine etc…..maybe 5-10 years down the rd another enthusiast will do more restoring…maybe not….but at least its another beautiful car where it was intended to be….on the rd….not destroyed for parts. I d love to save this… age and health prevent me…..maybe someone would like to put me down and recycle my parts….We do live in a throw away/disposable world…….

    Like 1
    • Carl B.

      Hi gunningbar – – Respectfully, I have to say that I find your statements rather self canceling. If this rusty cut up hulk – was used for parts needed to save/restore a far more financially feasible example – it could help or contribute to that beautiful car you want to see in the road again. Recycling Parts is the exact opposite of a throw away world. In a throw away world, your parts or this hulks parts would simply be thrown away – a new baby would be born and/or a new car would purchased.

      Like 0
  20. gunningbar

    Hi Carl
    I dont want to get into a spraying contest…I dont have ANY idea how far gone this car is….I cant without more info…so its kind of a mental exercise…..I m assuming the chassis is all there and can be “recycled” as a a complete car. ..just add drivetrain etc. I think we re on the same website and “page” for the same reason: we both have a love of old cars…so.. we agree on 98% and discussing the other 2%….I dont think my point about parting out and throwing away are in opposition to one another..just a subtle perspective difference ..We DO live in a throwaway world and parting out (at least it wd appear) a complete chassis is throwing away what might be a viable car (vin #etc)….but since I dont know the actual condition of the car its a moot point…if its too far gone…sure….recycle what one can…if not too far gone..rescue…..I d rather see 2 old Healeys on the road than one…..if possible. I d like to take this chassis put in a drivetrain and just have a crude sports car in my last years…(if its solid enough to be safe!) Stop the rust…replace as necessary and forget the full all out resto…..have some FUN…..dont need no $8k interior for that!

    Like 0
  21. Jim

    At least the third time this overpriced rusted hulk on ebay. If the ‘restoration’ shop can’t do it, who can?

    Like 0
  22. sal sax

    In a world where everything is disposable and cars of this sort are becoming hard to find, fixing and restoring should be considered a noble mission. Of course the rescuer would need a considerable bankroll to place this car back to usable condition. But think of the feeling of pride when completed.
    If the pursuit of happiness is adhered to, it should make no difference what expense be incurred in bringing this wayward beauty back from oblivion.There are plenty of hobbyists out there and am sure that this AH will soon be snapped up by one.

    Like 0
  23. Roadstir

    Avid golfers do not expect a return on their greens fees.

    Some in this hobby view it as a hobby and a challenge to restore life to a neglected/abused masterpiece. Others look at it through an economic filter and I think that’s okay too.

    Let’s just acknowledge these two disparite constituencies in our vintage car world.

    So I say, what other hobby gives you even 50 cents back on your outlay? Waiting….

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.