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The Austin-Healey 100 S – Built for Racing – By Racing Specialists

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Brochure from author’s collection.

For Austin-Healey enthusiasts, the Holy Grail always has been and always will be the sensational 100 S. Of the 73,728 Austin-Healeys built, only 55 were 100 S models, making it the rarest and most desirable sports car that Austin-Healey ever built.

Produced from February to November of 1955, these handmade, aluminum-bodied high-performance Austin-Healeys were marketed specifically to racers who wanted to compete on the world stage. From Sebring to Le Mans to the Mille Miglia, the 100 S was quite successful.

Almost as rare as the car is a factory-issued 100 S brochure. While we don’t know just how many were printed, it was well done with all the details about the special 100 S clearly listed on a two-page spread. The brochure consists of a single sheet of paper, which folds down to 8¼ x 10¾ inches; it was printed in just two colors – black and green. On the cover page, in the lower right hand corner is a hand-stamped number 141.

When fully opened, there are four photographs showing the car’s various details, including the combination oil filter/cooler, engine, grille, cockpit, and the Dunlop disc brakes. In the center there’s a letter from Donald Healey, which reads:

THE AUSTIN-HEALEY “100 S”

Since its inception, the Austin-Healey “100” has had  many Competition successes both in standard and modified forms. The cars which ran so well at Le Mans in 1953 were fitted with modifications which have since been made available to owners.

In September, 1953, at Utah, all Records in Class “D” up to 18 hours’ duration were broken at over 121 m.p.h.

Further engine developments have since been made which have been thoroughly tested during the past year in such events as the Sebring Grand Prix, in which the Austin-Healey won its Class and was third in general classification. Disc brakes were first used by us in this event and proved phenomenal. This success has given the car its title “S” for Sebring.

The prototypes of the “100 S” were further developed during this year culminating with the great success at Utah in August, 1954, when one averaged 132 m.p.h. for 24 hours – a higher speed for this period than any other car up to 5 liters has ever averaged over such a distance – a certificate of performance was issued for the car by the American Automobile Association giving a mean speed of 143.13 m.p.h. over the measured mile.

Two years of intensive development work have gone into the already well-proven power unit, the major development being the new four port aluminum cylinder head designed by Britain’s greatest engine design specialist, Mr. Henry Weslake. The power now obtained is in excess of 130 B.H.P. and various modifications have been made to the engine such as nitride hardened crankshaft, tri-metal bearings, strengthened connecting rods, to withstand the extra stresses involved.

From these prototypes, the “100 S” has been developed and the production model offers the highest performance sports car available at its price today.

These cars will be hand assembled and road tested in our Racing Department at Warwick.

Donald Healey

A copy of the certificate mentioned above is printed on the back cover, along with a listing of all the records broken by the 100 S. My copy was given to me by my friend Bud who collected all sorts of Austin-Healey literature. It now takes precedence in my Austin-Healey literature collection.