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Manufactured from 1953-56, the Austin-Healey 100 was notorious for being a great-looking sports car, capable of reaching speeds over 100 mph without breaking the bank. The original price upon release was 1,063 British pounds.
An iconic staple of the Austin-Healey 100 was the same feature that allowed the car to reach top speeds of 102-1011 mph; a foldable windshield provided aerodynamics along with an interesting design that attracted many buyers in the 1900s.
An electric overdrive allows the Austin-Healey 100 to cruise at 80 mph comfortably with minimal shaking compared to competing models at the time.
The Healey was also known for being light and nimble. Weighing only 2000 pounds with the bulk located at the low-sitting rear of the car made for a quick and stable ride. This low-riding design was revolutionary at the time, especially with the back end being disproportionately lower than the front.
The biggest drawback of owning a Healey today is the heat. While you would think that a convertible design would entail summer drives, this vehicle can be a nightmare in standstill traffic.
The exhaust pipe of the Austin-Healey exhales from the rear just as most vehicles do, but not before traveling between the driver’s legs along the floor of the car. This exhaust radiates a ton of heat, especially when the driver doesn’t have access to the breeze while moving.
Originally — named after the creator Donald Healey — the “Austin-Healey 100” was just the Healey 100.
In 1952, Donald had built a prototype and showcased his Healey 100 during the London Autoshow. The design of the low-cost sports car caught the attention of many in attendance, one of which being Leanard Lord of Austin Motor Company.
Leonard offered to produce the Healey at scale, as well as providing an essential missing piece: the motor. Austin Motor was facing a failure of the A90 Atlantic at the time and offered spare parts to the Healey project, one of which the Atlantic’s 2.6-liter 4-cylinder motor.
As Donald now had more orders for the Healey 100 than he could fill himself, and no working motor, a merger took place. The original title was changed to the Austin-Healey 100.
The four-cylinder motor originally belonging to the A90 Atlantic was an interesting fit, though. The A90 behaved similarly to a truck, delivering massive amounts of torque into the lightweight 2000-pound Austin-Healey. The amount of excess torque made the first gear completely obsolete, resulting in a plate being installed inside of the gearbox to prevent drivers from even trying to use the lowest gear.
Unlike any modern manual car, the Austin-Healey 100 can be started in second, third, or even fourth gear — this automobile doesn’t have any trouble.
The four-cylinder model was produced for three years before Austin Motor decided to push the capabilities of the Healey name. A six-cylinder model was produced from 1956 – 1959, differentiating two models of the Healey by engine size (100/4 and 100/6).
Donald Healey, however, refused the implementation of a six-cylinder engine and excluded himself from the company’s future ventures.
Although the six-cylinder was produced with the aim of creating a faster car, the Austin-Healey/6 barely outperformed the Healey/4. For this reason, Austin Motor quickly migrated toward the 3-liter Healey 3000 as a replacement.
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