Austin Healey 100/4 review | CCFS UK

In the shadow of its little brethren for many years, we believe it is time for the 100/4 and its derivatives to slip into the light…

The first big Healeys were launched in 1952 at the London Motor Show after being developed by Donald Healey, who based his car on the Austin A90 Atlantic. Fortunately for Healey, the new sports car impressed the Austin hierarchy, who immediately began building the car in Longbridge, along with the A90.

It used the same 2660cc four-cylinder engine as the Atlantean, but its slender aerodynamic shape allowed it to hit 100mph – hence the “100” moniker. The 100M and 100S versions (above) are the most in demand, and 14,634 examples were built, before being replaced by the 100/6 in 1956.

Vital Statistics

Austin Healey 100/4

engine 2660 cc / 4 cylinders / OHV

Power (bhp @ rpm) 90bhp @ 4000rpm

Torque (lb ft @ rpm) 144 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

maximum speed 109 mph

0-60 mph 11.1 seconds

consumption 30 mpg

Motion vector 4 speed manual

What are you looking for

Structure and structure

It is more cost-effective to repair or replace worn out mechanisms than to correct a bad bodywork, so it is worth buying the best example you can afford.

It is also a good idea to consult a professional before making a purchase, as the 100/4 structure is remarkably complex and is known to hide rot well. Being a soft cover, the first thing you should check is water ingress – make sure the carpet is dry and not discolored. Inspect the footwells, and check for any signs of rust, moisture, or poor repairs. Also, be sure to check where the footrest meets the sills, before getting under the car to double-check the outside sills. Any signs of scaling here should be taken as a warning sign – the inner sill is likely to be in much worse shape. Be careful with a freshly applied underlayment – it can be used to hide rot.

While checking the sills, take a look at the condition of the doors – they may be subject to rust along the bottom. Even minor rust here can be a very expensive repair. When moving under the vehicle again, make sure the front chassis bars are in good shape, especially where they meet the hood. The floor of the box can also be a weak point, so remember to lift the rug and get a good look.


Early BN1 models were equipped with exactly the same 2660cc four-cylinder engine as the Austin A90, mated to a three-speed manual gearbox. The 100M models ran in 1955 and used a cold air box, higher lift camshaft and higher compression ratio.

In general, these engines are incredibly powerful and capable of covering huge miles, but eventually rebuilding will be required. Water usually seeps between the head and the block, so check the oil filler for signs of mayonnaise. Ideally, you’ll want to actually address this issue – check for directories in the service file. Make sure to check the oil level as well, as these engines are notoriously thirsty, sometimes only using up to a pint at 250 miles. Listen for any clicking or rattling sounds – it should run quietly and smoothly. The water channels in the engine are also subject to decomposition, the same applies to the coolant. Installing an electric fan can mask overheating problems – it’s best to look for a prior motor bar guide to sort out the problem.

running gear

A 1950s steering box can be labor intensive to keep in good shape; The owner can tell you a lot more about how to take care of it than any saved file.

It has to be added regularly, and any ambiguity can mean that rebuilding is expensive. Don’t expect a talking deal with that.

When driving a test drive, pay special attention to how the car rides. Loose springs can make a car too low from the rear, while bushes and dampers tend to wear out quickly. If the flight is disruptive or sloppy, you may need to budget for alternatives. Polybushes are more expensive than you might think and can be tricky to fit.

Interior Design

All of the original seats will be leather, but most will be rearranged at this point. Authenticity is precious, providing matching condition. The skin can dry out easily, so look for signs that it has been well nourished and treated over the years. Any moisture escaping from the roof can make a mess here, so again it is essential to check that the hood is intact. Seats can be uncomfortable, despite the Healey’s reputation on long trips.

There’s not much to worry about on the electrical side of things – just check that everything works.

our judgment

Early Austin Healey makes great financial logic, with values ‚Äč‚Äčthat are sure to rise with the years. When economists talk about classic cars being better than money in the banks, people immediately think of “Type E” – but they should think of 100/4. Investment aside, the Big Healey is a beautiful car with rock-solid mechanics that has the beauty and proportions that other classics would envy. It’s the kind of car that your other half will love.

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