17-18 August 2012

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Lot 115

1956 Austin-Healey 100M "Le Mans" Roadster

  • Chassis no. BN2L232348
  • Engine no. 1B232348M
  • Body no. 582113778

Sold for $192,500

110 bhp, 2,660 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, twin SU H6 carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, overdrive, independent front suspension with coil springs and anti-roll bar, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and anti-sway bar, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90"

• A documented, factory-built 100M with alloy body

• One of 640 built and approximately 260 known to exist today

• Fresh, complete restoration by specialists Tom and Randee Rocke, of Healey Lane

• Matching-numbers engine; listed in 100M Registry; BMIHT certificate

In response to a BMC-sponsored competition for an all-new sports car using Austin mechanical components, Donald Healey presented his “Hundred” sports roadster at the 1952 Earl’s Court Motor Show. With its sleek Gerry Coker-designed body, chassis by Barry Bilbie, and engineering led by Geoff Healey, the roadster attracted the favor of BMC’s Leonard Lord, and it was quickly renamed the Austin-Healey 100. Series-production commenced early in 1953 and immediately following introduction; Donald Healey’s “Hundred” became an unqualified sports-car legend that was particularly beloved in North America.

Prior to the Mille Miglia and Le Mans 24 Hours in 1953, four BN-1 models were race-prepared by Donald Healey and Roger Menadue, and these cars were the first Austin-Healeys prepared for international competition. The pair entered at Le Mans and were highly successful, taking Second and Third in their class.

The experience gained from these “works” cars resulted in the subsequent high-performance 100M, which remains, without a doubt, the most desirable early Austin-Healey variant. Major 100M upgrades included a high-lift camshaft, larger carburetors, high-compression pistons, free-flowing intake manifold, cold air box, and a special distributor. Engine output increased by 20 hp, and the suspension received larger anti-roll bars, while a Le Mans-specification leather strap retained the louvered bonnet. Production of the 100M commenced on September 5, 1955, and when 100M production ended on July 16, 1956, just 640 examples were factory-built. In addition, roughly 500 "Le Mans" conversion kits were sold to Austin-Healey dealers or car owners to convert standard models to the higher "Le Mans" specification. According to experts, of the 640 cars built at the factory, approximately 260 are known to exist today.

This very rare, factory-built, alloy 100M benefits from a full body-off-frame restoration, freshly completed by the respected experts Tom and Randee Rocke, of Healey Lane. Beautifully presented throughout, the exterior was refinished in two-stage Dupont polyurethane silver, complemented by an interior finished in red leather seats, red vinyl interior panels with matching English wool carpeting, and a special-order red Armacord trunk kit, along with a new, red Everflex soft top, tonneau cover, and matching red side-curtains.

The matching numbers engine, four-speed gearbox, and overdrive unit were rebuilt using all-new parts. The twin 1¾-inch SU H6 carburetors were rebuilt and feature polished domes. The original 140 mph speedometer and 6,500 rpm tachometer were rebuilt as well. New mechanical items include a jet-coated exhaust manifold, a new steel exhaust system, brake lines, master brake and slave cylinders, fuel lines and fuel pump, as well as a refurbished gas tank, new four-row radiator, and all-new electrical components and cloth wiring harness. Furthermore, the rear differential houses 4.11:1 gears, and the four brake drums are jet-coated, concentric-ring units.

Other features include an original 16-inch banjo-type steering wheel, drop-down racing windscreen, re-chromed, original, heavy-gauge bumpers, 48-spoke chrome wire wheels with a set of new Roadspeed American tires (185x15), and a spare tire. Accompanied by full photo-documentation, a 100M “Le Mans” Registry Certificate of Membership, and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate confirming it is indeed a genuine, factory-built 100M, this striking example is simply superb throughout and is offered with a one-year drive line warranty from Healey Lane.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

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Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more