Page 1 of 2 Next >> Shortly after the Austin Healey 100 entered production, Donald Healey set about creating a competition version. A racer at heart, Healey himself had won the Monte Carlo Rally as a driver and many of his previous creations were also successfully raced. During the development phase, five Special Test Cars were built, which were not only used for testing but were also used in races and land-speed record attempts. The specification was finalised early in 1955 and that year five batches of ten examples of the Austin Healey 100S were built.
Like the Austin Healey 100 production car, the new racer was built around a steel boxed-section frame with an X-brace providing additional rigidity. Suspension at the front was by double wishbones and coil springs, while the rear-end boasted a live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs. During the development phase both Girling and Dunlop disc brakes were tested. Even though they were significantly more expensive, the more efficient Dunlop discs were ultimately chosen.
The four-cylinder engine was also based on the push-rod Austin A90 engine of the production car but with some crucial modifications. Most prominent was the use of a Harry Weslake designed head cast in alloy. The revised head also helped raise the compression. Breathing through a pair of SU carburettors, the 2.6-litre, four-cylinder engine produced 132 bhp, which represented a 40 bhp improvement over the regular production engine. The Austin four-speed gearbox was carried over and could be used with a choice of final drive ratios.
In addition to featuring a more powerful engine, the 100S was also significantly lighter. The competition car's body was constructed from aluminium alloy panels, mounted on a steel frame. The 100S was easily recognisable thanks to the relatively small, oval grille, which fed fresh air to a special aluminium radiator that was 50% lighter than the standard one. No windshield or bumpers were fitted and the interior was stripped to the bear minimum to further save weight. As a result of the diligent dieting, the 100S tipped the scales at barely over 850 kg. Page 1 of 2 Next >>