The Austin-Healey 100, designed by Donald Healey, caused a sensation at the 1952 London Motor Show. Initially intended for the US market, it used major components from the Austin Atlantic saloon. Originally badged as the ‘Healey Hundred,’ it was later renamed ‘Austin-Healey’ after Austin’s Leonard Lord bought the design rights due to high demand. The car’s 2,660cc four-cylinder engine from the Atlantic, when combined with the lighter Healey chassis, produced a genuine 100mph-plus sports car capable of 0-60mph in under 11 seconds. The original BN1 featured an unusual three-speed gearbox with overdrive, later replaced by the four-speed BN2 in 1956.
In 1953, a team including Donald Healey and George Eyston set numerous speed records at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats with the Healey 100. Notably, the tuned car achieved a maximum speed of 143.626mph and covered 1,000 kilometers at an average of 127.00mph, while an unmodified showroom example averaged 104.3mph over 24 hours. The 100 remained a potent sports car until the Austin-Healey 3000’s introduction in 1959.