1956 Austin-Healey 100M “Dealer Le Mans” Roadster
1952 marked the release of the sensational Austin-Healey 100, closely followed by racing successes with two essentially road-spec cars with nominal modification in the 1953 Le Mans 24-Hour Race, which finishing in 12th and 14th places, ensured the sales success of the model. In further marketing celebration, the ‘Le Mans’ name was given to a bolt-on tuning kit offered through Austin-Healey dealers, so private owners could bring their cars up to a specification approaching that of the works entries. The kit included a pair of 1¾” SU HD6 carburettors plus special inlet manifold and cold air box, high-lift camshaft, stronger valve springs and distributor with alternative ignition advance curve. With the kit installed power increased from the standard 90 to 100bhp.
From October 1955 the conversion was available factory-fitted on the successor BN2 model in the form of the 100M. In addition to the Le Mans kit, the latter boasted high-compression pistons, stiffer front anti-roll bar, special Armstrong front dampers and a louvred bonnet. Power increased to 110bhp and top speed, with windscreen folded flat, to within a whisker of 120mph. The number of BN1s converted by their owners is unknown, but 1,159 cars, mostly BN2s, were built or subsequently modified to 100M specification between 1955 and 1956.
The example on offer here is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, (# 2008/15178), and a similar verification from the 100M LeMans Registry (# C-148), confirming its status as a Dealer Installed Le Mans spec car.
It is offered in excellent, nicely restored condition and as a part of a significant southwestern collection, has been meticulously cared for and runs as well as it looks.