Produced solely with racing in mind, the Donald Healey Motor Company produced just fifty-five 100S’, with all cars completed in 1955. Of the fifty-five cars, fifty ‘production’ cars were sold direct to customers with a further five Works test and development cars.
Based on the popular 100M, the ‘S’ refers to the famous Sebring 12 hour race, in which a prototype finished in third place in the 1954 race. A genuine factory-built race car, each of the 50 examples were delivered to customers with the sole intention of going racing.
The ‘S’ was upgraded with an aluminium cylinder head and larger SU carburettors, and is famous for being the first production car to ever be produced with both front and rear disc brakes – Dunlop’s in this instance. In order to keep weight to a minimum, the body was made of lightweight Aluminium, no bumpers were fitted, and neither was the retractable fabric hood that featured on the 100M. Along with a Perspex windscreen and a smaller front grille, the weight savings were noticeable; the S was 91kg lighter than a standard car! Combined with the performance upgrades, the 100S was a hugely capable racing car and regularly campaigned against the heavyweight brands in the period. Each of the 50 customer 100S’ were right-hand drive and the majority finished in two-tone white with Lobelia blue.
This example is an exceptional motorcar with a fascinating and detailed continuous competition history. The car was exported from new to the USA, and sold new to Karl Kopplin of St. Louis in 1955 photographs of the car when in new in Missouri show the car in its resplendent original white and Lobelia Blue. A gentleman-racer, Kopplin would field the car in select races within the SCCA championship through to 1958. There racing in 1955, the car would see competition from the likes of Jaguar’s C-Type, Porsche’s 550 Spyder, Ferrari’s 375MMs and in the Road America event in September 1955, even famed international racer Phil Hill in his Ferrari 750 Monza.
Kopplin competed in 6 races in 1956, cutting back to just three in ’57 and two in ’58. The car would still demonstrate its competition prowess at Smartt Field in April 1957 though, pipping the unique 2.5litre Ferrari 625LM to third place behind a 750 Monza and 500 TR.
In 1958 the car was sold to Munro Roberts who continued to race the car until the cylinder head of the original engine was damaged. As a result the car was then sold to Gene Nelson in St Louis who carefully removed the original engine from the car and replaced it with a Corvette V8 mated to the original gearbox. Whilst this was common place in the States at the this time, what was unusual in this car was the attention to detail and care taken to preserve as much originality as possible. Later historian Joe Jarrick would remark “The work involved on the V8 exhaust system to clear such items as the steering column were a work of art”. This is of course important as in later years it made the job of reinstalling the correct 100S type motor all the more easy.
The car was retired from Competition in 1963 and was sold to his brother, Harry Nelson after Gene had passed away. A decade later in 1973 Harry Nelson decided to sell the car, news of this travelled fast included across the Pacific and the car was purchased by Alan Jones in Australia. Alan “Sebring” Jones was for a long time regarded as one of the most passionate and knowledgeable Healey experts. The documents including bill of sale, Bank of Chicago payment confirmations and all of the shipping documents remain in the file and confirm the car arrived in Australia in 1974. The next year, Alan was able to acquire a correct 100S engine and the car was sent to Queensland to be restored by Ray Jorgensen, another 100S owner. With the work completed in late 1978, the 100S saw only a few track outings with Jones at the wheel, before he tragically passed away in May of 1979. Remaining in Australia, the car was restored in 1999 by Australian marque specialist Steve Pike. Shortly after this, AHS 3603 returned to the USA, where it entered two races before being placed in a museum.
This Healey's journey came full circle when in 2007 the car was purchased by an enthusiastic collector in the UK and the car returned to England. A second sympathetic restoration was undertaken by renowned UK Austin-Healey specialists Denis Welch Motorsport. During this restoration, all the body numbers were checked against the original Healey drawings and found to be correct. The engine confirmed to be a correct and rare 100S motor. But it was decided during the course of the restoration to remove this valuable motor for the sake of preservation and have another race engine built and fitted, (the other motor does still accompany the car). One final ownership changed occurred in 2014. Over the past decade this Healey 100s has almost certainly chalked up more podiums and class wins than any other. “DHD 100” as it is now registered has been invited and participated in every Goodwood Revival in its current ownership.
This car represents a “Swiss Army Knife” for a historic racer, eligible from a Plethora of racing events including, Goodwood Revival, Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia, The Stirling Moss Trophy, 50s Legends with Peter Auto as well as, Sixties Endurance, The Pall Mall Cup, and the GT and Sports Car Cup. However unlike so many 50s Sports cars it is also perfectly useable on the road so is an ideal candidate for Tours and Rallies as well as road use.
Available to view at our showrooms outside London immediately, this fantastic 100S is road registered but on the button, ready to use!
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