1953 Austin-Healey 100 Quick Look
According to past owners, this Austin was converted to V8 power and raced in numerous SCCA modified events during the mid-1960s. That meant, when the time came for a ground-up restoration, the car was a fairly straightforward project. A five year reboot, which included an original body and new front fenders, was split between A&M Deluxe Customs in Cornelius, Oregon and So-Cal Northwest Speed Shop in Tualatin, Oregon. With the heavy lifting complete, a race-themed color combination was built with Ford white and deep blue two-stage. And in 2011, when the current owner purchased the car, he contracted Realistic Auto Restorations of St. Petersburg, Florida to shake everything down. Today, this 100 sports a level of fit and finish that puts most European metal to shame. And that solid appearance is backed by proven mechanicals which make driving an absolute pleasure. Yank this roadster’s leather-strapped hood and you’ll find a 327 cubic inch Chevrolet V8 that twists 9.5 to 1 compression into roughly 330 horsepower and 350 lb./ft. of torque. Purchased from Precision Engine of Houston, Texas, this road-ready small block features a balanced rotating assembly, Speed Pro pistons and a modern Speed Pro camshaft. At the top of the mill, a trio of reliable 9 super 7 carburetors, which breathe through custom, smoothed air cleaners, funnel life into a shaved Edelbrock intake. At the sides of that intake, cast iron heads hang 2.02 and 1.60 valves between polished Edelbrock valve covers and coated block hugger headers. Behind those headers, an MSD Pro-Billet distributor sequences fire between Ron Francis wiring, an MSD coil and loomed Taylor cables. And in front of those cables, a custom, 4-core aluminum radiator makes good use of a Derale Performance puller fan. Naturally, this Austin’s thoroughly updated underpinnings do a bit more than hint at its history as a track weapon. A high quality Art Morrison chassis provides a solid foundation. Behind the 327, a fresh Tremec TKO600 5-speed twists a standard differential around a Ford 9-inch rear end, 3.00 gears and 31-spline axles. That first class drivetrain rolls on a double A-arm and 4-bar suspension; which is fitted with tubular, chromoly control arms, forged, 2-inch drop spindles, a poly-seated, 7/8-inch sway bar and adjustable coil-over-shocks. Turns come courtesy of custom Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering. Smooth and solid stops are provided by Wilwood Dynalite hydraulics, which squeeze 10 and 12-inch drilled and slotted rotors. Spent gases roll from custom, 2.5-inch stainless steel pipes to throaty Magnaflow mufflers and substantial stainless tips. And power spins through attractive Rocket Racing Igniters, which turn 195/65R15 Federal Super Steel 657s around 3-spoke spinners. Like its exterior, the interior of this 100 is simple and tasteful. Front and center, bomber-style seats sport clean Moss leather. A classy dash centers a retro mirror on Classic Instruments telemetry, Classic Instruments accessory gauges and a chrome fire extinguisher. In the middle of the floor, a petite shifter features a custom shift knob. And in front of the driver, a custom, Mike Lempert-built steering wheel spins a deactivated trafficator. With its smooth V8, modern 5-speed, comfortable interior and vintage swagger, you’ll never tire of finding this custom in your garage.
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