The Story and Disassembly of Austin Healey 100 Number 174

This very early Austin Healey 100 has the serial number is 142618 making it the 150th production car (the first production car as body #24) and it left Longbridge on 25 August 1953.

I know almost nothing about the history of the car other than it was sold on eBay to the person from whom Blair Harber purchased it in 2006.

Based upon the type of rust damage it would seem that the car has not spent any road time in the Northeast.

Upon close examination it turned out to be a very solid car for one that is almost 60 years old!!

Unfortunately the main floors and trunk floors are rusted through, probably as a result of water being trapped in the carpets and under the fuel tank and the seats and  most of the trim, many of the electrical components, the boot lid and the gearbox and overdrive are missing.

The odometer indicates 15636 miles so I figured it has probably done 115K miles or maybe even 215K miles but, as I disassembled the car, it became quite evident that it had probably not done 100K miles as for one thing,  the pedal rubbers had a relatively small amount of wear.

Some other things that I came across that have me doubting that the car has done 100K miles are:

  1. Very little wear on the shackle pins for the rear springs
  2. No play in the king pins and no indication that they had ever been rebushed.
  3. All original tie rod and side rod ball joints none of which exhibit any wear or signs of ever having been adjusted.
  4. All the original bolts mounting the original front shocks and very little indentation under the mounting bolts on the shock bodies.
  5. All the original washers and special nuts on the front anti roll bar and for that matter all of the rest of the parts I removed.
  6. No play at all on the clutch or brake pedal pivot shaft.
  7. Virtually no body damage and certainly no signs of collision damage that had been repaired.
  8. Very little wear on the door latch slides or the door hinges.
  9. Differential backlash within original specifications.
  10. Very little wear on the wire wheel splines.
  11. All the original bolts in the engine mounts indicating that it had probably never been removed.

I will know more when I start stripping the engine as that is the real indicator.

Some of the things that make me suspicious that the car has done more than 15636 miles are:

  1. The angle adapter for the speedo cable has a  broken cable section in it so the odometer has not been working for at least some time.
  2. The battery cables had all been replaced with huge gauge cables and the battery had apparently be relocated to the trunk.
  3. The heater had been taken out and re-mounted on an aluminum plate. I can only imagine that this was done because someone could not access the lower heater mounting nut with the engine in place.
  4. The car appears to have been painted 3 times over the original paint. (More on that later)
  5. A cracked right rear shock ear that had been repaired using a reinforcing plate.
  6. One rear spring has been replaced.
  7. Some natty stainless steel washers under the 4 screws attaching the shroud to the frame at the front of the hood opening.

The dis-assembly of the car is now complete and the body shell is back from Techno-Strip ready for the reconstruction to begin.

During the diss-assembly I encountered a number of interesting “features” which I intend to highlight in upcoming posts.

Among these are:

  • An interesting history of the paint on the car dating back to its original colour.
  • A wonderful record of what I believe are the original fasteners used to assemble this particular car.
  • Front fenders which are different in several ways to any I have come across before.

 

 

About Michael

Who is this guy? Born in New Zealand some time back. Went to Maori Hill Primary School then Kaikorai Valley High before joining the RNZAF and an Airman Cadet in 1968. Graduated 1972 with an NZCE in Aeronautical Engineering. Then embarked on the typical Kiwis "Big Trip Overseas". Got to see quite a few places, and spent a while in the U.K. "home" as it was refered to by many New Zealanders in those days, before travelling on to New York and then to Canada by bus!! This trip is presently on hold (has been for the last 34 years). Met my dear wife Judy not long after arriving in Ontario and we have been happily married since 1976. After travelling around New Zealand and the pacific in 1979 I started Precision Sportscar andfor the next 23 years grew the business and helped raise 2 boys Drew and Robin.
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2 Responses to The Story and Disassembly of Austin Healey 100 Number 174

  1. Erik Staes says:

    Hello,
    Just found your blog and noticed that you are rebuilding an early 100/4 as well. After 6 years I am in the process of finally finishing number 130 and wouldn’t mind discussing these early cars.
    The car is ready to be painted in the usual early Healey Ice Blue and we are now discussing the “underneath” colors which is a mix of black and very dark brownish tones. Not clear what color the closing panel in front of the radiator should be but we believe it was originally black.
    I have always heard that the two piece dashboard was a very dark blue so I wouldn’t mind getting tour idea about this.
    Erik, Brussels

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