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Friday, June 15, 2012

Austin Healey 100/6 Modified

So! I got this thing about the big Healey This write up is about this other Healey Click here to see it. If you compare you the hood on this Healey you will notice that it has a crease in the hood. The crease was put in by the Jensen workers to stiffen the hood from flexing. eventually a 3rd under hood brace was installed that negated the crease. These creased hoods were installed in the 100 6 and the early 3000, until the supply was exhausted. Personally I like it!

The 100/6 replaced the 100/4 in 1957. The six was a better car in every way. A smoother, beautiful sounding six replacing the tractor derived four. A much better shifting transmission, disc brakes as standard, the 2 inches of additional wheel base to accommodate the longer engine mad for a more comfortable car all around. Also the additional length made the car look more powerful. The car still retained the side curtains and 2 seats with a 4 seat version being added to the line up. Later the 3000 would eventually become a Gentleman's Express tourer. One thing I truly loved about the 100/4 was the fold down windscreen, from the six on they were conventional fixed windshields. In 1956 my father came home with a stray that followed him from Sebring Florida. It was a Austin Healey BN2 100 S factory race car, alloy body, Reno red in color. For all intents and purpose a race car on the street. The S was by far the rarest of all Healey's, 50 made and an additional 5 were made with the aluminum head, no overdrive and disc brakes. This one was one of the 5. From mid 1956 to 1958 this was my fathers primary race car.

In 1958 my sister turned 15, old enough to drive. Rosa thought it would be real cool to drive to school in the very unique sports car. I do not remember Rosa at least getting familiar with driving in the family car, at that point, a 1957 Chevrolet Belair 4 door hardtop. No, she confirmed that dad wanted her to learn on the Healey. I was taken along with dad and Rosa, I sat in the area behind the seats. We drove out into the country where there was a lovely 2 lane road, no trees or utility poles to hit, grassy expanses with cows and bulls grazing. Straight in both directions not a soul was in sight. Rosa and dad exchange seats and dad started to explain the procedure for pushing down the clutch, selecting first gear, then gently pushing down on the gas pedal while letting up the clutch. In reality the way it happened was, she pushed on the gas not realizing how quickly the engine would respond, my father was warning her to let up on the accelerator she slid her foot off the clutch. The momentum created by the action caused her foot to push the accelerator al the way to the floor. Both my father and I were shoved back, he pinned against the seat and I smacked my head against the rear cowl. Rosa was frozen into inaction. The spinning tires were forcing the car forward under full throttle and it started to veer onto the grassy shoulder heading towards the pasture fence and a bull. Dad was able to overcome the g forces and was able to reach the ignition switch just in time before our collision with the fence and the curious bull. She eventually did learn that day, but the reality of driving a race car to school quickly got to be too much. Dad let Rosa drive the 57 Chevy to School!


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