Guide price: £55,000- £60,000
・Mille Miglia-eligible Healey 100/6
・Successfully competed in Mille Miglia 2020
・Heritage Certificate and over 45 years of recorded history
・FIVA-registered with rally timing equipment
・Matching numbers engine
Launched in 1956, the Austin-Healey 100/6 was the second of the ‘Big’ Healeys and the first to feature the BMC C-Series six-cylinder engine in place of the original Healey 100’s four-cylinder unit.
The 2.6-litre unit developed 102bhp, but was increased to 117bhp in 1957 at the same time as production was moved from Longbridge to the MG factory in Abingdon.
It was a well-received car, albeit one that was a bit of a handful to drive with heavy steering and a mechanical gearshift that needed to be driven properly – the Big Healey wasn’t a car from wimps, but for those who enjoyed the thrill of open-top, physical motoring.
Indeed, its hairy-chestedness and raw sports car appeal made it a more desirable car than the Jaguar E-Type to those who valued raw driver engagement over all-out performance.
It was a successful competition car, too, in both circuit racing and rallying, in part due to its rugged reliability and also because of its highly tuneable engine and ability to be stripped back and made lighter. BMC Competitions Manager Marcus Chamber was said to be a huge fan of the 100/6, as not only did it have impressive performance but it was also remarkably strong and rugged.
This example channels that rallying history. Fresh from the historic Mille Miglia – one of the few high profile classic events that was able to take place in 2020, the Healey is FIVA-registered and is one of only 410 cars approved to take place in the event. It comes with all of its Mille Miglia approval papers and documentation and still wears its event livery. It also has FIA-approved harnesses, safety equipment and timing gear.
The vendor is selling the car on behalf of its owner, who has had it since it arrived in the UK in 2016. With the Mille Miglia approval being the zenith of ownership, he’s now decided to let it go in readiness for a new toy.
Supplied new in the USA, 630 UYR was registered in June 1957, supplied new by a BMC dealer in San Francisco. It remained in California until 2016 and was bought at auction by the current owner, who acquired it from a long-term keeper in Sacramento – a Mr O’Connor - who had owned it since 1988 and had recommissioned the car himself, removing and rebuilding the engine and having the bodywork repainted in its original Primrose and Black.
Being a dry state car, it was in remarkable structural condition and has never been welded – indeed, all of the paint inside the engine bay and luggage bay is the original Primrose Yellow, first applied 64 years ago in the factory.
On its arrival in the UK, the Healey was kept as part of a private collection belonging to an owner in a picturesque Hertfordshire village. He has enjoyed and looked after the car since 2016 and applied for the Mille Miglia approval early in 2020, which was granted last summer. The car was driven on the event by the Irish duo of Adam Quinn and Adam Brockley, whose names still adorn the side of the car. It completed the event without hiccup.
There are some fascinating artefacts buried away in the Healey’s history file, the oldest being a buff-coloured 1976 pocket diary which a previous owner modified into a vehicle log. The fact that it had a new clutch fitted in 1977 may be academic in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a fascinating insight into the car’s past.
It also comes with a BMIHT Heritage Certificate certifying it as a Primrose Yellow over Black Healey 100/6 completed in February 1957 and exported to the USA, where it was sold that June to its first owner in San Francisco. How cool must the yellow and black paint scheme of the Healey looked against the red of the Golden Gate Bridge?
There’s a fair amount of paperwork form the car’s time with Mr O’Connor – the Sacramento-based owner who had it from 1988 until 2016. This includes the ‘pink slip’, or US registration document, showing that he acquired it in June 1988. There are several receipts from a well-known classic car specialist in Sacramento – European Auto Parts – for various repairs over his 28 years of ownership. There are also photos of the engine rebuild and of the car after it had been painted in the States, wearing the California registration number KYD 479.
More recently, there’s the NOVA certificate declaring that all UK import duties have been paid, and more excitingly there’s the all-important letter advising the owner that his car had been Mille Miglia-approved. The car also comes with the finisher’s certificate, all of the event paperwork and some brass Mille Miglia badges which have yet to be fitted.
The first thing that draws your eye to this Healey is, naturally, the rally livery. It still wears door roundels featuring its entry number (385) and the driver names and Mille Miglia logos. They’ve been left in situ as the current owner believes they’re an important part of the car’s pedigree, so it will be up to the next owner to decide whether or not to leave them there.
Decals or not, the Healey is an absolute stunner. The Primrose over black colour scheme is one of the best of the two-tone options offered on the 100/6 and really suits it. The paint finish is superb and we were unable to find any rust whatsoever, while the inner wings still wear their ancient factory paint with no signs of deterioration.
The spin-off wheels are powder coated and painted silver, with quality period-style tyres. It also sports a pair of Wipac driving lamps, which were fitted for the Mille Miglia event.
Inside, the black leather seats are piped in yellow and are in good order, having been retrimmed by the previous owner. New carpets were also fitted at the same time.
It retains its original wood-rimmed four-spoke steering wheel, while the black dash and ivory-coloured dials have a suitable period look.
But the main things you notice in the cabin are much more modern. A giant foam fire extinguisher and a full suite of Brantz timing equipment, as well as a telescopic map reading lamp. Evidence of the car’s more recent adventurous history.
Having just completed one of the world’s most gruelling reliability trials, the Healey doesn’t really have much left to prove in the mechanical department.
It runs its original engine, whose number matches up with that on the Heritage Certificate. The unit sounds fantastic, with a gruff bark under acceleration.
We were able to conduct a short test drive of the car and can report that it drives brilliantly. It’s a handful, of that make no mistake, but the visibility is wonderful and the steering much lighter than you’d expect. It’s an engaging experience and one that stirs all your senses.
While it’s this car’s more recent history that really gives it a boost (the Mille Miglia approval is pure provenance in itself) it’s also a really charming example of an Austin-Healey 100/6 in its own right. A well-restored car with substantial history that has clearly been very well loved, in one of the best colour schemes and with a full mechanical overhaul, it’s a wonderful and beguiling machine. Yes, it’s something pretty special.
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