HomeThe MarketHistoric Healeys headed to Bonhams' December auction

Historic Healeys headed to Bonhams’ December auction


Arthur Carter cars going to auction will be at Goodwood Revival meeting this weekend | Bonhams photos
Arthur Carter cars going to auction will be at Goodwood Revival meeting this weekend | Bonhams photos

Three cars from the Arthur Carter collection, including Don Healey’s daily driver, will be offered for bidding at Bonhams’ year-end auction December 6 at New Bond Street, London.

Carter assembled what Bonhams termed “the greatest collection of Austin-Healeys,” and is selling what some consider the last two of major significance from that collection. They are a 1953 100/100S coupe that Healey used as his personal car and a 1959 3000 ex-works rally car.

Connaught A-Type single-seater racing car
Connaught A-Type single-seater racing car

Also being offered from Carter’s collection is a Connaught A-Type single-seater racing car.

Bonhams announced the cars’ availability for the sale Thursday before showing them this weekend at the annual Goodwood Revival meeting.

“As an Austin-Healey owner myself, I am a committed and avid fan of the marque,” James Knight, Bonhams group motoring director, said in a news release. “I have handled some of the most important Healeys in my 30-plus year career but have always wanted the privilege of representing Mr. Carter’s legendary 100 Coupe. That time has now arrived and I will enjoy every minute of bringing ONX to market.

“What I find most exciting is that although serious Healey collectors were aware of the car, many collectors in the more general market did not know that Healey produced a 100 Coupe – and one as special as this example.

Unique coupe was Don Healey's personal car
Unique coupe was Don Healey’s personal car

“It was no secret that Mr. Carter owned the car, but it appeared rarely, and at club meets at that. It is a dark horse – under the radar of many – that is ready to grace the world’s most prestigious concours and other historic motoring events. There is no doubt the car will attract the attention of world’s great collectors.”

According to Bonhams, Donald Healey had his chief designer, Gerry Coker, produce two variants of a coupe on the four-cylinder Austin-Healey 100 platform as a prelude to possible series production.

A red car, ‘ONX 113’, and a blue car ‘OAC 1’ were built. The red car was the one that Healey “subsequently commandeered for himself” as his daily driver. When the 100S racing program was created, Healey had the 100S engine, gearbox and disc brakes installed in his vehicle as well. (The blue car also survives and became the test bed in period for the later six-cylinder engine for the subsequent 100/6 model.)

The 1959 Works Rally 3000 – SMO 746 – was one of three of the first series of 3000 MKI works rally cars produced for the 1959 and 1960 seasons. Successes by the three cars helped boost sales of the Healey’s new 3000 model.

SMO 746 was raced by Jack Sears, Pat Moss (sister of Stirling Moss, and wife of rally driver Erik Carlsson), and John Gott. It competed in famous events such as the grueling Alpine and Liege-Rome-Liege rallies.

When Gott left the team, he took SMO 746 and continued to race it, making it the winningest of all Healeys of the era. Gott eventually developed the car into a Modsports racer, the guise in which is remains.

Gott died while driving the car at Lydden Hill in 1972, apparently crashing after suffering a heart attack while racing. Carter later acquired the car and had it restored.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
  1. Dear Mr. Edsall, I found your comments on the 100 coupe that belonged to Don Healey interesting. I have a 100 coupe that needs total restoration. There is no engine or transmission, but it has the aluminum hood, trunk, and aluminum top integrated into the body, perfectly. I don’t have the talent to restore this car and would love to see it returned to its glory. Mine is a 54. Thanks for writing your article.

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