The Pick of the Day is a 1956 Austin Healey 100M Le Mans offered by a dealer in Jackson, Mississippi. The beautiful paint combination of Reno Red over black, paired with a red interior makes this car an absolute stunner.
When I was a kid, I used to caddie for a man who lived a couple blocks away in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I would pass his house every summer day on my way to the golf course, riding my trusty British-made Raleigh ten-speed bike.
Clearly he was a fan of English cars. He always had the latest Jaguar XJ-6 sitting in the driveway. Over the first couple of years he had a pretty one in white, then a proper British Racing Green one. Looking back, I estimate this was the early 1980s. I loved the lines of those cars.
Then one day, as I rode by, there was a different car in the driveway. It was a two-seat sports car, obviously vintage. It had a two-tone paint job with a long hood. Needless to say, this particular day I stopped, dismounted my bike and walked up the driveway to gawk at this beautiful car — an Austin Healey 100.
I had grown up, to that point around cars and racing, but the Chicago Historic Races (now the Brian Redman International Challenge) at Road America was still an idea yet to be realized, so this car was unfamiliar to me — but boy oh boy — I was stunned by its beauty and simplicity.
Fast forward 40 years. Scanning the ClassicCars.com marketplace for the pick this week, I came across this proper British lady and my mind trailed back to the day I fell in love with Austin Healeys. This particular car is a certified 1,000-point concours version of Donald Healey’s vision for a Le Mans racing car.
The 100M was styled and mechanically set up like the Austin Healeys that placed 12th and 14th at the 1953 race. Since, this sought after beauty, which got its moniker for going 100 mph. With 110 horsepower, and several high-performance improvements including larger carburetors, a cold-air box to increase engine air flow, high-lift camshaft and 8.1:1 compression pistons, this car would certainly surpass the stated 3-digit speed. Hence the leather bonnet strap. The 2,660 cc overhead-valve four cylinder attached to a four-speed transmission makes for very spirited driving.
Certainly this car has become a much more sought-after collectible as the seller’s stated mileage of 500 and asking price of $225,000 gave me a moment of pause. Get ready for Concours fields and exciting street and track drives. This one really got my blood flowing.