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Material: Guatemala Verde Marble (India)

 

Inspired By: 1954 Salt Lake Record Setting Healey 100

 

Weight: 23 pounds (without stand)

 

Dimensions: 16” L x 6.5 “ W x 4” T

 

Price: $6900 USD

 

I’ve been toiling one day per week at a local auto restoration shop. Long before I arrived, the shop had gained an enviable reputation among Austin Healey enthusiasts. Typically, the Big Healeys make up half the project load for the shop staff.

 

 

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I’ve been toiling one day per week at a local auto restoration shop. I met the shop owner (Jason) when I was a guest driver for his team at a 24-hour race at Utah Motorsports Park. (Yes, we finished well, and yes, I clinched top lap time over his!). I got interested in Jason’s operation, and he got interested in my sculpting. Our one-day-per-week at the shop seemed like it would be win-win all around, as it proved to be.

Austin Healey 100/4, photo credit Michael Furman for SimeoneMuseum.org

 

Long before I arrived, Jason’s shop had gained an enviable reputation among Austin- Healey enthusiasts. Typically, the Big Healeys make up nearly half the shop’s project load. At least five seem to be on the go at any given moment, including conversions to electric drive-lines. It seemed as natural as the rising of the sun that I would sculpt a Big Healey. But, which one?

I’ll apologize ahead of time for the jargon-heavy chronologic overview. I’ll simplify it for you shortly. Austin-Healey 100 BN1 (3-speed) built 1952-1955, BN2 (4-speed) built 1955-1956, Austin-Healey 100/6 BN4 (2+2) built 1956-1959, BN6 (2-seater) built 1958-1959, MkI Austin-Healey 3000 BN7 (2-seater) built 1959-1961, BT7 (2+2) built 1959-1961, MkII 3000 BN7 (2-seater) built 1961-1962, BT7 (2+2, as are all hereafter) built 1961-1962, BJ7 built 1962-1963 and MkIII 3000 BJ8 Phase 1, built 1964, plus the BJ8 Phase 2, built 1964-1967. Despite a sales run of 15 years, the Big Healey was continuing to sell well, but re-engineering it to pass fast-approaching American crash and emissions standards was a non-starter.

1967 Austin Healey Mk III, photo credit borderreivers.co

 

In all, nearly 79,000 Big Healeys were made, and the 1959-67 “3000” model accounted for 60 per cent of those. Early Four-cylinder cars (BN1 + BN2) accounted for 14,634 units (~19%) of production.

I find it simpler to visualize the early 4-cylinder cars 2-seaters of 1952-56 with their clam-shell shaped-grille, vs the more plentiful, longer, later 6-cylinder cars with their ovoid-shaped grilles. Among those many 6-cylinder cars, I note the visual distinction between the stylish early 2-seaters vs the less-svelte, but more practical 2+2s.

KISS. 4-cylinder vs 6-cylinder bodies / engines, (and two body styles for the 6-cylinder.)

 

The heydays of Healeys as potent rally cars…. photo credit stevemckelvie.wordpress.com

 

Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. Special models exist. The 6-cylinders series boast the famous factory Rallye spec cars, typically painted red, and with many retrospective tributes built. These are potent historic rally cars today, as I can attest having competed against them in Targa Tasmania.

The 100M Endurance and team at Bonneville in 1954. Photo Credit jensenmuseum.org

 

Among competition-orientated 4-cylinder special models are both the 100 “S” (50 made in 1955) and the 100 “M” (640 made in 1955-56). The S is rarer, and closer to full race-spec than the M, but sadly for my aesthetic preferences, the production S came with the later-style oval grille. (An exception for 4-cylinder cars, which otherwise has a clamshell grille).

Drill down into history a bit further, and a one-off 100/4 stands above all the rest. This particular car was built in 1954 as a prototype for the upcoming 1955 “S”, but with the clamshell grill. Donald Healey entered this prototype mule, and other streamliners, in the 1954 Bonneville Speed Week, and then joined with drivers Carroll Shelby, George Eyston, Roy Jackson Moore, and Mort Morris-Goodall to set numerous “endurance” records – everything from the stock flying mile (142.63 mph), to stock average speed over 24 hours (132.29 mph).

The one-off Austin_Healey 100 Endurance setting records at Bonneville in 1954. Photos credit austinhealey.com.au

 

So, it’s the 1954 Endurance 100/4 car depicted in the sculpture.

Bonneville is a cool scene for any car fan. Typically it runs one week in August, and one week in September, salt surface conditions allowing. A friend and I attended and with our respective runs gained the 130 mph (entry) licence. The ambience is more alluring that the actual driving….. at least at our stately pace. Cleaning away all salt is critical for the longevity of any car that has been testing its mettle at Bonneville.

 

Non-production fleet-mates and team-mates in Healey’s 1954 assault on Bonneville. Photo credit mossmotoring.com

 

 

THE STONE

I recently counted five different green stones in stock I can choose from to sculpt. Guatemala Verde from India was the first green stone I worked, and I have happily returned to it on numerous occasions. I’ve promised myself to expand my horizons and select a green stone I haven’t used before, the next time I sculpt a green car.

Thankfully, the British brands used all manner of greens through there line ups. So, the scope for expanded horizons is there from a historical perspective as well. Through time, the association of particular colors with particular countries or particular brands has lessened.

Back to Guatemala Verde. This sample is mid-green with off-white, gray, dark green, and near-black veins, dots, and islands. The stone holds edges and detail well, and finishes to an excellent luster.

 

The A-H 100 Endurance. See all the salt kicked up on the car. Photo credit to jensenmuseum.org

 

The sculpture can be displayed with or without the head fairing. It looks great either way.

Material: Guatemala Verde Marble (India)

Inspired by: 1954 Salt Lake Record Setting Healey 100

Weight: 23 pounds (without stand)

Dimensions: 16” L x 6.5 “ W x 4” T

Price (USD): $6900 + shipping

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