The Restoration of the First Production Austin Healey
Chassis 138031, Body 24
As most enthusiasts will tell you, the Healey 100 was
first displayed at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show in England, and that
a deal was struck with Len Lord from Austin to build the car as the Austin
Healey 100. Part of this arrangement was that The Donald Healey Motor Company
would build a number of cars at it's Warwick works before before Austin
took over the task of volume production. Chassis 138031, body number 24
is the first production Austin Healey 100 to be produced at Austin's Longbridge
works. This Significant Vehicle in the Ancestry of the of Austin Healey
vehicle range is now owned by Blair Harber from Canada, and is undergoing
sympathetic restoration, with due care to the vehicles original specifications.
The following web pages will document the restoration from start to finnish
and Culminated ( hopefully ) with the vehicle being presented for display
at the Open Road 2002 meet at Lake Tahoe in the U.S.A.
The identification plates pictured above, confirming
the identity of #24, note the "1" on edge forming the dash on the batch,
body number plate at top right common on many early plates. While the car
has been reported as having been completed on May 20th 1953, John Wheatley's
research indicates that June 20th is the correct date.
The car "as found" in surprisingly good condition
for it's age. While there is rust to be found in the usual places, the
car has lasted better than many others.
The car was purchased from Bill Wood (at left of picture)
of Egremont Mass. in October 1999. Rich Chrysler (at right of picture)
assisted with the inspection and purchase. Bill had purchased the car from
an individual in San Francisco who had advertised it in the Hemmings Motor
News in the early 1980ís. The ad also made mention of the fact that
it was the first production Austin Healey.
The car was complete with it's original engine, note
the grey/blue paint colour.
The chassis frame and bulkheads, note the fabricated
front bulkhead top panel.
The rear section of the outer sill showing the usual
rust, but once again the extent far less than usual.
Note the large pedal cut out, unlike later cars, and
the absence of raised seams on the chassis rails.
The rusted areas cut away ready for repair, note that
the right hand vertical foot well panel has a folded line where it sweeps
in to the inner sill, rather than the sweeping curve found on later production
Note: smooth vertical panel on the rear scuttle, only
found on early cars.
Note: smooth vertical panel, and spare wheel area, and
flat floor above front, rear spring hanger. As these panels are not available
commercially they have been reproduced specifically for this car. These
images taken at QRS (Quality Restoration Services) where the new repair
sections were installed and the chassis assembly painted in blue tinted
New floor panels in place and repairs completed to the
Repairs completed to the left hand door shut pillar and
The frame shown above, rust repairs completed, note smooth
trunk floor, extra (central) brace on rear bulkhead and cross brace. For
the un initiated note that the floor pressings produce the number 100,
though up side down in this image.
Rust repairs completed, the frame is shown above in tinted
primer. The front fender inner guard is quite different on this early car,
and it is made from a single sheet of metal that is cut, formed, ribbed,
flanged, and welded to make the entire inner guard. It has a straight
outer flange on it, and there are no buffers between it and the outer fender.
Also note the unusual shock mounts, to suit the early Girling Shock Absorbers.