Prototype, PreProduction and Early Production Austin Healey BN1's

A number of changes took place in design of the Austin Healey BN1 from the initial prototypes and production of about 19 cars at the Donald Healey Motor Company in Warwick, to the transition to full scale production at Austin in Longbridge. It also appears that the differences found in these pre production Warwick cars can also be seen in some of the early production Longbridge cars. The images below are show the remains of body number 45 an early production Longbridge car.

The front shock absorbers which on later cars were bolted to a cap welded to the top of the suspension tower were bolted to the tower top via the spacer which can be seen under the shock absorber. The inner half of the front inner guard was produced in two sections rather than the later single pressing. The lapped join can be seen to the left of the shock absorber. The inner guard also appears to have a flanged edge, not found on later cars.

The spare wheel compartment floor which has pressed shapes in it on later cars is flat

Another shot showing the two piece inner pressing Front inner guard

The Healey box section chassis rails which on later cars have a raised seam along their centre line are butt welded flush, as are the other box sections that make up the chassis. A small bracket with a nut attached to it can be seen above the forward clutch pivot, this bracket is attached to the inner face of the chassis on both side. It's use?

The top of the front scuttle is fabricated, rather than the one piece pressing found on production cars, as are the dashboard mounts which are a two piece fabrication rather than one piece pressing.

Once again the pressings found in later cars are missing

Small differences in the under shroud supports

The image above is a view of the early shock absorber and front inner guard, with flanged edge and 3 piece construction on body 1045 owned byKarsten Stelk Karsten also informs me that the later shocks would not fit on this chassis without cutting away the top edge of the inner guard opening to increase the height.  According to Geoff Healey 200 cars were built with alloy panels, and all changes incorporated by 500.
Anders Clausager's Book, "Original Austin Healey" provides the following  (page 45) that the alloy bonnet changed to steel on body 3397 / chassis 156120 (May 1954), and the bootlid changed from aluminium to steel on body 4129 chassis 158100 (June 1954), and the 2 piece dash (fascia) changed to one piece on body 1855 chassis 151795 (Feb 1954).
However body 2017 built feb 54 also has these inner guards, and the alloy bonnet and boot lid. This car does have a one piece dash however. ( courtesy Chris Dimmock)

The Healey 100 Prototypes.
The images below show the  Healey 100 Prototype chassis, Geoffrey Healey's book "The Specials" refers to-
X11 the first J type Healey 100, Show Car, Chassis number J4001
X12 the 2nd J type 100 "Chassis only" Chassis number J4002
X133 the first "K" type Chassis
X150 AH100 prototype
X170 L type chassis
X179 L2 type chassis

If X11 is the 52 Earls Court show car, X12 is a chassis only, then X150 is possibly the first Pre production 100? while X133, 170 and 179 I can find no referance to. Geoff Healey also mentions X11 being inspected at Austin (T.H.S Page 62) sorting out a problem with the steering and the changes made, yet on page 50 it is mentioned that the steering box was originally ahead of the steering rods with the steering lever running towards the rear of the car, perhaps indicating some modifications made to the chassis.

The number plate KWD 947 was used on a number of healey cars, the prototype also appears on the start page of  this site sporting MWD 360. Note the low headlamps leaving little gap to the parking/indicator lamps, and pointed grill surround.

Note the front bulkhead construction and sagging rear springs, while Geoff Healey's "The Healey Story" page 50 "The flat floor panels were stiffened by having a large '100' in figures pressed into them" this does not seem to be the case on this early chassis which is most likely X11 or X12?

Again most likely X11 or X12. note the box section inner sills, In Geoff Healey's book "The Healey Story' a change to the sills is mentioned on page 54 as "the door posts were not staying in their correct positions, permitting the door aperture to vary on a rough road" note non overdrive gearbox, gearbox mounts and floor pressings.
Images from Autocar Oct 24 1952

The 52 earls court show car (X11, chassis J4001) with hand made body by Tickford rather than the Jensen produced production bodies, note the joint line between the rear wing and shroud sweeps inward toward the centre of the car, this variation would also mean that the rear bulkhead design would have been different. KWD947 and MWD360 both appear to have this rear guard design and are possibly the same car.

From an article in the November 1953 edition of Motor Trend, the image above shows the fuel tank with a verticle spout, a different boot lock arangement and what appears to be a rubber strip allong the lower boot recess in the shroud. The entire article is available on this sites index page. The article also claims that the car is one of the first two cars poduced, and shown at the New York Motor Show.