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
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
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.