Back in the day, when the Austin Healeys ruled the road, you could saunter down to your local Austin Healey dealership and order up a car built the the exact specification of the LeMans racers. These cars were known as the 100M. If you had the patience, you’d wait while the British Motor Corporation pulled a car off the Austin assembly lines in Longbridge and trucked it out to the Healey factory in Warwick where they prepped your own personal racecar. But, if you had an urgent race date you had to make, you could buy the complete kit of parts and have your dealer install it, instead.
We’ve worked with both iterations of the 100M, however, this one is the genuine article. Our first acquaintance of this car came when the owner approached us to do something about rough running as the rpm’s increased. A road test led us to quickly determine that what the engine needed was to be balanced. A pity, really, because the first build was by a high end engine shop in New Hampshire, which for the purposes of this narrative shall remain nameless, but had already raised the owner’s suspicions because immediately upon initial start up, it had seized a valve.
When we pulled it down to prep it for balancing, we discovered a couple of things we didn’t like. The first was finding two pairs of Vandervell main bearings and one pair of Glacier mains, a basic ‘no-no’ in the engine world, and a set of Jahns pistons which creeped me out. A Zyglo* inspection confirmed my suspicions, one of them was already cracked. We replaced them with a custom made set from JE pistons. What’s good enough for NASCAR is good enough for me.
Donald Healey said that the 100’s were his favorites because of their all around balance. If that’s the case then the 100M must be first among equals. It’s a rocket sled out on the road.
This car may be for sale. Inquire.
Rocket Sleds, Part II
With the coming of the Social Networking investment mania , this is not a bad time to reflect back on a poor orphan of the Wall Street Dot.Com boom of a decade ago, because that’s when this MGC was born, an exercise in no expenses spared car building.
Back around 1997 we were tasked with putting the engine together for this car. We did, outsourcing once again to our favorite piston company (JE) for a special set of +.125″ flat top pistons, amongst other go-fast goodies. After completion this engine clocked in at 172 bhp with 205 ftlbs. of torque at 5,000 rpm on the dyno. When we subsequently had the opportunity to retune it, we found the carbs still running rich in the initial startup position, so chances are it’s making even more power now.
Those beautiful carburetors are sitting on a “Mike The Pipe” custom built intake manifold, and the exit arrangements are courtesy of a genuine Downton Engineering MGC exhaust system, with the mufflers stacked horizontally, Jaguar Mk2 style.
When the Dot.Com’s when bust, the first owner’s lifestyle did too, so we arranged the sale to the very satisfied current owner.
Needless to say, this car is very fast ! Here’s a picture of John on a roadtest last summer. When I berated him for laying on the coals like that, he simply said, “I sneezed”.