Commissioning a nut and bolt Re-manufactured Austin Healey 100S
The second Article written by the owner of this 100S
The owner of the re-manufactured Austin Healey 100s built by Bill Rawles classic Cars put pen to paper to create a blog for our web page. His creative writing produced two articles for us to choose from. Liking both pieces, it was hard to choose which one to use. So we have used both. Here is the second report written by our customer….Thank you Martyn
The seed is sown and the project commences
“As Bill has now finished re-building my car, I thought I would put some thoughts on paper to remind me what I experienced as I watched the car gradually take shape over the past two and a half years. For me it was a huge learning curve.
I’m retired and enjoy driving my classic cars but three years ago I decided that I wanted to buy a really fabulous classic. I’ve always loved the 100S because to me it is the most exciting of classic English sports cars. Unfortunately I could not afford to invest £800,000.00 plus and buy one of the 35 original cars left in the world. So I commissioned Bill Rawles to find an original Austin Healey 100 and build me a nut and bolt re-manufactured 100S.
He agreed, identified a 1954 BN1 California barn find and then set about stripping it down every single nut by every single bolt. Bill’s clients will know what a stickler he is for perfection on everything he undertakes. My undertaking was no exception and I have had thirty long months watching my car slowly come together. Weekly drives down from London were coupled with following Rosie’s “progress photos” on Bill Rawles Classic Cars Facebook Page.
Another Fabulous Austin Healey 100S is born
Well the project has now reached its finishing line and (with the exception of the detachable race-roll bar) my heritage registered 1954 Austin Healey 100 has been completely rebuilt to the exact factory specification of a works 1954 Austin Healey 100S Le Mans race-car. Part of my car’s original chassis had accident damage and was not suitable for repair so we had to order a new and strengthened 100S lightweight chassis which incorporated some gussets and brackets from the original chassis. Onto this chassis was fitted a re-built lightweight sub-frame tub and onto that was riveted a coach-built, period correct aluminium body. Although it took many months to complete, the new body was painstakingly formed so that every panel was perfect and the doors/boot/bonnet all exactly line-fitted to the neighbouring bodywork.
Creating a car with stunning looks and amazing performance
The original 100S engine differs from the 100/4 engine in that it has a Harry Westlake-designed 4-port block that is matched to his Westlake cylinder head. Westlake was the brilliant engineer who originally developed flowed cylinder heads as well as designing the 100S Healey, the SS100, the XK 120 and the D Type engine for Jaguar. On the original 100S, Westlake moved the exhaust and carburettors to the off-side to allow much improved camshaft/valve performance from his ported and flowed cylinder head. Because of this engine development, the 100S dynamo and the distributor had to be re-located from the off-side to the on-side of the engine, and both had to rotate in the opposite direction to those on the 100/4 engine. In my car the original block has been re-machined as per the original 100S engine and it has all the above improvements. It also has nitride hardened steel crankshaft/con rods, high performance pistons, the 100S Westlake head (with competition valves and race camshaft), twin weber carburettors, and with the fully flowed competition manifolds. Other improvements to the car are a straight-cut gearbox, competition overdrive, race suspension and the same four wheel Dunlop disc brake system that Donald Healey fitted to the works race-cars he entered for the 24 Hour Le Mans in 1954. Now finished, this FIA certified lightweight Austin Healey 100S, becomes an attractive contender for Concours d’Elegance events and a serious entrant for major classic car races.
To sum it all up….
The project has taken nearly 3 years to complete and involved much research to locate, where possible, the rare original parts. When an original part could not be sourced, Bill had a copy machined to exact factory specification. Over 2900 hours of specialist coach-building and workshop time have been invested into perfectly re-manufacturing and refurbishing what is a beautiful and important hand-built car. It has a better power to weight ratio than the original E-Type Jaguar, so my car is a very exciting performer, with staggering acceleration and wonderful exhaust note. it’s a thrill to drive and attracts admiration, questions, looks and comment wherever it goes. I have driven it on the road and on the race track so I’m starting to discover its full potential but even at this stage I can say “Bill, you’ve built me a fantastic car”
The wait was worthwhile and in every respect your car is better than any other 100S. Thank you!”
Cars, Customers, relationships and Thank yous
The above article was written by Martyn, the man who owns this car. We would like to say thank you to Martyn for giving us this opportunity to be part of an amazing project. Thank you for your patience, enthusiasm, dedication and wonderful warm, friendly personality. It has been a pleasure to work with you and ultimately to now have you and your wife, Pat in our social life too. Thank you for your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. Bill Rawles has been working with classic cars for over 30 years and time and time again it has proved that his work is more than a job. It is a passion, a lifestyle and he truly does give his all. He is a perfectionist and his aim in life is to get it right, do his best and to please. Classic cars are our life. It is through this medium that we have been part of some fantastic events, met some amazing, inspirational people and developed strong relationships with our customers, many who have also become lifelong friends too. We also have to thank the team at Bill Rawles Classic Cars . We have a skilled, reliable, committed workforce and without these people we could not achieve the level and volume of work that we do. We hope that our employees enjoy being part of our adventures as much as we do. Thank you
We also need to thank our customer, friend and owner of an original Austin Healey 100S, RLF 500. He also played a big part in this project and was a great help throughout the work. Thank you for accommodating our needs and for always making RLF 500 available for reference and as a guide.