If the Mille Miglia is no longer the treacherous flat-out road race it used to be, it remains a highlight of the classic motoring calendar – and a car coming up for sale with Hampson Auctions in April could be the perfect ticket for the next event.
That’s because this particular 1955 “BN2” Austin-Healey 100/4 is presented in works M specification and carries both eligibility and registration for the Mille Miglia. And while the pre-sale estimate of £100,000-£110,000 isn’t behind-the-sofa money, it’s a snip alongside the C-Type Jaguars, Alfa Romeo 6Cs and Porsche 356s that also take to the roads each year between Brescia and Rome.
706 XVG left the production line in Longbridge in October 1955, but promptly boarded a boat bound for Australia, where it would enjoy a pleasant climate until 2019. This would already mark the car out as appealing given most Australians have probably never seen rust with their own eyes, but before its repatriation the car was extensively rebuilt at Melbourne-based Healey specialists Marsh Classic Restorations.
Its upgrade to period-correct M specification was the work of Murray Scott-Nelson in Scarborough, and the overhaul list is extensive. Much of the rotating mass has been balanced, and M spec pistons now glide inside an M spec alloy cylinder head. A pair of M spec SU carbs handle breathing, aided by an aluminium airbox. The alternator and cooling fan were also upgraded, along with new dampers and an anti-roll bar, a heavy-duty clutch linkage, louvred bonnet, and Le Mans-style leather strap.
The result is a car that looks largely standard from the outside yet, thanks to its M specification components, may also be making around 20bhp more than its original 90bhp output. That the 100/4 has covered a modest 63,000 miles (believed genuine) may be a draw on its own, though touches like a Brantz rally timer and the benefit of a FIVA ID card, Heritage Certificate and that Mille Miglia eligibility booklet are further feathers in its cap.
Commenting on the Austin-Healey, Hampson’s Managing Director Zach Hamilton said: “This is a very handsome example of a much-loved model that’s clearly had all the right things done by the right people, and would therefore make a perfect addition to any Healey connoisseur’s collection.”
Usefully, the vendor is also offering the new keeper “the benefit of his experience and contacts in securing a place” on the Mille Miglia, so the buyer really could end up sitting in a beautiful Italian town square surrounded by other exotics when the 2021 event fires up – all being well – on June 16 this year.