Dave Young 1955 100-4

The year was 1967 or so. It was summer, I'd had a year of classes at UNL, it was summer, I was living with my parents, and my dad decided that I needed something to keep me out of trouble so, he found a tattered 1955 Austin Healey with the engine locked up and decided that was to be my project for the summer. 

It looked like it had driven through a vat of acid, as many Healeys do, having what we now know as 'the usual rust'. As it turns out, the timing chain had broken and locked up the engine. Easy fix, once we got the parts. This poor car had been through hell in its previous life. It had Sprite seats, a BN2 transmission with the wrong tunnel cover, many coats of paint, each different colors, a single battery in the trunk as opposed to the dual ones supposed to be in front of the axle, a later 6 cylinder windshield, and the aforementioned rust throughout the car. 

What a sad state of affairs but, not as sad as our total lack of knowledge about the marque. My dad insisted he'd heard that these were unibody construction, with the fenders connected to the rocker panels. That's how far gone it was. So, we fabricated metal which linked all 3 pieces into one with no joint between. 

Once school had started again, the car was running and licensed by my dad. A good friend and I would cruise the UNL campus and even took it hunting a time or two with the top down for quick exiting. We were having a blast with this car...too MUCH of a blast for my dad, apparently. He sold the car for $450 to another young guy and that was the last I saw of it. I didn't speak to my dad for some time afterwards but, it was his car.

Through the following years, I'd gotten married, picked up a 6-cylinder Healey or two, an MGA and some MG Midgets to restore for a small profit, and was driving an MGBGT at the time, still lamenting the loss many years prior of the beloved 100-4. 

We were at company Christmas party in the late '70s. I'd brought along a newspaper with an ad for an MG Midget for parts that I wanted to call on later if things got boring. Things got boring. I sidled up to a payphone in the hallway to call on it. The car was in too bad a shape to restore, as it turned out but, somewhere in the conversation, I announced my true love was Austin Healeys. He said "I've got one I'd sell".
"What year is it?" I asked, expecting it to be a Sprite or something of lesser interest.
"1955" he replied.
He no sooner got the words out of his mouth and I shouted "I want it! How much do you want for it?". Let's just say that I'm not the greatest haggler in the world. He could have asked a million dollars and I would have robbed a bank or something. There weren't any others in town as far as I knew and, yes, this was my long lost love, indeed. He said he'd take what he'd paid for it and throw in a pair of MG Midget seats for another $25. I don't remember how I got there but, I ended up at the table with my then wife with the biggest smile on my face.

The head was cracked but, other than that, it was pretty much as I'd last seen it, same blue I'd painted my '57 Cadillac so many years ago but, faded. My wife located a used head for it and it was back on the road. I'd taken it to a couple of British car shows and won Pearl in the Rough each time. The last time, the gas tank was rusted so bad it kept plugging up the fuel pump and the master brake cylinder was so bad that I could only stop with the emergency brake, which was only connected to one side...one brake stopping....and I had to tow it home with that one brake stopping, not only the Healey but, the full sized van pulling me!

So now, it sits inside the new garage I built in 2016, along with 3 other Big Healeys and other cars awaiting restoration. I'm currently working on a '60 BT7, to be followed by a '58 BN6 then, my '55 BN1. At one time, I had 6 1/2 Austin Healeys but, had to pare down the collection due to a house fire in 2009 which left me with a couple of charred but, rolling Healeys and no carburetors or gauges to finish off what I'd hoped to be a nice collection.

I purchased a '67 BJ8 in 2010 with insurance money from the fire. To date, it's the only one which runs. i'm planning to give it company soon. The new wife of 5 years would like to have one of her own....and I'm all about making her happy!