A new ‘Luxury British Brand’, Caton, is creating 25 Restomod Austin Healey 100 BN1 models – the original ‘Big Healey’ – each costing £474,000.
When the Austin Healey 100 BN1 arrived in 1953, it epitomised the classic affordable British sports car and was based on the Austin A90. The first of the ‘Big Healeys’, it was produced from 1953 to 1956 and came with a 2660cc in-line four and three-speed manual with overdrive on second and third.
What Donal Healey, eponymous founder of Austin Healy, would think of his 100 being brought bang up to date and costing almost half a million pounds is anyone’s guess, but new ‘Luxury British Brand’ Caton seems sure there’s a ready market. And we have to say, price aside, it looks glorious.
Starting with a donor car, Caton sends off the 100’s engine to JME Healeys to have the engine fettled, and it comes back as a 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 185bhp and 195 lb-ft – more than twice the original – with the original block but pretty much everything else updated. It also boasts Twin H8 carbs and exits through side exhausts, with power transmitted by a new 5-speed manual ‘box. The chassis is strengthened to address known weak points, and stronger driveshafts are added.
The car retains its original suspension setup with double wishbones at the front and leaf springs at the back – but with new roll bars – and modern disc brakes replace the old drums, covered by 72-spoke black wire wheels.
Inside is quite faithful to the original but here is treated to quality materials including Bridge of Wear leather, and there’s a bit more room thanks to the new gearbox being less intrusive.
Just 25 Healey by Caton are being built, and although the £474k price is probably five times what you’d need to pay for a very good original, it is very appealing.