Classic Car Capital

Austin-Healey Endurance Speed Record Attempt – Photo Gallery

On August 23rd, 1954 at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a factory-prepared Austin-Healey set 83 National and International Class D records driven by Donald Healey, George Eyston, Carroll Shelby, Mort Goodall and Roy Jackson-Moore, including a 24-hour average speed of 132.81 mph.

Owner Donald Healey’s desire to take the 24-hour endurance record stemmed from his belief in his car and the need for publicity to promote it. He fitted a standard 100/4 chassis with a modified Weslake-designed cylinder head, 16-inch Dunlop peg drive wheels and Dunlop disc brakes (a first in production sports cars). There were a small number of aerodynamic modifications, including a small aero screen and head fairing, plus an air-cooled battery compartment in the right hand passenger compartment.

The record has stood ever since for Healeys, until present day when Austin-Healey enthusiast Martyn Corfield decided to attempt to beat the non-supercharged 4 cylinder records set by the Healey works team in 1954 and the current National records held by Prodrive.

Martyn Corfield enlisted Denis Welch Motorsport to recreate the Bonneville 100/4 as faithfully as possible, including similar aerodynamic fittings such as head fairing, solid aluminium tonneau and air intakes at the front. They also used the special 16-inch peg drive Dunlop Wheels and purpose-built hubs made from original factory drawings. The 4-cylinder engine utilizes 100S Weslake aluminium heads and twin 1.75″ SU carburetors. It was painted in the correct shade of metallic green, as verified by Geoff Healey shortly before his untimely death.

Now known as the ‘Healey Endurance’ car, the car recently attempted the International and National speed record up to 1000 Km (International Group 2, Class 8 non-supercharged) on November 15th, 2009, successfully completing 308 laps around the Millbrook Proving Grounds at a record-breaking average speed of 148.22 mph. The record is currently subject to FIA & MSA homologation as to whether the six International and nine National records under consideration will be confirmed.

The car had a trouble-free run with three scheduled pit stops and was driven by owner Martyn Corfield and engineer Jeremy Welch in four stints of one hour each.

An additional pit stop was made after Martyn was spun across the track at 150 mph due to the damp surface from the previous day’s torrential rain and howling gales. After such a mind-numbing moment Corfield was still able to gather the car, losing little time and, after a safety check, carrying on unabated to the next scheduled stop.

“We have made a great attempt at the 1000 km endurance record this weekend and subject to confirmation are happy that the car has performed brilliantly achieving near the theoretical maximum calculated by MIRA in 2009 which is better than we could ever have hoped for. It’s definitely the fastest Austin Healey in the World today at 153.44 mph, according to the stopwatch and is now the subject to FIA & MSA homologation to see whether the official International and National records have been achieved. We are looking forward to releasing more news shortly,” commented Jeremy Welch.

For more information, visit www.healeyendurance.com.

Austin-Healey Endurance Speed Record Attempt Photo Gallery (Photo credit www.crucialimage.org.uk)

The day started early after the previous day’s lashing gales had made practice almost impossible.
The day started early after the previous day’s lashing gales had made practice almost impossible.
Soon the sky broke and the car was running smooth and true as it did for the whole attempt.
Soon the sky broke and the car was running smooth and true as it did for the whole attempt.
Healey Endurance shines in the early sun around Millbrook
Healey Endurance shines in the early sun around Millbrook
Healey Endurance ran on the top of five lanes around Millbrook
Healey Endurance ran on the top of five lanes around Millbrook
Healey Endurance passes 1 3/4 mile marker
Healey Endurance passes 1 3/4 mile marker
 Owner Martyn Corfield
Owner Martyn Corfield
Healey Endurance at Millbrook Proving Grounds
Healey Endurance at Millbrook Proving Grounds
Close-up shot of the Healey Endurance
Close-up shot of the Healey Endurance
Driver and Engineer Jeremy Welch
Driver and Engineer Jeremy Welch
Healey compresses its suspension around Millbrook's banks
Healey compresses its suspension around Millbrook's banks
Owner Martyn Corfield prepares for another stint
Owner Martyn Corfield prepares for another stint
Pit board updates Jeremy Welch on the Healey's progress
Pit board updates Jeremy Welch on the Healey's progress
Driving straight into the sun around Millbrook
Driving straight into the sun around Millbrook
Team celebrates a successful outing at Millbrook
Team celebrates a successful outing at Millbrook

[Source: Martyn Corfield; photo credit www.crucialimage.org.uk]

Show Comments (15)

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  1. As an owner of a Austin Healey its awesome to see the recreation of the early speed testing and seeing a 100-4 on the high bank of track reminds me of picture for the AH 100-4 Brochure. Beautiful Car and a beautiful story. I love that car. Keep up the great work on an excellent site.

  2. As an expat Brit living in the US, Healey owner and Dennis Welch customer, congratulations to Martyn Corfield and the team,It makes me very proud of these true Austin Healey enthusiasts showing the excellence of the product even after 55 years

    Well done

  3. I want to buy a book about this attempt and the history of this incredible machine, along with the wonderful folks who broght it back to life.

  4. Beautiful 100! I’m from Belgium and I’m restorating a 100 BN1. Can you please give me the colorcode from this car… I’m searching for this color about 2 years!!! Is it the original color of the 100S lemans??
    Please let me know!!!

    thanks in advance!!!

  5. Hi Geoffrey I hope this answer will help you as I looked as several books that I have on the Austin Healey and it seems the color is very unique as the factory had offered a dark green called Spruce Green for the 100-4 and Florida Green which seems very close to aqua in color. The color used on this beautiful 100-4 seems very close to the Aston Martin Racing Green as a similar colors have been used on their factory back raced cars when David Brown had Owned Aston Martin. I hope this information will have answered your questions. Good Luck on the Restoration of Your Beautiful Healey.

  6. I have a 53 Healey 100 I painted Spruce Green. The metallic green endurance car looks to be a similar shade to the three 53 Lemans cars, which Donald Healey had painted an Aston Martin green as noted. However, there was also a rare factory metallic green offered only on the early production cars known as Lustrene Green quite similar to this one.

  7. My Dad had a 3000 back when I was too young to drive but I fit in the “back”. This was a nice piece to read, peruse the photos. Great effort and hearty congrat’s!

  8. I’m so happy to see this! My Dad worked for a customs house in NYC back in the 50s, and told me the story several times of handling what he called a “Healey Special,” and how there were some special challenges getting the car cleared and then on its way to Utah. Unless there were other similar attempts, this is probably the car?

  9. Congratulations to the team! Quite a feat to break that record. I once owned a Healey 3000 BN7 and it was stock except for the exhaust. The man (and the Healey) I bought it from were from AZ (I lived on OH). He showed me a timing sheet from an SCCA flying mile event, dated 1963, that showed the Healey’s speed was 124 mph. I was a proud owner of that car for 3 years until the transmission gave up. Wish I still owned it.

  10. Quite an achievement, well done.
    I have a 56 BN2 in progress though unlike most of the BN2 cars these days I am not going to do the LeMans conversion but leave it the way it was sold originally. My car sat in a breakers yard in California from 1968 to some time in the late 80’s. The yard owner was going to fit a V8 but never finished the project. Other than cutting some sheet metal to make room for the V8 he had not altered anything else on the car. The odometer reads 40k which having looked at the hubs/suspension etc leads me to feel pretty certain that this is very likely around the correct mileage. Interestingly there was (is) original paint on the car, it was white over black and when digging through what remained of the original interior pieces I discovered that it had had a red interior. This colour combination is not listed in any of the books so I suspect it was probably a custom order. Interestingly it had also had chrome trim along the sides of the car. The fixing holes for these strips are very exactly spaced and match both sides which makes me wonder whether they were factory fitted. A few years ago I saw a very original 100/4 that had been pulled out of a shed somewhere and it also had chrome strips, documented as being fitted when built.
    Once at an international Healey meet Donald Healey was cornered by a group of “Healey guru’s” who wanted him to confirm what the exact paint colours were that were used on the engines and bodies, his reply was, ‘that as they didn’t have a lot of money they bought whatever was available cheaply, including left over stocks of paint’. He stated that the original “Healey Blue” was a batch of paint that was left over from some other manufacturer that they bought cheap. The gaggle of “guru’s” left much more quietly than they had arrived. This from the mouth of a long time customer who was present for the whole episode.