“I had it resprayed all-red because I didn’t like the black roof,” says Carter. “It made it look like a hardtop. Gerry Coker saw it and didn’t like it at all, though!”
The 100S coupé’s profile is still recognisably Austin-Healey
Far be it from me to disagree with the man who styled such a pretty car as the Healey roadster, but I’m with Carter on that.
The solid red does give it a more coherent look, as proven by the fact that an enthusiastic and knowledgeable chap approaches as we arrive in Bosham harbour. “I saw you drive past,” he says, “and I thought: ‘Nice Healey – but that’s not a hardtop…’”
And that gets to the heart of this car’s aesthetic appeal. It is at once familiar and recognisable, but subtly and perplexingly different.
It is certainly no lash-up, no hastily finished ‘mule’.
The fabulously shaped Austin-Healey 100S coupé didn’t make it to production
The Healey looks best in profile, the rear side glass and roofline working supremely well over the muscular rear haunches.
There are hints of the later fixed-head MGA, but it’s bigger and more purposeful, although the boot now seems very large when viewed from directly behind.
The keener-eyed among you might have noticed one particular difference in detail.
“As a coupé styling exercise, it provided an opportunity for a higher level of security over the 100’s soft-top and side curtains,” says Jarick.
‘Donald often used it for the 250-mile blat from Cornwall to the Warwick factory’
“The sliding windows were lockable from inside, so without external doorhandles it would be difficult to enter – the 100’s internal cord-pull would not have been accessible when the windows were locked,” he continues.
“Therefore, handles were incorporated inside and out.”
“Also, the ‘anti-burst’ door locks fitted are of a type that was not introduced on a production Healey until the 3000 Sports Convertible almost 10 years later!
“In a similar vein, the rear chassis modification to allow greater suspension travel did not appear on a production car until the 3000 Mk3 in May 1964.”
The Austin-Healey 100S coupé’s painted wire wheels are shod with 5.90 H15 tyres