No Car Left Behind: Rescuing a ’58 Austin-Healey
Rescue Mission

After having the Wavetrac installed last month, I found myself almost immediately on the road again.

I always try to make the most of these long trips across to the UK as it’s relatively easy – if not a little bit boring – to reach anywhere, courtesy of the huge motorway network. My next stop would see me and Project GTI head north from Southampton right up into the heart of the English countryside, to an airfield called Bruntingthorpe.

Now known as Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, the former RAF base is home to an eclectic collection of machinery. From decommissioned 747s to former military aircraft, there’s nothing that would surprise me if it popped up here. It’s also home to some very interesting cars, along with a 2-mile-long runway which has become renowned for its high speed runs and features heavily in British automotive media.

I don’t think the car we’re looking at today is going to be making any record runs up the runway any time soon, but that’s not what it’s about. In fact, this car is the complete antithesis to speed. What it does have though is style, character and a great story.

You might not be familiar with the maker, Austin-Healey, but that’s okay. I’ve been exposed to the British car maker for most of my life, but I never considered it interesting in any way. Austin-Healeys have never excited me and you’d rarely see one outside of a classic car show. Typically, they would be grouped together with an identical style applied to them all. The only thing that separated them was their colour. No one would ever dare to step outside the line and do something different.

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This is where Max Marshall’s 1958 Austin-Healey 100-6 is different from the rest. The car was bought sight unseen by Max’s father back in 2011. His father had been looking for one for a while and when he was shown photos of this particular car, he knew it was the one for him. There was one issue though: the car had been sat up since the mid-1970s. Also, it was in California.

The latter point is actually a bonus when you’re used to sourcing cars within the UK. The typically dry conditions in California means that the car would be far more structurally sound than if it had been exposed to the elements in the UK for nearly 40 years. It would probably have rotted away completely in the UK, truth be told. So the car was bought, pulled out of whatever field it was lying in and shipped across to fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary Poppins, England.

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When it arrived, the 100-6 was actually in better shape than the Marshalls could ever have hoped for. Unfortunately for the car, it had another little bit of waiting before it would be resurrected.

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It was only earlier this year that Max took pity on the car and started working on restoring it. It’s at this point that I’d like to add that I’m hugely appreciative that Max would make the decisions he would ultimately make. The first task was to see if the engine would still turn. Hooking up a constant flow of power to the starter motor, the engine happily turned over after 42 years of sitting idle.

Next was the unenviable task of getting it running. Fresh plugs, HT leads, distributor cap and condenser, water pump and thermostat, fuel pump and an alternator to replace the original dynamo followed by rebuilding the carburettors brought the car to life. The transmission side required a new master cylinder, slave cylinder and flexible lines, but again, once it was bled, it worked faultlessly.

The only issue during the car’s revival was when Max’s heavy right foot blew the old seals out of the drum brake cylinders. Needless to say, these were replaced too with new brake lines installed.

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With the car running once more, plans then turned to the next chapter. Here’s the thing though, Max wasn’t feeling the idea of a nut and bolt restoration. “Most Healeys on the internet are all painted up and looking shiny, but you don’t see any of its character like that,” he told me. “You can’t see what life it has had before it was put in a body shop and covered in filler to make it look straight and then a shiny new coat of paint put on.”

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There’s so much history which can be read from the car’s exterior. The license plate tag is from 1974, as was the old newspaper found under the carpet, likely to provide padding against the exhaust’s heat in the hotter climate.

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There’s still the permit from the San Jose City College attached to the rear bumper too, from which one could assume that the car once belonged to a teacher or lecturer. It’s these little details that can never be replaced and are infinitely more interesting than a re-chromed bumper, void of character.

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The decision to drop the car on air suspension was actually what set about brining the Healey back to life. When Max and his friend, Henry Gilbert from Riiva Design, started to toy around with the idea of bagging something interesting, it was all the reminder that Max needed about the 100-6 roadster sat in his workshop. From factory, these cars are notorious for being too low and bottoming out, so it made sense to put it on air.

There’s no off-the-shelf solution for something as niche as this, so Henry ordered up a universal kit from Air Lift Performance and custom fabricated everything to fit before installing 3P management. The original wheels and tyres were retained, where typically most would convert to wire wheels.

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Max didn’t want the 100-6 to look like a barn find and wanted people to know that this car was being cared for with quite a lot of work having been put into it. An immaculate interior was required to contrast with the exterior’s patina. Luckily, he didn’t have to travel far as just 20 metres from his own workshop was good friend, Martyn Beddow, who happens to be quite good at this interiors lark.

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The car was finished for Players Classic earlier this year, and Max feels that it was this self-imposed deadline that got the Austin-Healey finished. There are still a few bits and pieces left to finish the on the car. For instance, the side-exit factory exhaust sits too close to the ground, so a workaround needs to be figured out. After 42 years of waiting to be driven again, I’m sure a few more weeks won’t kill it.

Maybe another self-imposed deadline just to be on the safe side?

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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64 comments

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1

I absolutely love this car, simply cannot state how good I think it looks.
Healeys have a lovely shape, but this just looks like the first sketches the designer did, BEFORE real world considerations like a practical ride height were factored in and spoil the effect.

2

JonathanW I completely agree. Beautiful car, and beautiful photography.

3

come on Paddy, wheres the engine shot?

4

@ihateyoutoo exactly what I came down here to type

5

I see that you too have seen Snatch many times.

6

San Jose represent! lol beautiful car and wonderful photos. Love the interior too

7

God damn this thing looks good slammed to the ground, normally i'm not the biggest fan of the whole dropped-to-the-ground scene, but this is possible the best looking slammed car i have seen, total. completely changes the looks compared to stock height, and its nice to see that the car has bags so its still drive-able

8

any shots of it at ride height?

9

Bountiful of character! Slammed but not too slammed. Perfect!

10

SAN JOSE!!!!!!
It's a small world

11

jay8393 That thing could absolutely not get any more SLAMMED!

12

@SW1 I know dude.  It tripped me out for a sec seeing the black plates and bumper decal.  I totally had to re-read the article to double check where that thing was!

I'm in Fremont, what about you?

13

The chrome is just begging for some 0000 steel wool and chrome polish. My buddies Dad had one of these when we were in high school. His Dad was an industrial arts teacher.
It was the second car I went over 100 mph in, the first was my Dads 1957 Pontiac Safari station wagon.

14

Seriously one of the coolest looking cars I've seen in along time. Nice work.

15

I'm not really a fan of the cambered/massive wheel tuck look when aired out.
This just hits it for me, it's low, but doesn't look broken

16

Seriously among the coolest looking http://westonstarauto.com/ I've seen in a long occasion. Good
work.

17

@ihateyoutoo I may have got distracted exploring the 747.

18

Difflocked_Mees I'd like to see it at ride height too !

19

Some cars have really ugly wear and tear, and then there are others, like this one that have naturally artistic patina.

20

This is a seriously cool car.  It incorporates almost everything I'd love to have in a older car.  The feels of this thing are amazing.  Very nice work.

21

JonathanW You are dead on.  The character the body has and even things down the sticker on the rear bumper make this thing over the top awesome.  Things you cant buy, the car had to live through.

22

BREAKING NEWS>>>>>>>
My Uncle Christian got an awesome blue Chevrolet SS Sedan by working part time off of a home computer... website here...........>>>>>>>>  http://tinyurl.com/Cnn25-com

23

I am shocked that you can earn $9120 


in 1 month on the internet .




http://tinyurl.com/youtube-make-mony

24

I am currently rallying a healey MKIII together with two other healeys. In the Netherlands we started a new class in rally, named the Legend. Legendary cars and sometimes Legendary drivers (Jimmy Mcrae for instance)
So no, not al healeys can be found in a museum, we drive them, maybe contact me for a shoot during a rally next year?

25

the car is awesome original body and mechanics but custom underneath, but you talk bullshit about a vast motorway network in the UK. The bottom end of Cornwall is  over a 100 miles and 2 hours of crap roads from a motorway

26

KeithEdwards If you think the UK's motorway network is sub-par, you must have never experienced anything else.

27

my Aunty Morgan got a nearly new silver Toyota Prius by working part time off of a pc online...

28

vdubwings my Aunty Morgan got a nearly new silver Toyota Prius by working part time off of a pc online... 

http://www.easy.jobs14.com/

29

Holy crap! San Jose City College?! I lived within about a mile of there for most of my life!

30

EvolveWRC  If you've seen it once, you've gotta see it again. and again. and a-freakin-gain.

31

A staff member at San Jose city college.. I wonder if that school was more respectable back then :b  But man this car is so sick! If I had to criticize, (which none of us do) I'm am totally not feeling those refinished seats, I know it's supposed to contrast the dinginess of the outside...but that red piping is killin me.

Thanks for covering this car's story tho!

32

BusBuddha I live down the street from it currently. I sat up straight as soon as I read that sticker. What an awesome detail. The Austin must have been cruising around my area long ago

33

Roman64 Ha! I'm in SJ, and I work in Fremont. Really is a small world

34

My Uncle Owen just got a 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG GT Coupe from only workin part time on a home computer. look at this now ..........>>>>http://www.buzz.jobs14.com/

35

Kinda backwards...you work for Tesla?

36

Paddy McGrath Photos!

37

You need to rely less on the stanav dude, explore! There are some mental, mental routes you can take through that end of the country.

38

Great choice of feature

39

my bf mom just got black Chevrolet Cruze Diesel only from working part-time off a home computer.

40

my mum in law just got a stunning cream Volvo XC60 SUV 


by working off of a home computer... 




http://tinyurl.com/youtube-make-mony

41

it's original's base , i like the feeling , good job

42

Condemning it to a life of stance

43

Had to comment on the backdrop - the one and only fabulous Nimrod MR2.  I'm lucky enough to have over 3500 hrs on that beast.

44

@johnb very cool indeed. What is the glass dome on the wing pod for?

45

@johnb  I didnt even know that a stay at home mom can profit $9895 


in 1 month on the internet . 




http://tinyurl.com/youtube-make-mony

46

I'm startled that some one can profit $9317 in a few weeks on the internet


http://www.cashpro3.com/

47

My Uncle Tom just got a 5 month old Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe 


from only workin part time on a home pc.............




http://tinyurl.com/youtube-make-mony

48

Inboard coilovers and VW POWERED!

49

I like bagged cars very much. Nevertheless it would be fine showing such cars at another higth then the lowest. I think it theese cars are also great looking when they are not in the lowest position and it would be a nice variation to have some pictures for comparison ...

50

I didn't know that some one able to profit $8942 


in 3 weeks on the internet . 




http://tinyurl.com/easy-make-mony

51

From decommissioned 747s to former military aircraft, there’s nothing that would surprise me if it popped up here. It’s also home to some very interesting cars, along with a 2-mile-long runway which has become renowned for its high speed runs and features heavily in British automotive media.








http://tinyurl.com/fastincome79

52

my mom just got a real cool Mercedes-Benz SL-Class SL65 AMG 




only from working part-time off a pc... 




http://tinyurl.com/easy-make-mony

53

Awesome!

54

as   Phyllis    answered    I'm   alarmed   that   a   student   can    profit   $4813 in   1    month   on   the  internet .


http://tinyurl.com/fastincome79

55

Need....V8....under....da....hood :D
Awesome feature,so much character in the car,you are right about restored cars. I mean car is made to be driven.

56

I am blown away that any body can profit $8036 




in 3 weeks on the computer . 






http://tinyurl.com/easy-make-mony

57

I am startled that a stay at home mom able to profit $8900 


in 3 weeks on the internet . 




http://tinyurl.com/easy-make-mony

58

My Uncle Ian recently got a twelve month old Honda Civic Sedan from only workin part-time on a pc




http://www.cashpro3.com/

60

Beautiful car. Old cars look so sleek when they're slammed. Love the story behind it's character too.

61

KeithEdwards  Calling bullshit! As Paddy McGrath  said you haven't ventured far... On top of that there are some incredible roads down in ol' Kernow!

62

just as Scott replied I am taken by surprise that a person can get paid $7702 in a few weeks on the ...............  


http://tinyurl.com/fastincome79

64

I think the seals were blown off the brakes because British car, Paddy :P Just like how they are prone to peeing oil all over your driveway. I have seen an Austin-Healey Sprite in person along with various Triumphs etc, you'd be quietly chuffed with all the old British iron knocking about in NZ Paddy.

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