In terms of British motoring there's no era quite like the 1950s-1960s, and there's few cars that exemplify this period like the “Big” Austin-Healey.
First produced in 1953, the Healey 100 was something of a revelation despite some relatively humble origins.
The very first car, the Healey Hundred, was a concept model developed by British rally driver Donald Healey from the three-seat Nash-Healey – itself a collaboration between Healey Motor Company and Nash-Kelvinator – and the Austin A90 Atlantic, and constructed by Tickford.
Presented at the London Motor Show in 1952, it caught the eye of BMC's Austin, which needed to replace the unsuccessful A90 and went all-in for the Hundred – so named for its ability to break through 100mph with nothing more than the A90's 90hp, 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine.
The model grew into its Gerry Coker-designed looks in 1956, with the 100-6 which, as the name suggests, saw the A90's four-pot replaced with a six-cylinder, 2.6-litre C-Series. That included a healthy bump in power and revisions to the front end, with a new grille and – most notably – a bonnet-mounted air scoop.
Further development on the Healey eventually saw the famous 3000 model, with the larger 2.9-litre engine, which would remain in production across three iterations through to the end of the BMC and replaced by the short-lived MGC.
In total Austin-Healey produced around 70,000 examples of the “Big Healey” – a retronym to distinguish it from the much smaller Sprite – over the 14 years and three generations, making the affordable sports car comparable in rarity to the Jaguar E-Type.