very special Healey was built by Tom Kovacs of Fourintune with design
assistance from Geoff Healey and Roger Menadue. The inspiration for
this car was the 1954 special test car built by the Donald Healey
Motor Company for the 12 Hour Sebring Race, NOJ 391, where as #29
it finished third overall!
S prototype features:
superstructure and body (photo #1,2 & 3)
four wheel disc brakes (photo #4)
headers and 2" SU carbs
gallon fuel cell (photo #8)
factory race color
Roger Menadue, experimental chief for the Austin Healey factory, also came
to Wisconsin in 1992 to verify what Geoff Healey had confirmed - that AHS
3804 had earlier been one of the special prototype test cars, NOJ 391.
Roger had used the sister car, NOJ 392, as his personal car for over 10
years even towing a small boat on family vacations with it! Roger helped
with the light green metallic paint color and explained that the English
wanted green to represent the UK entry at LeMans, but thought that dark
green looked to heavy for their little Healey. Original green paint was
located on the door of AHS 3804 and used as the basis for a color match.
It was Roger who recommended the lightening steps utilized in the later
works cars (56 FAC series). Holes were drilled and punched (photo #1) in
the appropriate places, making the car both lighter and stronger.
#4 is of the Dunlop disc brakes which were fit on both the front
and rear of this racing Healey. Photos of NOJ 391 at Sebring in 1954
revealed that the factory had run 16" C Type Jaguar disc wheels.
Geoff Healey told Tom that they used those wheels to compensate for
the lack of gear ratios, but they gave the car poor handling characteristics.
He recommended 15" wire wheels that were used on the later 100
#5, the modern day oil cooler with areo quip lines and fittings installed
can be seen. Production 100 S cars are fit with a "hippo" style
oil cooler which is inefficient and difficult to maintain.
room of the car (photo #6) as it nears completion. The firewall is
fit with bare aluminum to cover standard holes not needed on a race
car. Discussions with Geoff and Roger revealed that the NOJ cars
were fit with a tubular header which was custom built. Henry Westlake
is responsible for major improvements to the S engine. The standard
100 head has trouble breathing at 4000 rpm, so Westlake insisted
you move the intake and the exhasut over to the other side to get
away from the push rod tubes. The eight-port head was the result
and has excellent breathing. This idea necessitated a change in the
top four inches of the block to get the stud and water pattern that
#7, the chassis is a roller with the bottom end of the engine in
place. The aluminum firewall cover was installed prior any of the
wiring being hooked up. Once the engine was runing, the chassis was
test driven to double check all the mechanicals prior the body being
Tom chose the 1954 Sebring version of NOJ 391, the car has a huge
fuel cell built to replicate the 24 gallon tank used for that race.
Photo #8 shows the modern day cell custom built to original specs.
The oversized fuel filler location in the boot required a hole and
rubber seal that was sketched for Tom by Geoff Healey. The hole was
cut into the trunk lid and just fits around the LeMans type fuel
was built to be a "dual purpose" car that can be raced
or driven on the street. We tend to forget that many of the auto
manufacturers in the 1950's drove the "race" cars to the
track - this was their final "test drive!" Geoff and Roger
always said it was the ultimate incentive for the mechanics to get
everything right back at the factory. The 100 S engine is a superb
engine for "dual purpose" use, and makes a terrific touring
is in full street trim in photo #9. The Brooklands racing screen
is removed and a full windshield with convertible top is installed.
The top and windshield are the same style that were fit on the stock
100 cars. The seats (photo #10) however, are the 100 S type with
the three slats in the backrest which keep the driver and passenger
cooler at speed.
made its' racing debut at Road America's 1993 Chicago Historic Races
(photo #11). Roger Menadue, experimental chief for the factory, helped
finish the car at the shop and served as crew master once we arrived
at Road America. Driven by Phillip Coombs ( #105 in the 1990 Challenge
Series) the car finished second to another Fourintune 100 S owner,
Dick Hansen, who was racing his MGA twincam.
race, the car took top honors in the British Production based Race
Car Class. It was then selected as the "Best Race Car" beating
several GT40s and Ferraris. The Healey continued to take top honors
out on the race track with first place finishes in group 3D. Coomb's
fastest lap in the car at Road America (4 miles) was 2:53.479. This
is one fast four cylinder Healey!
major award came in August of 1998 at the Meadow Brook Hall Concours
d'Elegance where #29 was shown in the Race Car Circle (photo #12).
The concours is held every August on the grounds of the Dodge Mansion,
which is part of Oakland University in Rochester, MI. This event
has become the single largest fund-raiser to benefit the preservation
of Meadow Brook Hall.The green car won the circle overall and was
awarded the "Peter Helck Trophy" which is sponsored by
the T.M. Smith Tool International Corp. Previous winners of this
award include Miller, Cunningham, Scarab and Ferrari cars. The 100
S prototype is the first Austin Healey to ever win this award!
read more about this car and the current owner who vintage races
this Healey, click