Jonny Scott-Nelson of Austin Healey specialist Murray Scott-Nelson remembers an unusual restoration of a British classic
We restored a rare 100/6, one of the early six-cylinder cars made at Longbridge with the V-shape pressing down the centre bonnet before production transferred to Abingdon. It was a strange spec for a customer in Switzerland, seven or eight years ago. It was actually a combination of two specifications, which made it quite an unusual job.
The customer’s father had owned one in the late 1950s or early ’60s and he wanted it to be just like the car of his childhood. He was going entirely from memory: he’d send us snippets that he could recall and we’d have to work from that.
He was very particular, right down to the choke pull and the finish on the dashboard. When it came to specifying the carpet, he went for the cheap stuff because that’s what he remembered his dad’s car having. You can imagine that most people go for the expensive option.
On the other hand, he wanted a special leather for the seats. He asked me if I was familiar with the leather on the seats in First Class on British Airways. I replied that, funnily enough, I wasn’t. I think the client worked in the aviation business and was able to source some of the same leather that BA used.
The car was upgraded in other areas to be like the famous UOC 741 works car that competed in the final Mille Miglia in 1957. It had disc brakes all round, with original-style Dunlop discs at the front rather than the drums that his car would have had in period.
We fitted it with a hard-top and he even managed to get the famous registration, only the other way around, so it reads 741 UOC.
All our Healeys end up being a little bit different according to what the customer wants. This was quite a strange job all round, but it ended up being a really nice car.
Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1
Ex-TV show restoration in need of serious ‘correction’ in expert hands after receiving an independent assessment of what was right and what was wrong. Status: Assembly underway, should be ready before summer is out.
Austin-Healey 3000 Mk2
A rare early ‘Tri-Carb’ model, from 1962 and one of only about 300 built, has arrived at our premises. Work is just about to begin. Status: Completion date set for some time in 2019.