Last month my article (ULTIM8 AH Returns to SoCal) reintroduced our club members to Kenny Deringer’s magnificent 1955 BN1. This month, we’ll provide more details why this Healey is so exceptional and highlight the features of this build “Rebirth of a 1955 100-4 Austin Healey 1990-2002”.
As mentioned, Kenny started with a derelict Healey found in a vacant lot in Costa Mesa, which was towed home to Kenny’s home and garage. There, the planning and rebirth began in 1990.
Over the course of the next 10 years, Kenny redesigned a modern Healey using more current and sophisticated components. Almost single handed, he disassembled the rusty wreck, removed rust & corrosion, and fabricated many parts to accommodate the new engine, tranny, rack & pinion steering, radiator, side pipes, interior, etc.
A comprehensive article on Kenny’s BN1 modified was presented in the January 2012 issue of Healey Motor News, by our club Historian, Bill Wilkman. I will not repeat all that information here, but focus on what makes this Healey really unique. In short, if you had unlimited funds and time, I’m not sure you could engineer a better Healey. Kenny was a master craftsman and fabricator and managed to create a next-generation Healey without destroying the unique appearance. Kenny focused on mostly the mechanical features (drawbacks?) like poor steering, Lucas electrics, problematic exhaust, old technology transmission, cooling issues, etc. by incorporating the best-of- breed replacements/ improvements.
Unique features include:
-Frenched in road lamps
-Tucked in custom twin exhaust side pipes
-Aluminum block 215 CID Buick V8
-Borg-Werner (Tremec) 5 speed tranny w/ synchromesh in all gears
-Custom rack and pinion steering
-Custom radiator w/ two-speed electric fan
-Front Disc brakes
-Electrical system replaced
-Custom nerf bars replacing bumpers
-Alfa Romeo seats
-Front fender louvers
-Bonnet (hood) louvers
-Smoothed trunk (handle removed)
-Later series Healey dashboard with extra gauges
-Gerry Coker signature on dash - 2008
Between 2002 and 2011, this unique Healey was driven about 5,000 miles and awarded many car show awards for excellence, including:
2002 - Best of Show - California Healey Week- Solvang
2002 - Second Place, Modified - Open Roads Relay International - Lake Tahoe
2003 - Premier Class - California Healey Week - Lake Marcos
2004 - First Place, Modified - California Healey Week - Ventura
2005 - Best of Show - California Healey Week - Indio
2006 - Premier Class - California Healey Week - Big Bear
2007 - First Place, Modified - California Healey Week - Ventura
2008 - Best of Show - Healeys at Automobile Driving Museum Car Show
2010 - Best of Show – California Healey Week - Temecula
2011 - Best of Show – California Healey Week - Ventura
Be sure to read Bill Wilkman’s republished articles on Kenny’s unique Healey elsewhere in this issue of Healey Motor News.