The Austin-Healey 100 has priced itself out of consideration
Seeing a gap in the automobile market between low-power roadsters and pricey Jaguars, British car designer and racer Donald Healey set out to build a beautiful, agile, affordable sports car capable of 100 mph. Despite its Austin drivetrain, the plan had been to market the car simply as the Healey 100, but Austin saw the potential for the stylish runabout and opted to build the car and take advantage of Austin’s increased production capacity. Thus the Austin-Healey 100 was born.
The Gerry Coker-designed roadster was praised for its sleek design and wonderful handling. It spawned numerous variations like the race-bred 1955 Austin Healey 100S, which upped the output of the Austin A90-sourced 2660-cc four-cylinder to 132 horsepower.
Like any sporty car with a wide variety of powerplants and options, values vary wildly depending on the specification. The 100S served as a halo car for the rest of the 100 model line and can bring seven-figure prices. Even though the equally gorgeous 100M, with its lower output and steel body, can be had for more manageable prices, it’s still often a $100,000 car. As we’ve seen across the market, many collectors are beginning to balk at spending that kind of money, opting instead for newer, more attainable cars that can be appreciated as daily drivers. Consequently, the Austin-Healey 100 has seen its Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR) drop quite a bit over the last four years and now seems to have priced itself out of consideration.
The Hagerty Vehicle Rating takes auction and private sales results, insurance quoting activity, and the number of new policies purchased into consideration, to sort hundreds of car models and compare them to the collector car market as a whole. Our valuation team then assigns a score from 1 to 100, with a 50 denoting a car that’s perfectly following the overall market trend. Popular cars that are gaining interest and value will score higher, those with flagging interest or sale prices score lower. A vehicle’s position on the list isn’t always a sign of future collectability, it’s more of a pulse of the current market.
The Austin-Healey 100 saw its peak HVR of 90 when it was added to our listings in 2016, and trended downward until it bottomed out with an HVR of 20 in mid-2018. After bouncing back briefly to mid-pack ratings, it has once again cooled and currently has an adjusted HVR of just 23. The drop is due to weak insurance quoting activity and year-over-year reduction in both the number of vehicles added to policies and a 34-percent drop in the average value of new cars added; zooming out, the top of the market has cooled tremendously.
For the hefty prices Austin-Healey 100s demand, collectors could buy more exciting exotics from Italy, or, which seems to be the case increasingly often, an entire collection. As beautiful as the British roadster is, we can’t say that’s a bad option.