"It just caught my eye and had a nice, timeless shape," says Joe Jarick, 61. In 1970, Jarick bought one of five Healey 100S race cars brought to Australia for $500 from a Mackay owner.
It was in bits and stayed like that until Jarick sold it for $4500 just four years later while living and working in London. He used the funds to buy a complete 100S from Portugal for 2600 pound. Jarick made a good profit on his first 100S, but it was later put together, restored and sold for $750,000.
Yet Jarick isn't tempted to tart up his 100S for a massive profit. "This car isn't worth that because it has a lot of warts," he says.
"Like me it's not all that flash these days. It's got stone chips and torn upholstery but it's all original upholstery. There is nothing on this car that is not original except for the spare coil and the indicators. It's been painted and had new discs but not a lot of other work. "I like it to look like it's just been on the race track."
And racing is what this vehicle is all about. The S in its name refers to the famous Sebring race track in America and 50 of the cars were used in endurance races such as Le Mans and Mille Miglia.
The aluminium race car features a 132 horsepower four-cylinder 2.6-litre Westlake engine with twin SU carbies, an alloy head, an original 20-gallon long-distance race fuel tank in the boot and British Lucas electrics.
Jarick proudly wheels his 100S out of the garage and tries to fire it up, but it won't spark. "I think you put the kibosh on it mentioning the Lucas electrics," he laughs.
However, a quick clean of the points and it's firing again, ready to relive its glory days. "I've had it 36 years and I've never been tempted to sell it," he says. "It was the first car in production with all disc brakes and a driver's seat belt."
Jarick has raced it in a few Lucas GP rallies and in the historic demonstration races at the 1996 and `98 Australian GPs. "It's a long-distance racing car not suitable for sprint events," he says. "I'd like to go in some sprint events but in a short circuit I'd never get out of first because of its tall gearing (2.92:1)."
Jarick loves his old English white and loberlia (blue/purple) 100S, but also has two restoration projects sitting in mates' garages. One is a 1904 8 horsepower, single-cylinder de Dion Bouton and the other is a 1938 Lancia Aprilia road car that belonged to Ferrari racer Mike Hawthorn, Britain's first world GP champion in 1958.
But it's the Austin Healey marquee that holds pride of place in Jarick's heart. He joined the Sydney Austin Healey Owners' Club when he bought his first 100S, but he soon founded a Queensland branch.
The local branch celebrates 40 years with a show and shine at the Queensland Maritime Museum on July 4 from 10am to 2pm. And you can bet Jarick's 100S will be there, warts and all.