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The vehicle packed a 140-horsepower inline four-cylinder engine with a massive cam and dual carbs, and while Macklin was able to keep the vehicle in decent standing throughout the first racing stint, he eventually found himself being lapped by the substantially quicker sports-prototype vehicles from Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.

As the Austin-Healey came barreling past the pits, a Jaguar D-Type slowed abruptly as it came in for fuel, forcing to Macklin to swerve out of the way.

That's when the Austin-Healey was struck from the rear by a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR on the rear quarter.

The Mercedes-Benz catapulted into a retaining bank and disintegrated, spraying the crowd with flaming debris, including the vehicle's engine.

The Austin-Healey, meanwhile, spent a year in police impound before being repaired and sold to a private individual.

It's spent the last 42 years owned by a single individual, with many of those in storage.

A total of 84 individuals died as a result of the crash, including Pierre Levegh, the driver of the 300SLR.

A further 120 people sustained injuries of varying severity, and the crash prompted an international revision of safety precautions at race tracks.

All of that came rushing back as I read regular William Hartung’s latest post on “waste” at the Pentagon.It is a veteran of both the 19 Le Mans 24-Hour races, having finished third in class and 14th overall in the 1953 edition when co-driven by Wilkins/Becquart.Having begun life as a Healey Special Test Car, it was later updated by the factory to '100S' specification for 1954-55 when 'NOJ 393' contested both the exotic Carrera Pan Americana Mexico, and the Bahamas Speed Week events at Nassau.In addition it has the extraordinary primary claim to fame of having competed at top International level in two Le Mans 24-Hour Grands Prix d'Endurance.Works Austin-Healey 'NOJ 393' will also be exhibited to the public at the forthcoming Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 September.

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