Nash-Healey (1953)

Nash-Healey roadster – 1953

Two years before the arrival of the Corvette, the Nash-Healey roadster was the first totally new, post-war American sportscar. A unique collaboration between an American brand, an English race car manufacturer and an Italian design house resulted in an exceptionally beautiful and very sporty roadster. This 1953 example, restored some seven years ago, is in very good condition, both technically and optically.

The Nash-Healey

The story of the origins of the Nash-Healey is a special one. In December 1949, Donald Healey, racing car driver and owner/founder of the Donald Healey Motor Company, travelled to America on the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner. On board he met with George Wason, president of Nash-Kelvinator, who- among other things- produced high-end cars. The two immediately got on well and came up with the idea of building a car together: a sporty two-seater. Nash would provide the drivetrain and Healey the chassis and parts of the suspension. The car would be called the Nash-Healey.

For the engine they chose the 3,8-litre (234,8 cu) inline six of the Nash Ambassador, with a high-compression aluminium cylinder head provided by Healey. This boosted power to 114 PS. The chassis was borrowed from the Healey Silverstone sportscar, but widened and strengthened. The first Nash-Healy aluminium body was designed by Healey and built by the Panelcraft Sheet Metal company in Birmingham. The prototype was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September 1950.

Expensive, but capable

Not pleased with the looks, Nash decided to contact the Italian Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina to make a new design in 1952. And with success! With the right amount of Italian style but without losing its Americana appearance, the new Nash-Healey roadster was, and is a beautiful car with lots of special details. A good example is the ingenious way the soft top is fully concealed behind the leather bench seat, so it wouldn’t disturb the lines of the car. To match the performance to its new looks, the six cylinder engine was increased to 4,1-litre (252 cu), bringing the power up to 142 PS.

The production of the Nash-Healey was quite complicated. Engine and drivetrain were made in America and then sent to Engeland to be placed in the Healey chassis. Subsequently the cars were sent to Turin where the craftsmen of Pininfarina made the bodies by hand. This made production costs fairly high and thus the car rather expensive. In 1952 it was almost double the price of the new Corvette.

But the Nash-Healey was a more than capable sportscar, proven by its results on the racetrack, like a third place at the 24 hours of Le Mans in ‘52. With Nash being incorporated into the American Motors Corporation, limiting its resources, and Donald Healey focussing on the brand-new Austin-Healey, production ceased in 1954.

The car for sale

This 1953 Nash-Healey roadster was originally delivered to the United States. There it spent most of its time until it came to the Netherlands in 2005. Here it was completely restored in 2015. Since then the car hasn’t driven much, so it’s almost like the restoration was done yesterday.

The Nash-Healey roadster is slowly getting the attention and appreciation it deserves. Being one of the most beautiful sportscars from the fifties thanks to its perfect blend of American and Italian style, and its serious performance due to its British racing roots, this is a highly desirable car. Executed in what we like to think is the best colour combination, this Nash-Healey is one of best examples for sale at the moment.

Specifications:

Year: 1953
Mileage: 67100 miles
4,1-litre straight-six
ca. 142 PS
3-speed manual gearbox with overdrive
Top speed 180 km/h
1.089 kg
Recent restoration
Fully checked and serviced

Price: € 149.500,-