1951 Nash-Healey Roadster

A chance meeting in 1949 between Donald Healey and George Mason, head of Nash-Kelvinator, led to the expansion of the Warwick-based company’s lineup with a new model exclusively for the US market – the Nash-Healey. Marrying Nash’s 234.6ci (3.8-liter) overhead-valve six engine and three-speed/overdrive gearbox with the chassis of the Healey Silverstone sports racer, the Nash-Healey boasted an aluminum construction and a distinct Nash-style grille, hinting at the future design direction of the Austin-Healey 100.

Despite notable achievements in racing, including a 4th-place finish at Le Mans and a 9th-place ranking in class at the Mille Miglia in 1950, sales fell short of expectations, leading to production halting in 1951. Revamped by Pinin Farina, the Nash-Healey returned in 1952 with a steel body but maintained its weight, now propelled by a larger (252.6ci, 4.1-liter) and more potent (140bhp) engine. Racing triumphs persisted, notably with a 3rd-place finish at Le Mans in 1952.

Buoyed by racing successes, a ‘Le Mans’ long-wheelbase fixed-head coupe debuted in 1953. Adorning screens in popular culture, the Nash-Healey featured in the Superman TV series and Billy Wilder’s 1954 movie “Sabrina.” Despite its glamour, sales remained below projections, leading to the cessation of Nash-Healey production in 1954 after 506 units were sold.

Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s