1951 Nash-Healey Roadster


1951 Nash-Healey Roadster

1951 Nash-Healey Roadster

Young Americans fell in love with a new breed of sports car after World War II and small, independent automakers such as Nash and Kaiser were the first to realize this was more than a passing fad. The Nash-Healey in particular was the product of a chance encounter in late 1949 between Nash’s George Mason and sports car builder Donald Healey aboard the Queen Elizabeth II oceanliner.

The prototype was soon completed and displayed at the London and Paris Auto Salons of 1950. The sleek aluminum-alloy bodies of the cars that followed were constructed by Panelcraft Sheet Metal Ltd. of Birmingham, while their chassis were based on the Healey Silverstone, and the powertrain and driveline were borrowed from the Nash Airflyte. The engine was a modified Nash six-cylinder powerplant with a hotter camshaft, an aluminum cylinder head, dual SU carburetors and higher compression. Sales began in the United States after the car’s debut at the 1951 Chicago Auto Show.

Nash was quick to enter competition with its new sports cars. A specially-bodied Nash-Healey finished ninth in 1951 at the grueling Mille Miglia, and fourth overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The following year, an open Nash-Healey returned to Le Mans, finishing third overall, and second in the Index of Performance. Press reaction was also positive. Pioneering road-tester Tom McCahill said that he had “never driven a sports car that handled better or gave the driver so much control.”

Just 104 first series, alloy-bodied Nash-Healey LeMans Roadsters were originally built, and few survive today.

1951 Nash-Healey Roadster Gallery

In Detail

type Series Production Car
released at 1950 London Motor Show
coachbuilder Panelcraft Sheet Metal Ltd.
production 104
engine Nash Airflyte Inline-6
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
block material Cast Iron w/Aluminum Cylinder Head
fuel feed Twin SU Carburetors
displacement 3850 cc / 235 in³
power 93.2 kw / 125 bhp
specific output 32.47 bhp per litre
body / frame Aluminum Alloy Body over Healey Silverstone Steel Chassis
driven wheels RWD
f suspension Independant w/Coil Springs, Trailing Link, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Live Axle w/Coils Springs, Panhard Bar
wheelbase 2590.8 mm / 102 in
transmission 3-Speed Manual w/Overdrive

Auction Sales History

1951 Nash-Healey LeMans Alloy Roadster 2041 – sold for $67,100

Just 104 first series, alloy-bodied Nash-Healey LeMans Roadsters were originally built, and few survive today. Fewer still are as attractive as this example. Professionally restored, this car is finished in Mint Green with a tan cloth top and a gray interior with smart blue piping. It is also equipped with Cibie headlights, correct Nash-Healey wheel covers, blackwall tires and pull-up side windows, and it retains the correct Nash engine with the rare factory-original aluminum cylinder head. Factory-fitted with a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, this LeMans Roadster also includes full instrumentation, a heater, spare tire and jack. Auction Source: 2009 Automobiles of Amelia Island RM Auction