Anglo-American-Italian Exotic: 1953 Nash Healey

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The Nash Healey was developed due to an unusual meeting on the original Queen Elizabeth ocean liner between Donald Healey and George Mason (the president of Nash-Kelvinator). What resulted was a relatively exotic (for the time) sports car that by 1953 was wearing a body designed by Pininfarina. This particular car is located in Columbia, Tennessee and is offered for sale here on eBay. Bidding is starting at $10,000, and there is a reserve something above that. Note that there is no title with the car, just a bill of sale.

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I wish the seller told us more about how the car got to this partially restored state. At first glance, the paint looks really nice, but there is one spot on the roof that is worrisome and I’m surprised to see damage around the painted dash where gauges were either masked around or remounted carelessly. It’s a beautiful color though–I hope it’s the original one!

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From this angle I can see either Mercedes or early-50’s Chevrolet styling influences. What do you see, besides the damage to the left rear of the roof? The seller is strangely silent about any history of the car-I’d love to at least know how they acquired the vehicle. Based on the German air-cooled cars in the picture backgrounds, I’m guessing Nash Healeys aren’t the seller’s specialty.

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The Pininfarina restyling was undertaken to bring the styling more in line with the rest of the Nash models. It met with mixed reviews at the time, but I think it’s aged nicely. I was worried when I first saw the pictures how one would come up with all the missing trim components.

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Then I saw these pictures and relaxed a little. However, it’s pretty likely that something will have gone missing in the meantime, and just figuring out what goes where will be a huge puzzle to complete. Since there were only 162 1953 coupes and roadsters made in all, it’s not likely that you are going to find a parts car. Looking at the Nash Healey Registry here, this is a previously unknown car. How cool!

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One of the neatest features of these early Healeys (not Austin-Healeys) is the huge trailing arm front suspension. This is pretty representative of the underside pictures of the whole car as well; surface corrosion and crud, but nothing to panic about. Of course, finding spares, might be difficult, and the extent of the age on the under car components would find me wanting to change them out. I did find what looks to be a great owners forum here, and one of the posts on it states that the tie rod end is the same as an Austin Healey and is readily available, so that’s a start!

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Here’s the Nash part of the equation! Equipped with twin carburetors, the inline six displaced 252.6 cubic inches according to this February 1969 American Motors information sheet. Plenty for me, for sure, although we are told it’s not running at the moment. I’d be at least asking if it were free to turn! Are any of you Barn Finds readers ready to take on this multi-national project car?

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Comments

  1. edh

    No title, no history, smells real fishy.

    No thanks.

  2. JW

    This looks allot like one of the Healys from American Pickers. They pulled 2 out of an old AMC Dealer in N. C. One was a silver coupe. It looks like the same car.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi JW, good call, I believe it is the same car. I heard, that show is entirely scripted ( like most shows) and the producers could have had it painted for the show. You wouldn’t believe what TV show producers will do for a show. Probably a prop car.
      https://i.ytimg.com/vi/EI3lFgQkxTk/maxresdefault.jpg

  3. nessy

    Not a car for me but I think bidding will go pretty high on this car.

  4. Alan Brase

    That all ties together: J3 Restorations. They do some work for the American pickers guys. I’m not a great fan of American Pickers, actually. But I think these guys are the REAL DEAL. Especially fixing early Porsches. WRT the Nash Healy, I think they know what they don’t know. But they do know metal work and lead.

  5. Howard A Member

    It sure is a rare car. They could probably ask whatever they want, and get it. Thing I don’t get, is someone did some work painting it, but the rest is deplorable. Looks like it came from a swamp. Superman drove one in the original series in the 50’s. Nash provided the cars. Gonna take Superman to get this one right again. Cool car. Love the dash. Again, typical Nash, they don’t have an ammeter, but do have a vacuum gauge. I’d think an ammeter is one of the more important gauges to have.

  6. Alan Brase

    Porsche didn’t think an ammeter so important in the 1950’s. Nearly all American cars did, go figure.
    A vacuum guage is good for someone concerned about economy.
    I agree, a few hours with steam cleaner underneath and some rattle can black might have decreased the yuck factor.
    Al

  7. AJ Hougland

    Looks a lot like one of the ones that the Pickers picked up in a package deal of three cars that they bought.

  8. Bruce Best

    I believe that a working convertible version of this car was in the movie Sabrina from the early 50’s with Bogart

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    rare….honey get the check book…..do we need to create a “beware – car flipper” bumper sticker ?

  10. Pfk1106

    Back in the 80’s I met Leonard mcgrady at a British car club meeting in churchville md. At the time he owned almost 50 of these cars, kept them in a barn in aberdeen md. I think his collection has grown to almost 70. He told me he met Donald healey, who couldn’t understand why someone would want that many of them. These were really expensive cars when they were new.

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