Backyard Find: 1954 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe

As of late, I’ve seen pictures circulating of the infamous Collier Motors AMC dealership in North Carolina, a long-time dealer that kept the proverbial lights on long after AMC shuttered its operations. The reason I mention it is because the owner, who passed away not too long ago, let several significant cars sink into the ground, a travesty well documented by visitors. Among those cars were four Nash Healeys, including a Le Mans coupe that supposedly won Pebble Beach. While it seemed unlikely that such a significant car could be found more than once rotting into oblivion, lightning can strike twice as this 1954 example listed here on eBay shows us. Bidding is at $5,000 with the reserve unmet.

The Nash Healey project was an extremely ambitious joint venture, roping in Pininfarina for the styling; Healey for the frames; and the engine by Nash. The shipping of various components back and forth added a significant tax to the sale price, but the striking styling and respectable performance helped roadster and coupe find favor among the rich and famous. When factoring in the fact that the hardtop coupe actually had success in competitive motorsports events like Le Mans, the story practically writes itself in terms of why these limited production models remain so desirable today – but it also forces you to scratch your head as to why they end up in this sort of condition.

What’s perhaps even more incredible as, like the Collier Brothers dealership, this seller had two of these coupes for sale at one time. The listing includes a link to a YouTube video of the current listing, but within that same channel is a video from two months ago showing another Le Mans coupe that I’d assume has found a new home. You can see the video of this car here and the previous offering here. Obviously, the interior of our subject car is completely destroyed, and I can’t imagine finding original materials and patterns will be an easy task. The seller calls this example “semi-solid,” with rust noted in the doors and trunk lid; no word on the floors.

The listing notes that the seller’s father owned the Le Mans coupe since the 1980s, and obviously had an affinity for them if he managed to track down two project grade examples. These cars sell for very real money in restored condition, so I can’t imagine it’s the easiest model to find just wallowing away on a used car lot as a tired project. The seller does mention that the rear axle has been removed from the coupe, and they haven’t located it yet – so the new owner will have to figure out how to safely remove it from the backyard, where’s it’s clearly been for a few years. With low production numbers and exotic construction, the pedigree for such a car is hard to ignore – will this one end up better off than the Collier cars?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Didn’t Mike Wolfe buy one of these Nash-Healey’s? They featured that dealer on a show, and I’m sure it was the old guy that was holding it together, probably all be sold off now. I think a lot of their stuff was outside, and over grown weeds, looked like the cars were in poor shape. Great find for AMC collectors, tho.

    Like 14
    • Karl Sisson

      I think Mike Wolfe bought one and got the mechanicals working and left the body as it was. I never liked the look of the front of these cars compared to what the Brits made during that era.

      Like 4
    • Lance

      I sold one of those Nash Healeys to the Colliers years ago. It was a car that had been abandoned at my cousins’ house by a former tenant. Nash Healeys are funny though. They were made in batches of 50 and each batch of 50 was slightly different from the previous 50. So if you had an early batch car you were going to restore and a later batch parts car, you may have trouble with doors or other body parts not quite fitting. I think the Collier father and son team is now just the son. Weird dealership. I’ve been there and it’s strange.. Cars in the old AMC showroom with trees growing up around them. Most of the cars you can’t even see because of the vegetation.

      Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      I’m pretty sure the one that Mike Wolfe bought had an early Cadillac V8 in it . He had someone get it roadworthy mechanically and interior wise and left the body in its dilapidated as found condition.

      Like 3
      • Robert Monroe

        I believe that Mike Wolfe of pickers purchased a pair of these cars.

  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Any pictures/updates on the status of the collection?

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      There was at least one nationally published car magazine that did an in-depth article at least a decade ago with lots of pictures, there are also several videos on YouTube under Collier AMC. It’s stash of cars is not nor has it ever been a secret, undoubtedly many people have made attempts to buy anything if interest. If the owner wanted to sell he would have had more than an opportunity to do so.

      Steve R

      Like 4
  3. jo6pac

    Interesting cars and history.
    1953 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe | Hemmings

    nash healeys, including a le mans coupe – Bing images

    Nash-Healey – Wikipedia

    Like 1
  4. AnalogMan

    It’s such a sad, frustrating waste when cars like this are allowed to literally rust into the ground. Especially the Nash-Healys. He’s let a significant portion of the remaining Nash-Healys in the world dissolve back into the elements from which they came.

    Yes, I know it’s his stuff, and a person can do whatever they want with their things and their money. It’s still an unnecessary, stupid waste.

    You run into these kinds of people all the time on craigslist. The “I know what I got” type. If this guy threw out a two hundred thousand dollar number and mentioned that a Nash-Healy Coupe won at Pebble Beach (despite now being little more than barely car-colored bits of rust), it’s going to be his estate and heirs that will be selling off whatever’s left. Too bad by then most of the cars will probably no longer be salvageable, or even good for parts.

    Like 11
  5. sir_mike

    There is one that vintage races on the east coast.

    Like 2
    • Achman

      Yep I’ve seen it many time at Lime Rock. White with blue. Never first, but never last!

      Like 3
  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Glad it’s getting another chance……..

  7. James HGF

    Long term restoration with upgrades of a 1954 Nash Healey Le Mans Coupe:

    http://www.acmefluid.com.au/nash/docs.html

    Like 4
  8. jerry z

    I live maybe an hour from Collier Automotive but never have visited it. Maybe its time to take a trip to see if the dealership is still there. Wonder if they have any Matadors?

    Like 1
  9. Roger Ross

    Only like the metropolitan

    Like 1
  10. Martin Horrocks

    The Le Mans Nash-Healey was prototype which had nothing to do with the production coupé.

    Like 1
    • James HGF

      The Nash Healey Competition Cars article covers the Healey Company’s Mille Miglia and Le Mans efforts. The competion coupé X6 is shown in photo #3 and in photos #4, #5 and finally #6 at Le Mans in 1952 after its top been given the old heave-ho:

      https://www.carsceneinternational.com/nash-healey-competition-cars/

      As you correctly state, it “had nothing to do with the production coupé”.

      The X5 video shows that even the Healey Silverstone based first Le Mans race car bears a little nod to the Silverstone, but is a pure racer and no sign, even if one squints really hard, of the production car bodied by Panelcraft.

      Like 3
  11. Steve Clinton

    From the ad…
    “semi solid, doors have rust at bottom, trunk is rusted shut. No rear end on the car…”

    Semi???

    Like 1
    • Karen Bryan

      “Semi-solid”: Held together by wishful thinking. Try to move it and it collapses into shavings.

      Like 1
    • Paolo

      Putatively? Hypothetically? Theoretically? Imagined?

  12. HC

    What a shame. $5000 for not even a decent parts car or a rear end is overly optimistic. Dont care about the Pebble Beach name dropping.

    Like 2
  13. Ron

    My dad bought a ‘54 Nash Healey supercharged coupe in the 80’s. It was a solid straight car which he enjoyed driving from time to time. The supercharger was not on the car but in a box in the trunk, it needed to be rebuilt. He sold it in the late 80’s to someone in Holland.

  14. Jaker76

    Sold $8000. Somebody i hope saves it!

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