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Before Austin: 1953 Nash Healey Roadster

1953 Nash Healey Project

Long before Donald Healey joined forces with Austin, he was building sports cars with Nash. This rare 1953 Nash Healey is just one of those cars. This one is going to need a full restoration, but with values of clean examples going for $50k to $100k, this one may be worth the work. That is if the reserve is not set too high. The car is located in Beverly Hills, California and is listed here on eBay with bidding at $200.

1953 Nash Healey Project Rear

Nash was an American manufacturer that had been building cars for many years when they teamed up with Donald Healey. He built the cars over in England using engines from Nash. They would then ship the cars back over to the United States to be sold. This particular car has been sitting for many years waiting to be brought back to life.

1953 Nash Healey Project Frame

The underside looks fairly solid. There is some rust here and there, but we can’t make out too many problem areas in the photos. Expect more than the eye can see though. Can anyone else see any similarities with later Austin Healeys?

1953 Nash Healey Project Interior

Sadly some of the interior pieces are missing here, but luckily these were pretty simple inside. The seller does not mention if they have the missing parts so it might be a good idea to find out before bidding.

1953 Nash Healey Project Engine

Things don’t look much better under the hood. The firewall has been stripped of all its components. The six cylinder engine is there though and it looks like it has been rebuilt at some time in the past. Again, we would want to double check with the seller to see if they have the hard to find bits in a box somewhere.

1953 Nash Healey Project Chassis Number

Finally, here is a shot of the number plate for reference. These cars were neither the fastest nor the best looking, but they do hold a special place in automotive history. Nash may have faded from memory, but Austin Healey went on to become an automotive legend and this little convertible is a vital part of that story.


  1. A J Ewers

    The hard to find parts missing doesn’t particularly bother me. I notice that part of the frame for the top is still there, thus not a true roadster. Looks like a clean slate for a mild custom, which could be done with period parts. A lot of Nash’s from that period were a miss mash of assorted parts suppliers, as were the Healey’s. Sorry if that opinion offends the purists.

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  2. fred

    Great car probably with an interesting provenance but a darn tough restoration. Some parts will be impossible to find and a lot of fabrication will be required. Hey Jay Leno?

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  3. Foxy

    Does anyone know if the eng is the stock motor, it looks alot like the 258 that amc had in most of there cars, a great eng btw. it looks like it to me, but not sure. if so it’s an older eng base then any others.

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  4. J. Pickett

    One thing Nash cars had was bulletproof drivetrains. And sourcing engine parts should be easy.

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  5. Alex S

    The car is offered local for $ 39.500,-. Btw. does anyone knows this Dealer “BeveryHillsCarClub” ? They have from time to time interesting cars. But a lot of the cars have broken windshields, no interior etc.

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  6. His Royal Flatulence

    Identifying engines by sight is not my forte, but this sure doesn’t look like an early-1950’s lump. That carb looks much newer, and in one photo an alternator is clearly visible. And the spin-on oil filter didn’t exist yet, as far as I know. So Foxy, if you think it’s a later AMC 258, I’d guess you’re right.I get the feeling this is a “what you see is what you get” situation. The photos are good but the accompanying description is almost nonexistent. I’d assume that anything not in the photos is gone, and that makes this one tough project.

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  7. A J Ewers

    First recorded spin-on filter Puralator in 1955. Definitely not the original engine.

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  8. A J Ewers

    Stock engine, however was a 252 I-6 from the ambassador. May have been an extremely simple swap.

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