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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1953 Nash-Healey made in England, Italy and Wisconsin

Pick of the Day: 1953 Nash-Healey made in England, Italy and Wisconsin

The attractive roadster was a multinational effort to build an American sports car

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The Pick of the Day is a handsome 1953 Nash-Healey roadster, one of the earliest collaborations between a US and a British automaker, along with input from an Italian coachbuilder.   Arriving in 1951, the Nash-Healey also was the first post-war sports car from a major American manufacturer.

That manufacturer was Nash Motors of Kenosha, Wisconsin, which marketed the sleek roadster as a halo car for its range of sturdy but decidedly unsporting automobiles.  The sports car got its engine and driveline from the Nash Ambassador, its body design from Pinin Farina, and was built at the Healey factory in England.

nash-healey, Pick of the Day: 1953 Nash-Healey made in England, Italy and Wisconsin, ClassicCars.com Journal

So how did this all come about? As the story goes, British automotive legend Donald Healey was traveling on the HMS Queen Elizabeth after a depressing failure to secure Cadillac engines for his sports cars.  On board the iconic vessel, he met and befriended George Mason, who happened to be the head of Nash Motors. 

Between them, they concocted a plan over dinner to combine efforts to produce a new kind of American sports car, a Nash-Healey that could compete straight up with those coming from the UK and Europe, and that would lift the fortunes of both Nash and Healey. 

nash-healey

An existing Healey body was restyled by the Italian carrozzeria, which in the second production year incorporated the signature Nash oval grille with its inset headlights. 

The Nash-Healey was produced for just four years, from 1951 through 1954, with just over 500 produced, and they are quite desirable among today’s collectors.  The 140-horsepower straight-6 Nash engine is certainly adequate, although these roadsters are sometimes resto-modded with more-powerful V8s and modern drivetrains.

nash-healey, Pick of the Day: 1953 Nash-Healey made in England, Italy and Wisconsin, ClassicCars.com Journal

It would be a pity to redo this Nash-Healey, though. The Astoria, New York, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com notes that it is still in great condition with an older restoration that has held up well. 

“This gorgeous 1953 Nash-Healey Roadster by Pinin Farina is a highly sought-after and collectible automobile,” the dealer says in the ad. “White with red-leather interior and chrome wire wheels with whitewall tires.

nash-healey

“Complete with its side windows, black soft-top and tonneau cover. It starts right up and runs and drives wonderfully. Very nice paint, chrome-work, and a beautiful interior. Straight body with good door and panel fit as well as a solid undercarriage.”

The asking price for the Nash-Healey is $125,000.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Actually, introduced in 1949 the Crosley Hot Shot was the first post-war American production sports car from an American automobile manufacturer. I would venture to say that Hot Shot outsold Nash Healys throughout their respective lives?

  2. At ALIOTO’S restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, as you enter… there’s a photo of SEVERAL Nash-Healeys…. ironically MIS-IDENTIFIED as Jaguars. I told the family daughter who runs it, and she said she’d try to fix it. Quite a machine…. believe Wayne Carini found ont.

    • 1954 movie “Sabrina”, William Holden as David drove a Nash Healy. With sound effects added to make the 140hp Nash seem fast. Too bad Nash forced their fugly corporate grill design onto Pinin Farina’s design.

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