1951 Nash Healey Roadster SOLD

Interesting Period History, Great Vintage Racear, Street Registered!

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1951 Nash-Healey
s/n N333967
White with Red Interior

Donald Healey met George Mason, President of Nash-Kelvinator in 1949. Healey had enjoyed considerable success with his Silverstone race car in England, and was traveling by ship to America to try to open new markets. As rumor had it, he went to buy a few 331 Cadillac engines to put in the Silverstone as well. One way or another (probably with money) Mason was able to convince Donald that a joint venture would be a good idea and the Nash-Healey was born.

Prototype cars were entered in 1950 at Le Mans (fourth overall behind two Lago-Talbot Gran Prix cars and Sydney Allard in his own J2X); 1951 sixth place and in 1952 third place behind two Mercedes. A car was entered in the Mille Miglia by Geoff and Donald Healey in 1951 where it started as number 406 and finished 30th overall. It was not until the early 60`s that another British/American hybrid was to be so competitive.

This car, Nash-Healey chassis number 2030, with Panelcraft alloy body number 28, was manufactured in early 1950. All of the Panelcraft aluminum bodied cars (134) were built in the first part of 1950. One hundred and four were sent to the US and thirty were kept and sold with a different engine (Alvis) by Healey ad the Healey three litre. All the US cars were painted off white by Healey, who thought it would be the best color for them, and upon arrival to the US, Mason painted them all maroon. The car used a widened Silverstone chassis with its massive trailing arm suspension and the Nash Jetfire engine and drive train. It was the first Anglo/American hybrid to be produced after WWII.

In addition to wonderful period history, this Nash-Healey has been actively vintage raced on the West Coast for nearly 20 years. A 6 time participant in both the Monterey Historic and Wine Country Classic automobile races, and a 5 time Coronado Grand Prix, it is a characterfull and economical entry to many of the world`s premier historic races and tour events. With this Nash-Healey you`ll have the opportunity to compete with many of worlds most historically significant, multi-million dollar racing cars.

Currently the car is ready to race and has seen much recent mechanical development. The 331 Cadillac engine was completely rebuilt, balanced, and dynoed with new Holley carburetors and original Allard polished intake manifold purschased from Dick Gilstrand. The Hydromatic transmission was replaced by a rebuilt Ford top loader. The differential and driveshaft have been upgraded, rear suspension reworked. The brake booster was rebuilt and Porterfield racing shoes installed. A new Tilton master cylinder and pedal assembly, has been fitted, along with a Tilton oil pump. The interior has been restored with fresh upholstery and Corbeau racing seats. Many of the gauges were restored or replaced. The speedometer is working, for use on the street.

As is often the case with racing cars from the 1950s, this car has a very interesting and varied history:

This example was initially sold for street use equipped with the Nash engine in 1951 in Monterey. History has it that the first proud owner had a pregnant wife at home who was not impressed with his acquisition. By mutual agreement the car was traded even for a MK VIII Jaguar to Rocky Bowersox about a year later in Monterey.

According to Rocky an almost immediate engine switch was planned and his personal friendship with the local Cadillac dealer provided him with a new 331 Cadillac engine. Within weeks the new engine, somewhat modified had replaced the Nash. Rocky had the fastest car in town. The car was used on a daily basis to commute from Monterey to Big Sur where Rocky had a restaurant (Rocky Point) and on weekends as a dragster and fun car. It turned 13 seconds in the quarter mile. It was a founding car in the Pebble Beach Sports Car Club and raced all over the valley. In 1953, Rocky took the car to the Salt Flats and set a record of 149 MPH. He also reports a record of 92 MPH average from Carmel to the Rocky Point Restaurant.

Due to some pressing financial needs, Rocky sold the car to Wallace Washburn in Monterey in 1954. Wallace was a member of the Zellerbach family from San Francisco and wanted a sporty runabout for the street. According to Rocky, the car was so fast that Washburn soon took it to be detuned at Roller Chevrolet in Monterey, where he instead traded it in for a new Olds.

The next owner was either Roller himself or one of his sales people. The car was used for touring. In 1956 or 57, it was loaded up for a cross country trip to the Indy races. While the owner went inside for some forgotten items, someone stole the car. Later it was rumored that it was crashed and dumped in the Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo County (San Francisco water supply).

There is a great deal of mystery about the car�s history over the next couple of years. It was acquired in 1959 by Bob Olinger, auto wrecker and body shop owner from San Jose. Bob indicates that the car had been an oval track racer and dragster when he got it, but can not remember who the previous owner was. He used the car as a dragster, driving it to and from events until about 1962, when he put it away under a tarp at his wrecking yard in Milpitas.

The car sat there until 1988, when a new owner bought it for Vintage racing. The car had been under that tarp, used as a storage bin and step ladder to get to difficult to reach parts for over 15 years. The pristine body work you now see has had considerable work- the fenders were smashed down to the wheels, and the hood was cut up so that a massive, ugly air scoop could protrude.

The car is presently equipped with its original 331 Cadillac that Rocky put in it in 1953. The Healey number plate KWD947 was added in the spirit of its creator, Donald Healey, who used this highly transient number on many new creations. Donald also drove his somewhat tattered entries to events and vacationed in them afterward.

As a testament to this interesting and diverse history, the car comes with a mountain of spare parts. This includes 5 carburetors, several heads, rocker assemblies, and an extra set of wheels with Dunlop L 204 racing tires, extra 5-point harnesses, and an impressive stack (several hundred pages) of historical paperwork which outlines in further detail the story summarized here. This car is widely accepted in historic racing all over the US. It is currently titled and registered for street use in California, and would make for a thrilling ride on tour events such as the California Mille Miglia.


Reference Number 16454

as of 12/8/2007

Overview
Car 1951 Nash Healey Roadster
VIN N333965 
Exterior / Interior Color      White /      Red 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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