Nash-Healey was a British-American automobile brand which produced from 1951 to 1954 luxury sports car. The vehicles were developed and manufactured by the Donald Healey Motor Company in Warwick, Warwickshire, England, the marketing was carried out by Nash Motors.
Donald Healey had his automobile factory founded in 1946 and specializes in the production of Gran Turismo, sports cars and racing cars in small numbers and has earned it a good reputation. Healey was quite successful in endurance racing and had the Healey Silverstone a competitive racing car in the program.
CEO Donald Healey traveled in 1949 with his son, the racers Geoffrey Healey, in the United States to promote its cars and to look for more powerful engines; yet he used the larger four-cylinder engines of the manufacturer Riley, as well as in the RM-series (2443cc) was used. Only for the 3 Litre he returned to the six-cylinder engine of Alvis, ³ an OHV engine with a displacement of 2993 cm. Performance two engines (104hp or 77.6 kW with Riley engine respectively. 106hp or 79 kW with Alvis engine ) was comparable.
1949 Cadillac had released a groundbreaking new OHV V8 engine with 5424cc (330.9 ci) and 160hp (117.76 kW). The very wealthy American racing driver Briggs Cunningham ordered from a Healey special design of the Silverstone with this engine. Due to the impressive performance Donald Healey planned to launch a small series of this car. Therefore, the Healey wanted their stay in the United States also use to negotiate with Cadillac for the supply of engines. There one was not averse to the deal but still came into existence not because Cadillacs parent company General Motors intervened and prohibited the delivery. Reasons for this are unclear; a number of other companies such as Allard in the UK and Kurtis/Muntz (only 1951) they used in the United States.
On the return trip with the passenger ship RMS Queen Mary Healey learned the randomly George W. Mason, whom President of Nash Kelvinator Corporation, giving the manufacturer of the Nash automobile. This was prepared to spend on Healey engines, manual Borg-Warner three-speed gearbox, drive shafts and differentials.
Upon arrival of the ship a contract was signed. Mason also wished the new sports car through its own dealer network to sell because Nash had to offer not a sporty model and no image bearers. For Healey, the sale in the United States, of course, was much simpler, even if he was not allowed to bring out alone under his own name the car and had to make concessions in design.
For the first time sat Healey a six-cylinder engine at Le Mans 1950; then the chassis of a Healey Silverstone was modified accordingly. Nash Healey agreed and the delivery of the Dual Jetfire Six dual ignition system was also offered in the Nash Ambassador. The two-valve engine with OHV valve control had a displacement of 3845cc (234.6 ci); Bore × stroke were 85.70 × 111.10 mm. The engine had also. mechanical tappets, a compression ratio of 7.3:1, a single carburettor and an output of 115hp @ 3400 rpm (86 kW) When Healey was, however, revised this engine: it received a "sharper" cam shaft, instead of the cast-iron cylinder head such aluminum, with which the compression was increased to 8:1, and two SU carburettors instead of the simple single carburetor. This was a stable increase in power to 125 HP @ 4000 rpm (93 kW), possible. The Nash plant code for the car was 25162nd
No factory engine options were offered. However, some owners made the generous space advantage and built V8 engines from other manufacturers such as Cadillac.
The chassis of the Nash-Healey (type N) is derived from that of the Healey Silverstone (type E). Like all Healey chassis it was designed by AC Sammpietro. In order to offer more comfort, it was something designed wider and reinforced for the considerably heavier engine also. It consists of a Kastenrahmem from (18 gauge steel) with cross braces. The Healey typical, developed by Sammpietro front axle with a swing arm independent suspension, two Crank trailing arms and a Kurvenstabilistator was together with the patented steering used. This is based on the principle of a rotating disk and a steering linkage, which transmit the forces from the steering gear to the wheels. The rear leaf springs of the Silverstone were replaced by coil springs. Depending on the source, a rear axle of Nash respectively. Salisbury used. She was out on a Panhard rod. It received important for the U.S. market, hydraulic assistance of Bendix ("TreadleVac") for the drum brakes. The Roadster has a wheelbase of 102 inches (2591 mm), the track in front and behind 1346 mm (53 inches); behind it was widened from 1952 to 1397 mm (55 inches) from the factory steel wheels were fitted with simple Chromradkappen.; the tire size was 6:40 × 15 Later Speichenradkappen were optional.
Because the Nash-Healey was intended for sale in the United States, the vehicles were built with left-hand drive. There is an indication that one may have been right hand drive, but has the specified chassis number G525 indicated that this must have been a Healey 3 Litre (Alvis-Healey), Nash-Healey bear the letter "N" first in their chassis number.
The car received a roadster design with formal similarities with the earlier Healey Sports Mobile and 3 Litre (Alvis Healey). The design contributed Healey designer Benjamin Bowden, Supplier of the bodies was the Panel Craft Sheet Metal Company, Woodgate, Birmingham. Like all Healey factory bodies, these were made by hand from aluminum. But the only construction of Healey lacks the typical diamond-shaped radiator grille as Healey identification; Mason insisted on the use of the radiator grille of a Nash to underline the brand affiliation, after all, the Nash-Healey was meant primarily as an image bearer.
Panel Craft put the bodies in a single series in early 1950 ready, so they had to be only accessed yet. 30 bodies were also produced for the Healey 3 Litre (Alvis Healey); this distinction in appearance especially by another front. The final assembly was carried out at Healey in Warwick, paying attention to the use of Nash-small parts to simplify maintenance. The interior was high and included Leather trim and an adjustable steering wheel. Overdrive, cigarette lighter and whitewall tires completed the basic equipment. The car weighed 1179kg and was at that time an extraordinary standards no lightweight.
Resulting from the applied production processes transport routes are the main reason for the skyrocketing costs for the sports car: Nash delivered his components to Healey to Warwick, where the chassis built and the parts of Nash were used. To "rolling chassis" completed, they were sent to Birmingham to Panel Craft. There she received Body and Interior, and then went to the mentioned final assembly and final acceptance back to Healey. Because most of the Nash-Healey were sold in the United States, they also focused on the crossing of the Atlantic even before.
The prototype of the Nash-Healey was shown in 1950 at the auto shows in London and Paris, the vehicle production itself began in December 1950. By the end of 36 cars were completed. The official launch took place at the Chicago Auto Show early in 1951. Additional 68 Nash-Healey came to the end of March 1951. In total, therefore built from the 1st series 104 copies
Officially, only the color Champagne Ivory (ivory) and Sunset Maroon were (burgundy) available. Maybe Healey shipped the vehicles in Champagne Ivory on the assumption that color would be well received in the United States; arrived in the United States, Nash painted them on Sunset Maroon order. These subsequent change in the color scheme could explain why some copies have received a lime green color.
The biggest obstacle to success was the price: a list price of U.S. $ 3,767 to U.S. $ 4,063 was simply not competitive.
Pininfarina in Turin was commissioned by Nash, to make proposals for the alignment of the next models to compete with the in-house styling department under Edmund Anderson; some details such as the radiator grille have been incorporated; the rest came from Nash. Nevertheless, Pininfarina made in the Nash-sales brochure from 1952 advertising for Nash (and of course for themselves).
In this environment, Pininfarina Nash asked for a revision of the Nash-Healey roadster. This was also commissioned to prepare the body. This led to a break in production from April 1951 to January 1952 and a delayed introduction of the 1952 model; During this time, production was set up in Turin Pininfarina built the bodies no longer made of aluminum, but from sheet steel.; only bonnet, boot lid and doors were made of Light metal. The weight rose by at 1,247kg. Among the few changes to the chassis was a slightly wider rear track.
Although the car looked sportier, but the new lines were added something ambiguous. The front with the gerückten inward headlights was typical of the Nash design and was discussed at the Nash-Healey as controversial as there. The hubcaps wore on request imitated spokes. After winning 1953 Nash-Healey in Italy an international Concours d’Elegance in its class
Nash called the vehicle no longer Roadster, but Convertible (Cabriolet), and gave him the plant code 25262nd
Pininfarina built from February 1952 to the end of the model year 150 Roadster Series 2 with the 3.8-liter engine, at a list price (U.S. $ 5,908 ) corresponding to the equivalent of two well-equipped midsize car. After all, the chassis were now sent to Turin instead to Birmingham and were more or less completely to the final assembly and acceptance by Warwick back.
For the Roadster (factory code 25362, there were hardly any changes. Pininfarina built an additional two-seat coupe version called Le Mans with a panoramic rear window on a slightly longer wheelbase of 2743 mm (108 inches). It was given the Nash plant Code 25367th In light of the modest sales figures and the planned for 1954 merger with the Hudson Motor Car Co. to form the American Motors Corporation, the 1953 model was longer than usual built. Starting in February The latest version of the engine, called Le Mans Dual Jetfire Six with a larger engine displacement of 4138cc (252.5 ci) was introduced fluently. Factory, this engine delivered 130hp (95.7 kW) at 3700/min. After the usual treatment by Healey increased compression of 7,6:1 to 8:1, and the performance on 140-142hp (104.5 kW) at 4000 rpm.
Due to the poor sales of the model year was extended. For this year, it is only known that Nash-Healey 162 were built, but not how many in which of the four versions:
The price was now, according to sources, at U.S. $ 5908, -, respectively. over U.S. $ 6400, -, which was unacceptable, although the Nash-Healey was one of the few cars that was no problem to drive both in daily life and could win the weekend at a circuit.
It was only on June 3, 1954, so that after the merger of Nash with Hudson appeared the "new" Nash-Healey. The roadster was no longer offered. The coupe received instead of a one-piece three-piece rear window and factory code 25467th all had the larger engine with 4.1 liter displacement.
The restriction to the coupe lifted the Nash-Healey also on the 1953 and now in free sale Chevrolet Corvette. Although Nash the list price at U.S. $ 5128, – lowered, this was $ 3513 still not in comparison with the Corvette to U.S. competitive.
At the end of the model year 1954 a few Nash Healey remained unsold. Nash they encrypted to 1955 on chassis numbers and called them new models; a not uncommon practice at this time, that is, for example, by Kaiser known. In total there are 90 coupes both "model years" developed.
After the merger of AMC production of the Nash-Healey was quietly set. The decision was easy, because the largest ever merger of U.S. industrial history brought enough publicity and Donald Healey his company closed in the same year anyway, to produce with the Austin Austin-Healey.
From the above production figures, the following compilation gives:
This total figure is not confirmed by all sources. Without the number exactly break down, call other sources differing production figures; about 504 or 507
The small numbers can be explained by the extremely high price of the Nash-Healey; a brand-new family car cost in 1953 to U.S. $ 1800, a midsize sedan between U.S. $ 2400, – and U.S. $ 2800, -.
Sports car played in the U.S. production in the early postwar period hardly matters. We made do with the import mainly British roadster, often bring in used condition from returning GIs. The British manufacturer supplying the U.S. market preferred – often before their own – with new models to improve the balance of trade foreign exchange; Vehicles such as the Austin Atlantic or the Jaguar XK 120 had been designed especially for the U.S. market. The U.S. auto industry was quite reluctant to take the risk to introduce for this niche market offers that could also priced to stand against the British and Italian sports car manufacturer.
In addition to the Nash-Healey, there were in the United States three other producers with a major sporting history, which drew on the chassis of a renowned race car designer. One was Cunningham with the extremely expensive and produced in small series C3; the coupe version astronomical cost U.S. $ 11,422.50. Cunningham was at that time in the 24 Hours of Le Mans quite successful. The others were the technically closely related (Kurtis 500 S, KK 500 and 500 M) and the Muntz Jet. All go to Frank Kurtis’ winning the Indianapolis 500 construction back and offered to the Nash-Healey comparable prices V8 engines of different manufacturers. The Kurtis 500 S was a racing version with "Motorcycle" fenders, the 500 KK came as a chassis and had to be self karossiert and the 500 M was the finished version. The Muntz Jet is an extended, five-seat version of the Kurtis 500 M and cost to US$ 5500.
Also the 1953-1955 Edwards built with its strong V8 engine could be a competitor, but could not setup a batch production.
Only for very few U.S. vehicles so a similarly high price as a Nash-Healey was required. An alternative to these pure sports cars were the "Sports Convertible" called "Motorama Dream Cars" of General Motors and also new Packard Caribbean; Although they were designed less athletic, but all had much stronger eight-cylinder engines:
The Oldsmobile weighed nearly two tons, accelerated in about 12 seconds from 0 to 60mph (96km/h) and was about 100mph (160km/h) fast.
Also appeared in 1953 with the Chevrolet Corvette C1 is an equal U.S. sports car. In his first year he was indeed only-limited (only 315 copies were built and preferred to "image bearers" sold). Already in 1954, but already 3640 Corvette sold – at prices from U.S. $ 3513, – (1953) respectively. U.S. $ 3523, – (1954).
In the following year appeared several new sports car. The small Hudson Italia had a six cylinder engine with 3303 cm (201.6 ci) and 114hp (85 kW). At a price of (depending on the source) U.S. $ 4350, – to U.S. $ 4800, – offered on the chassis of the compact Hudson Jet built coupe but not nearly the handling of the Nash-Healey; the jet was designed as a comfortable touring car and the Italia, despite his at Carrozzeria Touring in Milan built aluminum body too heavy for the motor being used. Only 25 copies plus prototypes were built until 1955, then both jet as well as Italia had disappeared from the market.
The Kaiser Darrin stayed a little longer. Though he had to make do with the chassis of a compact car (that of Emperor Henry J and his Willys six-cylinder 2638cc (161 ci) had been taken from standard 80hp (60 kW) to 90hp (67 kW). The lower performance was notably lower price (from U.S. $ 3668, -) â€‹â€‹balanced and lightweight fiberglass body The design was used to, but offered innovative ideas like a top, that too. was half open and usable, especially sliding doors that disappear into the car body.
But the biggest news was undoubtedly the Ford Thunderbird. Introduced for model year 1955, although he was not a purebred sports car, but its nice appearance in conjunction with the powerful V8 engine (193hp or 144 kW with automatic 198hp or 147 kW) and a relatively low price of U.S. $ 2944, – made him an instant success.
The Healey brand had a short but very successful racing career since 1946, the year of its foundation. A great success was the 4th place on the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1950 for the team Tony Rolt/Duncan Hamilton similarly with a Silverstone Special with the 3.8 liter Nash six-cylinder engine of the later production version. At this race came from 66 cars started only 29 ever finish.
1951 reached the team with the same drivers with a new coupé (start 19) the class win and sixth final rank, though it was so late that there is hardly time for training remained. With the before them lying Aston Martin, the Nash-Healey had a thrilling final duel; in the target, he was approached to within eight seconds.
The biggest success was the third final rank of the British Leslie Johnson and Tommy Wisdom at Le Mans in 1952 with a new Barchetta (start 10) behind two Mercedes-Benz 300 SL but before the works teams of Ferrari, Aston Martin Jaguar, Lancia, Talbot -Lago, Porsche, among others Osca same time, she finished second in her class, second in the Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup for the best performance on two consecutive years, and won the Motor Gold Challenge Cup. Donald Healey said later that the car but one (repaired on site) exhaust had no technical problems and had consumed a single drop of oil! The fourth-placed Cunningham with Chrysler V8 was on target 80 miles back (about 130 miles). A second Nash-Healey with starting number. 11 of the French Pierre Veyron and Yves Giraud-Cabantous was considered faster, but did not reach the target.
1953 John Fitch was supposed to take over one of the Nash-Healey, but he moved to Cunningham, so Leslie Johnson and Bert Hadley (GB) formed a team. They drove to 11th place. Among the 35 of 60 vehicles that did not make it to the finish, were again Veyron/Giraud-Cabantous. winner of the race were Rolt/Hamilton Jaguar two former works driver of Nash-Healey.
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