1953 Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe: The Car That Almost Took The Title Of America’s Sports Car

John Puckett
·2 min read

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In 1951, two years before Chevrolet debuted the Corvette, Nash-Healey made America’s first production sports car.

After a failed attempt to source Cadillac engines for his car, Donald Healey returned to England. It was on the Voyage home that he would make a connection that would go on to make history. Nash-Kelvinator CEO George Mason and Donald Healey went on to not only become friends but to create one of history's most notorious collaborations- the Nash-Healey.

Originally the plan was for Healey to produce a lightweight coupe to fit an American V8. Instead Nash supplied a hefty in-line six that Healey was able to modify to produce around 125-horsepower. Healey did design the aluminum-bodied convertible but instead of producing the bodies himself, production was outsourced and then returned to him for final assembly. It was a complicated, and expensive, collaboration that got even more complicated as production progressed. The next year Pininfarina was tapped in to handle the body work which meant each Nash-Healey was imported and exported from three different countries before reaching its buyer with a sticker price of almost double that of the Corvette.

Still, the Nash-Healey persisted and 1953 marked the first ever closed coupe design for the sports car. In honor of the previous year’s racing successes this new design was named the Nash-Healey Le Mans Coupe. Bodies were still provided by Pininfarina and Le-Mans Dual Jetfire Ambassador Six power plants were placed under the hood. As always, the interiors wore luxurious upholstery and the cars were overall well received.

RM Sotheby’s is offering enthusiasts the opportunity to add this excellent example to their collection. Finished in red over a tan interior, this is a stunning example that you will not want to miss. For more information on this car, the upcoming auction, or how to register to place your bid visit rmsothebys.com.

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