The Nash-Healey's Demise

There's no mystery about the reasons for the Nash-Healey's demise. As has been mentioned, it was too expensive -- much costlier than its main rivals, the Kaiser-Darrin and Chevrolet's Corvette.

Then too, a Nash dealership was the last place most enthusiast buyers expected to find a sports car. Sales volume was insufficient to warrant spending money for promotion and further model development, and Nash had other, more important fish to fry.

By 1954, the firm was losing about $2 for every $1 the Nash-Healey brought in, and the merger with Hudson in May of 1954 made it imperative to establish the Rambler, which would be sold by both Nash and Hudson dealers, as the basic volume product for the new American Motors.

Also, the imported Metropolitan, introduced in March, was gaining sales momentum. Then came the sudden death of George Mason on October 8, 1954. The practical-minded George Romney was elected to succeed him four days later, and he had no use for marginal products with limited sales prospects.

However limited their sales, there were some who loved the Nash-Healeys -- and who love them today. Review the specifications of these short-lived vehicles with the chart below:

1951 to 1955 Nash-Healey Production and Major Specifications

 Model Wheelbase (in.)
Weight (lbs)
Price
Produced
 1951 roadster
 102  2,690  $4,063  104
 1952 roadster
 102  2,700  5,868  150
 1953 convertible
 102  2,700  5,908  
 1953 LeMans coupe
 108  2,970  6,399  162*
 1954-1955 LeMans coupe
 108  2,970  5,128  90**
         
 Engines  Bore X Stroke
 bhp  Availability  
 L6, 234.8
 3.38 X 4.38
 125
 1951-1952

 L6, 252.6
 3.50 X 4.38
 140  1952-1955***

* combined production, all body styles.
** production terminated August 1954, total includes 1954 models sold as 1955s
*** from serial #N2250 and engine #1163

Nevertheless, the Nash-Healey was a noble experiment that's left us with one of the most interesting -- and collectible -- cars of the 1950s. It remains today a gallant tribute to George Mason, and we can all be thankful that he discovered that little book.

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