In the face of previous years' meager sales volume, Nash delayed introduction of the 1954 Nash-Healey models until June 3rd of that year. The convertible was dropped, leaving just a slightly reworked LeMans coupe, distinguished by a three-piece backlight instead of the previous one-piece glass.
The POE price was cut by more than $1,200 to $5,128, but it was only a token gesture. Nash finally gave up in August after building exactly 506 Healeys in a little less than four years. A few leftover 1954s were sold as 1955 Nash-Healey models.
However, according to Ray Soles, Jr., president of the Nash-Healey Car Club, more than half of the 506 total Nash-Healey production survives today, and it seems hardly a month goes by that another car doesn't turn up somewhere. Incidentally, the club was founded in 1959 and now counts more than 100 members in the United States, Canada, and England.
Although rumors occasionally surface that at least one or two Nash-Healeys left the factory with eight-cylinder engines, only the Ambassador six was used for the entire production run. However, there are two beautiful cars that have been converted by their owners to American Motors V-8 power. One belongs to Carl Chakmakian, who bought the red 1952 roadster from its original owner in 1954 with but 2,000 miles on the clock. Now AMC's manager of sales training, Carl fitted the company's big 327-cid powerplant shortly after it was introduced in the late 1950s.
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Another look at a nicely restored 1953 Nash-Healey roadster and its flowing body lines.
The other car is a 1953 roadster originally owned by AMC engineers James T. Moore and Les Viland. Remembered for piloting many Ramblers to first-place finishes in the Mobile Economy Runs of the 1950s and 1960s, Viland bought Moore's half interest in the car several years ago. It's powered by a bored-out Nash V-8 with 358 cid and 12.5:1 compression, which Viland says makes it a one-of-a-kind item.
It also carries conventional coil-spring Ambassador front suspension. Viland is convinced his car will do 145 mph, although he has never driven it that fast. We should also note that "Mac" McGrady's extensive Nash-Healey stable includes two cars with AMC V-8s, but obviously these are also owner conversions.
Although Nash-Healeys were made with strictly metal frames, a sort of plastic was considered for a time. Continue to the next page for details.
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