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Lot 455: Nash-Healey LeMans Coupe

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 2012)

Late in 1953, Nash-Healey introduced a handsome new coupe model with the name "LeMans." It was more than an honorary title. Nash-Healeys had competed in the 24 Heures du Mans since 1950, when Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton entered a prototype model in the famed French endurance race. It finished fourth of 29 to cars complete the race. Clothed in lightweight aluminum bodies, there were four of these racers, which had Nash Ambassador engines, upgraded with aluminum high-compression heads, special manifolds and twin SU sidedraft carburetors. In 1951, Rolt and Hamilton were fourth in class and sixth overall, behind a Jaguar but ahead of two Ferraris. The following year, with Leslie Johnson and Tommy Wisdom driving, Nash-Healey finished third overall behind two Mercedes 300SLs, and also took first-in-class from Luigi Chinetti's Ferrari. Additionally, they earned the Rudge-Whitworth Cup for the best performance over two consecutive years and the Motor Gold Challenge Cup. Johnson also contested the Mille Miglia that year, with motoring correspondent Bill McKenzie as passenger. They managed seventh overall, in a race won by Ferrari. For 1953, Johnson again took the helm, but partnered with Bert Hadley. Starting from 27th place, Johnson and Hadley managed to advance to 11th by race's end, despite the fact that they had achieved a higher average speed than in 1952. By this time, however, Nash Motors was busy with the merger negotiations that led to American Motors, and further racing was discontinued. Nash-Healey roadster production ended in 1953. The final 90 cars built in 1954 were all LeMans coupes. One of the early 1954 models, this car is well sorted. Largely original, it has been repainted in silver grey, and has an excellent red leather interior and matching red carpet. It has the correct chrome wire wheel covers over red wheels, and the original unique dashboard-mounted radio. The engine, the later 252 cubic inch overhead valve six, is tidy and correctly detailed. The odometer shows slightly fewer than 45,000 miles, believed to be correct. The car runs and drives well, and will delight its new owner.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
TypeCar
Lot Number455
Estimate$60000-$70000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1954
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number3025
Engine numberNHA 1248
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2