Michael Ambrosini 1951 Nash-Healey Roadster

Many years ago I owned - and loved - a Morgan +4. But my wife and I needed to get out of our cramped North Hollywood house and into larger digs. We were young and short on money, so I turned my beautiful Morgan into a down-payment on a new house. After several years, and when we were more comfortable financially, my wife encouraged me to buy another car. I'd been researching (drooling over) some beautiful vintage machines, and was smitten by the 1951 Nash-Healey - designed by Donald Healey with hand-crafted aluminum bodies by Panelcraft. The motive power was the big Nash inline-6, but everything else about the car was pure British, including the trailing-link suspension, Smiths gauges, SU carbs and not a few parts shared with the Jaguar XK 120. As chance would have it, one of these cars turned up in Hemmings Motor News at about that time - a Massachusetts car - and on the basis of one photo and a couple of phone calls - I bought it. It wasn't the near-cream-puff that was advertised, so I set to work gathering lots of NOS parts and spares. Overseeing years of restoration, I made sure that every nut, bolt and washer was restored to perfection or replaced. There is hardly a component anywhere in or on the car that I have not had in my hands. It took two experts to completely refurbish that tricky front suspension, and many other artists to install full leather upholstery (trunk included) and bring the "Sunset Maroon" paint to perfection. I'm just getting started exhibiting the car, although it has been to a large Marin County show a couple of times, where it holds a crowd all day long. It's especially noteworthy in one regard: it is the very last alloy-bodied Nash-Healey produced - number 104. That's significant because of the many changes and improvements made during the one year of production. For example early models did not have roll-up windows, or even a handle for opening the boot. (lots of keys broken off in the rear deck lids of the early cars). Number 104 was built with a chin spoiler up front and a much deeper rump at the rear to hide suspension components, which are rather awkwardly visible on the earlier cars. And, some of those had the accelerator located between the clutch and brake! Something about "heel-and-toe" race-driving was at the root of that - because the car uses the Healey Silverstone racer chassis.