In December of 1949 Donald Healey was on his way to the USA to meet up with Ed Cole of General Motors to try and secure a deal for the new Cadillac V8 Motor for his Healey motor cars, Donald had received one on loan to put in his Silverstone bodied car (X4) and another had been lent to Briggs Cunningham in the USA to put into a Silverstone (D15) Both cars were well under the way into development. When Donald accidently met up with George Mason of Nash Kelvinator. To cut a long tail short, a deal was done with George to use the Nash 3.8 Motor in a sports car for the American market.
The result was the Cadillac Motors were both returned to General Motors and the Nash engine and a 3 speed gearbox fitted with the Borg Warner overdrive were installed into X4, this was then renumbered X5. Nash had foot the bill to build a prototype car, hence the renumbering of X4, Donald at the time was some £50,000 in debt to the bank, Nash paid the bank off in exchange for built cars.
X5 has a Std Silverstone modified crossmember to take the Nash engine and gearbox, Donald Healey entered the car in the 1950 Mille Miglia with Geoffrey as his co-driver. Registered as JWD 300, start number 723. They had one or two problems on route, (an off-road excursion rendered the overdrive useless) and far too frequent fuel stops due to the fuel tank being too small. The car did however finish 177th overall. This did not put Donald or Nash off. The car was returned to the works and modified for the 1950 Le Mans. This was the first year the Healey Motor Company had entered a works entry. The car was to be driven by Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton, (later they bought the “Works” Jaguar C Type home in 1st place) The car proved it’s self-finishing in 4th place overall and 3rd in class. Only missing the podium position on the final lap, again due to gearbox problems.
After the success of Le Mans the car was shipped to the USA, very little is known of it until 1971 when it fell into the hands of a private owner, he ran the car for about a year before parking it up. The inevitable “I will get it back on the road soon, to, I will restore it one day” The current owner Mr Warren Kennedy heard of the car about 9 years ago and after a lot of persuasion got the chance to go over and see the car. He tried to buy the car on many occasions, sending Christmas cards and gentle reminders that he was still interested. About 7 years ago he got the call and a deal was done. 3 months later the previous owner Jim died of Cancer.
Over the last 5 years X5 has been lovingly restored to exactly as it ran in the 1950 Le Mans.
Registered in the UK on 6th April 1950 as JWD 300 a number it still bears today
It also retains its original engine 61680
This is the only car that can claim to be the Prototype Nash Healey, not only an original road registered Mille Miglia and Le Mans car but the only Nash Healey race car to be built Left Hand Drive. Ideal to run in the LeMans classics & also a guaranteed Mille Miglia entry as this is the actual car that ran in period.