1954 Nash Healey LeMans Coupe page 14
Work progresses on the Nash Healey Lemans coupe. The
dashboard conversion to right hand drive is largely completed and the
body shell ready for some painting after trial fitting all of the drive
line. The painting on the car will take place in 3 parts largely
because I'm doing much of the work on the car in my spare time, so it
is sometimes slow progress. After Jerry Mlinaric repaired the outer and
inner body the outer body was epoxy primed to protect the bare steel.
Now that the drive line has been fitted and checked along with the
other modifications completed all of the inner body can be painted. The
outer body will be painted later once all of the mechanical
installation is completed. That way there is less chance of any damage
to the paint during assembly. The outer body on these cars was the only
part in color, everything else was black.
Trial Fitting the dash in the car, all of the mounting points still line up.
The completed dash, with new opposite hand glove box door. It still needs final panel beating and file finishing.
The body shell back at the Healey Factory, it has been sandblasted
inside and underneath. The sandblaster was very thorough and didn't
cause any damage.
Shown above the black areas are epoxy primer, and damage to the bottom of the chassis rails has been lead filled
Rear view in epoxy primer stage. At this point I spent a couple of days
at The Healey Factory seam sealing all overlapping joints. I used black
Sikaflex for this, it is a long slow tedious job but will ensure the
car lasts long into the future.
The underside now in gloss black. Originally this was a satin finish
where there was any paint at all, and there wasn't much. The Healey
chassis were supplied in red oxide primer but there wasn't much paint
used on the body and inner body Farina parts.
The engine bay in gloss black
Black ripple finish was applied over the paint to protect the guards
from stones, this was also done to the rear inner guards where it will
also act to reduce noise.
Black epoxy primer on all of the interior, all of the overlapping panel edges sealed with black Sikaflex
Fish oil, this is great stuff but a messy job. Inside the chassis
rails, outriggers and sills have been sprayed using a cheep engine de
greasing gun. I drilled 5/16 holes in place where I could close off the
hole with a grommet. Using a gun like this creates a fog of fish oil
and air inside cavities so that the steel is well protected. Even the
de odorised version stinks so don't use the standard version.
Steering wheel repair, I have drilled and tapped between the spokes to
properly hold the spokes to the rim. The original design was quite poor
as not much more than the plastic held everything together.
The area between the spokes and the rim filled with a 2 pack epoxy
paste, after this all cracks in the rim were ground out using a thin
disc in an angle grinder. The cracks were ground out all the way down
to the inner steel ring and filled with a 2 pack liquid epoxy glue. I
have found that the best method is to pour the liquid into the cracks
then bandage over the area with PVC tape this helps force the glue into
the cracks and comes off easily after the glue is set.
Nash Healey steering controls
While my car was away being sandblasted and painted, Paddy Greenwood
from the UK started a discussion about the steering wheels and steering
controls for these cars. He did a lot of research on pat numbers from
old catalogues, as well as looking at period cars to try and work out
if the parts were available from other cars. He found that the Austin
Sheerline and A90 Atlantic looked to be the same, so the hunt began for
parts. It soon turned out that they were also hard to find for those
cars as well. I found parts in both the UK and Australia, and even an
original NOS Nash Healey horn ring here. How it came to be in Australia
when the cars never came here, I have no idea. It soon became apparent
that the Sheerline parts were slightly different in the way the horn
operated, and I figure that the Nash Healey system was a later
improvement to the original design. Below you will see how it all
My 2 repaired steering wheels ready for a final coat of gloss black 2 pack.
The steering control support casting re chromed.
Stator tube remounted after chrome plating the support casting.
Originally the casting itself was riveted over to hold it to the metal
plate. It has been re installed with stainless steel screws, and the
casting tapped to suit. To dismantle the 4 small steel tabs seen above
folded over must be carefully lifted then bent back over on re assembly.
New old stock horn rings I found in Australia, upper left is Nash
Healey the 2 on the right are Austin Sheerline / Austin A90 Atlantic.
The horn ring from my car has had 1 sector cut out of it to provide a
better view of the dash instruments, so now I have the option to return
it to original. The Sheerline units will be modified to suit the Nash
Healey. Other than the center the Sheerline rings are exactly the same
as the Nash Healey unit.
The correct Nash Healey horn ring in place.
The Sheerline horn ring in place before modification
I made some stainless steel rings with stainless screws silver soldered in place to support the Sheerline horn ring.
The Sheerline horn ring attached to the mounting ring
The completed horn ring in place with a Nash Healey cover. The brass
contacts on the Sheerline ring will contact the metal plate as needed.
Underside of the Nash Healey horn ring cover.
Underside of the Austin Sheerline horn ring cover after initial
machining. The center hole had to be increased in diameter and the main
bore also deepened. In this image the 3 slots for the horn ring spokes
still need to be milled deeper.
The Nash Healey bezel left, and the Austin Sheerline bezel right.
Top right is the Nash Healey Bezel, the other 3 are now modified Austin
Sheerline bezels with a steel ring added made out of tube with the
notch punched in using a simple punch and die I made. Once painted and
the chrome overdrive button bezel is installed they will look exactly
the same as the Nash Healey Bezel.
The completed modified Austin Sheerline parts
At the top is the Nash Healey contact block, a Phase 2 Standard
Vanguard shown below. If you look closely at the slotted area on the
metal plate on the Nash unit you can still see the scribing lines where
the plate was manually modified by Lucas for the Nash Healey system.
The slotted area is necessary so that there is no contact between the
electrical paths for the horn and overdrive circuits. To make a spare
assembly I modified the Vanguard plate, removed all of the indicator
components used in the Vanguard and added the brass contacts used in
the Nash for the overdrive. I had spare brass contacts from old Austin
A40 / Austin Healey controls.
Nash Healey parts needed
1 x Nash PD front parking lamp
3 x Spacer front parking lamp to fender 3117314
2 x Nash PD front parking light lens
1 x headlamp retaining rings
2 x dome light lens
2 x license plate lamp
1 x rear windscreen stainless steel trim
1 front windscreen chrome trim
1 x door key lock
1 x boot lid handle and lock
2 x interior door handles
1 x window winder handle
5 x interior door handle escutcheon sets
2 x exterior door handles
1 x fuel filler door
1 x front windscreen interior alloy molding bottom and sides
1 x grill badge chrome surround
1 x Nash Dual Jetfire engine complete with all accessories
including generator, starter, distributor, water pump and Carter carbs. Iron
head version ok.
1 x Rear vision mirror
2 x rear wing dummy vents