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After reading this e-mail I had to contact Jeff immediately. Jim knew right away what "Ooh, ooh, ooh" meant. My e-mail to Jeff soon escalated into a 2-1/2 hour phone conversation. Jeff immediately went into the car's history and his laborious efforts to restore the car from the ground up. To date he has put $30,000.00 into restoring this car. Jeff informed me N-H's do not have a chassis typical of most cars. The "frame" is simply pieces of long, flat sheets of steel welded together. With the exception of the hood, trunk lid and doors, the body is essentially one piece known as a unibody. If for any unfortunate reason the fender is damaged, it has to be cut away and a replacement piece is welded in place.

For those who don't know, the Nash-Healey design came about in a most unusual way. The short version is, Don Healey, a former Royal Air Force pilot was on a ship from England to the United States. His mission was to visit the Cadillac company in Detroit and ask the president to supply him the engine, transmission, drive shaft and rear axel components. While on the ship he happened upon a gentlemen tinkering with a photo camera and to pass the time he struck up conversation. As they talked about the camera the discussion turned to their occupations. The gentlemen with the camera was none other than George Mason, president of The Nash Motors Company. Mr.Mason said to Don Healey it would be highly unlikely Cadillac could supply engines because those engines are being supplied to the Army for armored tanks. The two gentlemen got along very well. As the two innovators parted company, Mr. Mason stated to Don Healey he should come see him after his visit with Cadillac. Mr. Mason was very much interested in supplying the equipment needed for Don's sports car. By 1952, Pinin Farina an Italian car designer was brought in to improve the body designs. In all, over three-and-a-half years of production 506 hand-built Nash-Healey sports cars were produced. This included 104 of the 1951 all-aluminum models, built by Panelcraft of England and 90 Pinin Farina coupes produced only in 1953 and 1954. 1953 being the peak production year with 162 units built. Roadsters represented 97 of that total. Because the cars are hand-built, no two are exactly alike (making restoring the car all the more difficult). Transportation cost of the Nash parts to England, then to Italy for the body and final assembly and finally to US dealerships contributed to the high selling price (approximately $5,400.00). The other cost factor was the manual labor. But it mattered little the dealers lost money on each car sold. The Nash-Healey was an excellent showroom "draw," attracting potential buyers for other Nash products, a marketing strategy that was probably the first of its kind. Dealers also attracted attention by allowing the Nash-Healey to be used in local parades, often escorting beauty pageant candidates and queens (see image below). The average buyer more than likely passed on this car for the less expensive Jaguar and Corvette. Those who could afford this car had a celebrity status income, such as NY shortstop Yankees Phil Rizzuto or Boston Red Sox right fielder Ted Williams.

It should be noted the 1953 Alvis owned by George (the title most likely in Toni's name) was also a British, hand-made, aluminum body automobile. The last known owner is Dick Laughlin of Portland, Oregon. Refer to TAC issue no. 6, Spring - 1991 for this story.

The following is Jeff's e-mail describing his restoration process. With the images he sent inserted.

Hi Lou,

I'm enclosing some pics of the NH for your article. I've got dozens of them, but I'll send a sampling to give you an idea where I started and how difficult the whole process was.

First, you'll see the car as I first found it in Belden, Ohio, photo no. 1.

No. 1

Photo no. 2 shows the interior of the car after I got it home to Michigan. Notice that the interior pattern has been changed, and it was vinyl rather than leather.

No. 2

The next set of photo's, no. 3 & 4 shows a couple different views of the front of the car after I stripped the multiple layers of paint with paint stripper.

No. 3

No. 4

Photo no. 5 shows a view of the engine compartment after the engine was removed. I took these shots so I wouldn't forget where everything goes!

Photo No. 5

Photo no. 6 shows the car on the flatbed trailer heading to the restoration shop after it was sandblasted. I sandblasted the underside of the car and the edges which the stripper couldn't clean up.

No. 6


Photo no. 7 shows the car in primer from the front, with the hood, which was fitted numerous times before it was finally attached permanently.

No. 7

Photo no. 8 shows the car in primer with the edges painted the finish color. Bottom shot show the rear in finish paint.

No. 8

Photo no. 9 and 10 shows the car after it was painted.

No. 9

No. 10

Finally, Photo no. 11 shows the car essentially done in my garage. The grille emblem has been added. Interior was redone in correct leather custom dyed from the one remaining original piece found under the armrest. The original pattern was duplicated from pictures obtained from Leonard McGrady in Aberdeen, MD.

No. 11


You can also see how much work this project was! I've restored quite a few cars over the years, but this one was by far the most extensive. I undertook the project primarily because of the unusual history of this particular car. It still looks pretty much like the picture attached, but needs a little paint work again to fix a few scratches and a problem with the hood. Nothing too serious.

If you need any additional information, please let me know and I'll do what I can to help.

Thanks again for your interest! It was a pleasure to talk to you!


Jeff, The pleasure is all ours as the readers of The Adventures Continue are pleased and thrilled the car featured in the Adventures of Superman, driven by George Reeves is in mighty good hands. It has long been feared the car has lingered in a junk yard somewhere USA or turned into scrap metel for aluminum dog food cans. It was our hope at the very least it was owned by someone with no knowledge of its history. As I understand it, our good friend Michael Bifulco who lives in your town will be visiting you sometime in the near future to see this wonderful and most extraordinary...super Nash-Healey sports car. I think Mike will walk away with a great experience he will want to share.

Thank you for sharing your photos and experiences and providing a lot of fascinating information for this article.

Sincerely, Lou

Because of Jeff's fond childhood memories of the Adventures of Superman and becoming the owner of the car, he has become a big fan of the show and has collected all the episodes and a number of related books. One is Mike Bifulco's SUPERMAN ON TELEVISION. Jeff was surprised to learn Mike lives right there in the same town. So once Mike visits Jeff, I'm sure we can add Mike's own experience here at The Adventures Continue. And while no actual documentation exist this is the car driven in TV's Superman, Jeff is absolutely convinced it is the one and the same. The foremost N-H expert Leonard Nelson McGrady, who also has a great admiration for the Adventures of Superman television show is also convinced without a shadow of a doubt this is our Nash Healey. Mr. McGrady is the owner of 81 N-H's, approximately one-third of the known existing N-H's. BTW, one of Leonard's own N-H's was used as the model for the recent release of the US Post Office Stamp.

In an effort to support Jeff's claim I turned to Larry Ward and asked him if he could ask Noel and Jack if they recalled the Nash-Healey driven by George. Noel who does remember the car was kind enough to place a call to Jack. Jack responded that the Nash-Healey was not owned by George. When asked if Dick Powell was ever present at the same studio lot and may have allowed Superman Inc. use of the car, Jack said he didn't know anything about Dick being there but felt the scenario is plausible. Noel also vaguely remembers Dick Powell being at George's funeral, thereby giving support to there being a friendship between George and Dick Powell. With the help of Armand Vaquer, we are researching the possibility that Dick Powell's Four Star Productions film company may have occupied California Studios in 1953. This would place the owner of the car nearby Superman Inc. Both Jan Alan Henderson and Michael J. Hayde suggest the car may have been brought to the lot by a company providing cars as props. Similar to companies providing animals, like Suzie, Joey and Corky. As soon as we learn more, we will pass the information on to Jeff and you all.

Jeff is appreciative of the efforts we are making to shed no doubt this is our car. However, he has no reservations. Personally, I'm inclined to agree this is the car. In addition, Jeff is not looking to enhance the value of the car by making this claim. He has no intention of ever selling the car. In fact, restoring the car was a true labor of love. Jeff could never earn back the effort he put into it unless he drove it himself. The truth to the matter is, Jeff just wants the fans to know the Nash-Healey sports car featured in the Adventures of Superman is being well taken care of.

Trivia: The 1953 Nash-Healey sportscar was featured in The Dog Who Knew Superman, The Man Who Could Read Minds, The Man In The Lead Mask, King For A Day and Clark Kent, Outlaw.

Trivia: A Nash-Healey has appeared in other films:

1) Sabrina (1954), starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.

2) The Fast and the Furious (1954) starring Dorothy Malone and John Ireland.

3) Desperate Hours (1955), starring Humphrey Bogart, Frederic March and Gig Young.

4) On the Beach (1959) starred Fred astaire, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Anthony Perkins. (just a quick glimpse of a 1951 NH hurtling off a cliff and exploding on impact - ouch!)

5) My Little Margie, starring Gale Storm and Charles Farrell. Episode Title: Mrs. Odetts.

Magazines Featuring the Nash-Healey:

1) Car Exchange, December 1979

2) Special Interest Autos, October 1982 (includes an article with Leonard McGrady)

3) Collectable Automobile, September 1985.

4) Cars & Parts, November 1994.

5) Special Interest AUTOS, February 1996.

6) A Brooklands, Road Test Limited Edition (no date available)

And so, to the readers of The Adventures Continue, I hope you've enjoyed this feature. I think you'll agree when I say how incredible it is to know Clark Kent and George's Nash-Healey has survived all these years, thanks to the dedication of Jeff Wells. A true fan who cared enough to make sure a small piece of history was preserved and not forgotten.

And finally, because you fans have patiently read through this narrative, I have a bonus surprise provided by everyone's favorite George Reeves - Superman artist, Randy Garrett. All it took was a rough sketch, a two sentence discription of what I had in mind and the rest is like catching lightning in a bottle. Genuine. Thank you Randy. TAC takes tremendous pride having you with us.


TAC also thanks Noel Neill, Jack Larson, Larry Ward, Jim Nolt, Mike Bifulco, Jan Alan Henderson, Michael J. Hayde, Richard Taylor, Armand Vaquer and Leonard McGrady for their time to help bring this page to the readers.

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April 15, 2006

 "Like The Only Real Magic -- The Magic Of Knowledge"