Founded in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Nash Motors Company is perhaps best known for its basic, economical yet quirky products from the post-war era such as the aerodynamically designed Airflyte models, the cheeky Austin-powered Metropolitan and the Rambler economy car. While much is written of the Nash-Kelvinator and American Motors days, the days of Nash as an independent manufacturer are perhaps more interesting. Nash was formed when Charles W. Nash, former president of General Motors, left GM and took over Jeffrey Motor Co. in 1916. While he established himself, production of the Jeffrey continued until 1918 when the first proper Nash was introduced. The six-cylinder, mid-priced car was very well built, albeit relatively conventional. Far nicer than a Chevrolet or Ford, Nash was more on par with the likes of Buick, Auburn and even entry-level Packards in terms of quality. During World War I, the Nash works was heavily occupied with construction of four-wheel-drive trucks used by the US Military, though automobile production continued and sales grew steadily into the next decade.
By the middle of the 1920s Nash had become widely respected, particularly in export markets, helped in large part by the smooth and powerful “Special Six” and range-topping “Advanced Six” models. For the 1930 season, Nash’s first eight-cylinder engine was introduced. Two years later, the “Ambassador Eight” became a standalone model range offered in a wide range of body styles. Available on a 133-inch chassis, the prestigious new Ambassadors were powered by Nash’s own 125 hp, 322 cubic inches (5.3 L) overhead valve, twin-ignition straight eight. Even in the face of the Great Depression, Charles Nash’s careful management (and some would say creative accounting), allowed Nash to be the only other American automobile manufacturer aside from GM to turn a profit in 1932. The Ambassadors were lavishly equipped and beautifully constructed, earning them the nickname “the Kenosha Duesenberg”. Thanks in large part to that exceptional quality and understated elegance, a number of royal families around the globe found favor with Nash, including Prince William of Sweden, King Carol II of Romania, and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark.
This fine Series 1093 Advanced Eight Convertible Sedan from 1932 is one of just 1,891 Advanced Eight models built in 1932 and is one of an estimated three survivors to wear the highly desirable convertible sedan coachwork. The body, built by Seaman Body Corporation (of whom Nash owned a controlling stake) is quite attractive and could be compared in style, quality and size to a contemporary Auburn. This example was discovered in Arizona in the 1970s by G.J. Woodsworth, a skilled general contractor, car enthusiast and experienced restorer. In spite of the Nash’s derelict state, Mr. Woodsworth immediately recognized it as something special and was able to purchase the car for $1,800. Thankfully, the original twin-ignition, overhead valve inline-eight and the rest of the drivetrain were intact, though some ancillaries and exterior fittings had gone missing. After many years of hunting and collecting parts, Mr. Woodsworth began the arduous task of restoring the car. The body was carefully disassembled and the structural wood was carefully restored or replaced using the white oak and alder as original. Prior to assembly, he took the time to preserve each piece to ensure it would be safe from future rot. The exceptional care and level of detail is still apparent in the restoration, even many years later. He chose a striking color combination of terra-cotta red with cream accents and body lines. The lacquer paint was hand sanded between numerous coats and finished with clear for added durability. It has withstood the test of time well and remains very attractive, the beautiful colors highlighting the elegance of the Seaman-built body. The chrome and exterior fittings remain in very good order and it is well detailed with dual sidemount spares, an integrated trunk, original Nash mascot, and dual Do-Ray driving lamps. The stylish looks are punctuated by a set of wide-whitewall tires and lovely chrome wire wheels.
The interior is finished in cream-beige leather, which was also restored by Mr. Woodsworth. He rebuilt the seat frames while his wife stitched new covers. Body-color carpets accent the beige leather and provide a pop of color. While technically a hobby-level restoration, the work is exemplary and certainly comparable to that of a professional shop of the era. The cabin remains in very good condition, having taken on a light patina from use, as the Woodworth family enjoyed the Nash a great deal on the road. The full folding convertible top was carefully reconstructed to ensure proper operation and trimmed in tan Haartz canvas. As with the exterior, the interior is full of fascinating details such as an original radio, marbleized bakelike shift knop and a fantastic art-deco inspired instrument panel.
The big, powerful twin-spark straight eight was in remarkably good order as found, needing only light honing on the cylinders to return to top condition. Following a light rebuild, it was carefully detailed to original specification. The presentation remains quite good, though some minor cosmetic wear is apparent in places. It remains a strong runner with no needs to be fully enjoyed. The restoration on this exceedingly rare and fascinating Nash Ambassador Eight has weathered beautifully and the car remains in attractive, well-sorted condition, ready for the next keeper to enjoy the fruits of G.J. “Woody” Woodsworth’s copious labor.
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