Parked In ’89: 1950 Nash Ambassador

It is a shame that Nash did not survive as a vehicle manufacturer because their thinking was not just years, but entire decades ahead of some of their competition. The 1950 Ambassador is a perfect example. You don’t have to look very hard to realize that Nash was concentrating heavily on aerodynamic efficiency when they designed that car. This Ambassador has been sitting parked in a barn since 1989, and with the owner having passed away, it is now looking for a new place to call home. The Nash is located in Trinity Center, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The seller is asking $5,500 OBO for this great piece of 1950s engineering. I really have to thank Barn Finder Ikey H for referring the Nash through to us.

At some point prior to 1989, it would appear that the Ambassador was the subject of some form of restoration. The car is currently finished in what I believe is Pan American Red, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that its original color was actually Champagne Ivory. The photos are a bit inconclusive, but it looks like the barn that the car has been resting in is pretty dry, giving us some cause to be optimistic about the vehicle’s status with regards to rust. There is none visible on the Nash’s exterior, and given the fact that it is of unibody construction, we really need to hope that there is little or no rust under the car. Some of the exterior trim and chrome is going to require restoration, but the glass looks like it is present, and that it is in good condition. When you look at the sweeping lines of the vehicle, it is easy to see just how much of its design was influenced by work in a wind tunnel. This is an approach that was revolutionary at the time and resulted in a flowing body. Today there are few manufacturers who wouldn’t subject their models to such testing. In 1950, it must have seemed akin to black magic in automotive design.

I think that it would be fair to assume that the interior of the Ambassador looked quite good when the car was parked back in 1989. The seller is quite candid about the fact that since that day, Stuart Little and his entire family have been doing what mice do best to the seat upholstery and padding. Given the fact that mice also tend to leave both visible and somewhat odorous traces behind them, it probably doesn’t smell nice inside the Ambassador. The next owner can be virtually guaranteed that all of the seat upholstery and padding will need to be replaced before the interior smells okay once again. The rest of the interior trim looks to be quite good, so it won’t need much more than a good clean to return it to its best.

The Ambassador doesn’t currently run, and it isn’t clear whether the 234.8ci flathead six even turns freely at this point. It last fired a shot back in 2003, and given how clean and free of corrosion it all looks, there is a possibility that a bit of tinkering will breathe new life into the car. Tipping the scales at 3,335lbs, the Ambassador was no lightweight, and with 115hp at its disposal, acceleration figures were leisurely, at best. The Ambassador’s big strength lay in its torque delivery. The engine produced a healthy 215ft/lbs of torque, and this was delivered at a mere 1,500rpm. This made the car unbelievably flexible and meant that there was no real reason to row up and down through the 3-speed manual transmission fitted to this car.

The 1950 model year was one of the most successful for Nash, with 189,543 cars rolling off the production line. Of these, 49,056 were Ambassadors. Values of the 1950 Ambassador have shown some healthy increases over the past 3-years, and a nicely restored example can easily fetch $30,000 or more. If this one is a solid car, then there is every chance that it could be restored in a home workshop. Fully restored, it is a car that would certainly look pretty stunning. So, do you feel like taking it on?


  1. poseur Member

    such an unmistakable design.
    gorgeous hood ornament.
    tons of room inside and trunk.
    kinda wish i was around when these were a thing

    Like 7
  2. Rodney - GSM

    Stunning! …and the inspiration for countless bumper cars.

    Like 18
  3. Smokey Member

    What about the fact that the seats in the four door sedans would fully fold down and could be made into a double bed. Many parents would not allow their daughters to date any fellow with access to a Nash sedan. I guess they were concerned about his falling asleep while driving. Good parents!

    Like 23
    • Mike

      Wake up little Susie.

      Like 16
    • JRHaelig

      You’re full of baloney, there, Smokey.

      Why, my own parents dated in a Nash.

      Loved it so much they got married before it was a year old an brought me home from…..hey…..wait a minute…….

      Like 48
      • Smokey Member

        Good for YOU JRH !!!! And you always said high school math was a waste of time.

        Like 18
    • Richard Ranch

      Haha! Yep Smokey, The young fellow falling asleep at the wheel was the first thing that came to my mind. A real safety hazard for sure.

      Like 1
  4. Tom

    Yet another CL ad with a seller would couldn’t be bothered to pull the cover off the car. Even the rear picture still has the cover on the roof. Lazy…..

    Like 11
  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Very smooth design for the period which Nash called “Airflyte” though people mostly referred to them as the “Bathtub Nash.” These cars had skirted or covered front wheel wells to make the car more aerodynamic though with the limited turning radius, 3 point turns were probably more like 6 point turns. There were three trim levels offered in 1950 so I’d be curious to see what trim level this one is. Eight Nash Ambassadors were entered in the 1950 Carrera Panamericana race with one piloted by none other than Bill France, the founder of NASCAR.

    This Ambassador might be a good deal as, apart from the seats, it looks to be in good condition. The red color is striking but with the engine bay, door jambs and interior trim in the original white the exterior should probably be returned to it’s original Champagne Ivory color. A potentially nice car that should be the only one at your local show and shine.

    Like 4
  6. Skorzeny

    I would have regular wheel openings cut into this. A ridiculous look to have all of the wheels covered.

    • Andy

      Then it wouldn’t look like a Nash, or worse yet, it would look like a butchered Nash. If you don’t like the front skirts, there were dozens of other brands in 1950 that didn’t have them.

      Like 24
  7. Howard A. Member

    Oh, but the Nash did live on, they just didn’t call them that. And the Ambassador went on for another 24 years, in various forms. I read, it was the longest running name for an automobile, back to 1932 and always represented the flagship of the line. Some features in this car were still being used in the 1974 AMC Ambassador, the last year. I think they called the heater the “WeatherEye” to the bitter end, which was revolutionary in this car. I’m not sure what that coiled tube coming out of the cylinder head to the interior is, but with dual fans, it was a hot setup. ( joke, Nash did have one of the best heaters at the time) For a spell, these bathtubs gave Hudson a run for the money, who had the fastest stick in racing at the time. I also read, the dash, with the “Uniscope” gauges, were too creepy for most and many went into hotrods. To use this car today, it has to be completely updated, and that won’t come cheap, but if you want to stand out in a crowd, this will do it. It would be a blast.

    Like 6
  8. Boothguy

    An ambassador would have the OHV 6. This is a Statesman

    Like 8
  9. canadainmarkseh

    This might come as a surprise to you guys, but at 3335 lbs this is a light weight compared to the Dodge Grand Caravan which weighs in at 4011 lbs. it surprised me when I compared weights between my 1951 dodge hardtop and a caravan my hard top is also lighter. Most of these older cars look heavy because there bulky but when you start looking at how hollow they are under fenders and behind body panel you can see why. Considering cast iron engine, transmission, and axle house this is not a heavy car. That’s why these under powered engines can pull these cars around. The reason I compared weights with the caravan and my hard top is I wanted to use the brakes out of an 02 caravan on my car. Also personally I don’t think that the turning radius is a big deal in today’s traffic as it is likely this will never see daily use again anyway. I think this looks really cool but I must say I’d rather have a metropolitan.

    Like 3
  10. Ben T Spanner

    My Father had a 1951 Dodge Hardtop sold as a Diplomat in the US.

    Like 1
    • canadainmarkseh

      Mine is a Canadian only Mayfair. 14000 made almost none left. In ten years I’ve only ever run across 1 other car.

      Like 5
  11. Duaney Member

    Surprised the FIRST comment wasn’t, “This is NOT an Ambassador”

    Like 8
  12. Bob McK Member

    Have you ever tried to get the smell of mice out of a car? If the seat has been used for nests, I woulda assume that the entire car is full of mouse droppings. Beware, the engine is probably full of it too. I went down this road once. NEVER AGAIN.

    Like 5
  13. bob

    I too have a soft spot for the Nash and the other Orphan maker Studebaker. Love watching the old b/w movies where cop cars nearly always were of the Nash Brand. One convertible model came up on EFee in SoCal, resprayed in yellow and white with matching rolled and pleated interior. It was SO HARD to resist that temptation of factory design and tasteful color color update.

    An air purifier can rid the smell of infestation and other offensive odors. Professional flippers use them all the time when bodies are found in valuable cars that have “aged” inappropriately.

  14. Richard Gugenberger

    My Grandfather had one of these , it had the OHV motor He drove it until 1956 and traded it for a Pontiac . We took this car across NYS to Buffalo when I was 5 years old all I can remember is how quiet and smooth this car was , always wanted one !1

  15. Graham Line

    Did anyone actually look up the turning radius? I thought not. Not much better or worse than its contemporaries.

    Like 1
  16. Paul Whiteside

    Only the Nash Statesman had a flathead 6 Ambassador was OHV.

  17. Pete Phillips

    Thank you, “Boothguy”, for the clear-headed thinking! This is NOT an Ambassador. This is the cheap, under-powered Nash 600 which became the Nash Statesman. It has a shorter wheelbase than the Ambassador, and has the small, flathead six, while the Ambassador has the larger overhead valve six.

    Like 2
  18. gaspumpchas

    You guys will hate me for this, but leave the outside alone and warm it up with some later ohv power. And do look it over good, that unibody was prone to rust, like everything else. $hitty listing. Good luck to the new owner~

    Like 1
  19. ramblergarage

    That can not be an Ambassador, the Ambassador had an overhead valve engine. That has a flat head so it is a Statesman.

    Like 1
  20. KB at Roadsend

    Once again I learned something this day ……..I have the same as this in my collection ,in a four door I had not realized it was a shorter wheelbase than the Ambassador I have to say the two door looks plenty sharp An odd bit of minutia ,perhaps some of the Nash aficionado could enlighten me on ,some had a “flap” for the fuel filler whilst some had a screw cap sticking out I have seen both but know not the details of why .A very nifty machine that does get the “looks” when seen out and about I point it out as being the first unibody auto produced

  21. Roy L

    I drove one of these when I was a kid, oh wait, that was a bumper car.

    Like 2
  22. Jay E.

    If you have to live in CA, it doesn’t get much nicer than Trinity… Then again it is still CA.

  23. tommy

    one word, Unipod!

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