$2,000! 1955 Nash Ambassador Custom LeMans

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Make sure that you have an industrial-sized box of Kleenex with you for this one; if you’re a Nash fan, you may need it. This is one of my favorite cars of all time, easily a top-ten car. This is a 1955 Nash Ambassador Custom LeMans and it’s on Craigslist for a mere $2,000! TWO-THOUSAND DOLLARS! Not to get all maudlin on you or anything, but this is one of the greatest cars and greatest deals that I’ve ever run across. This one is located way up nort’ in Minnesota, about 250 miles north of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

I have spent more than 20 $100 bills on some ridiculous things, and ridiculous vehicles, in my life, none of them anything near the level of this car. This isn’t a regular ol’ Nash Ambassador, this is a LeMans, for cryin’ out loud, with one of the best grilles in all of car’dom! I’m guessing that most of you aren’t as enthusiastic about these cars as I am, but for those of us who are Nash fans, the LeMans is a needle in a haystack, especially at this ridiculously low price. You can pay $30,000-$40,000 for a restored Ambassador LeMans. The “Custom” trim level came with more chrome and a Continental kit, among other niceties. I’m assuming that there will be a decent amount of rust repair needed on this car. The trunk apparently is in good shape and it sure is a big one.

GAA! Here’s where the industrial-sized box of Kleenex comes in. This car is like the Phantom of the Opera: one normal side, one not-so-normal side. The story goes that this car was next to a building that had a fire, hence the horrific nightmare you see here. For how nice the other three sides look, I sure hope that this car can be saved. The seller says that they “don’t think the metal got hot enough to warp.” What a shame if it did warp, and who knows what else got melted or ruined beyond repair under the skin. Ugh, it’s like an accident that you can’t look away from even though you know that you should so you don’t have nightmares. I’ll have nightmares of this car now. Here’s what that side should look like. The windows aren’t cracked and the tires aren’t melted and the door handles are there, etc., so hopefully it’s just paint. I’m not sure if the previous owner started to remove the burnt paint or why it looks like that.

The interior looks ok from the photos that are shown, but the floors need work as does the entire thing. The blanket seat cover isn’t a good sign, but I’m assuming that the entire interior will need work. The rear seats and door panels front and rear are there but are rough; basically being in pattern-condition. This car will most likely need a full restoration, but they’re one fine ride when they’re in nice condition. One nice detail of these cars is the hidden gas filler under the R tail light. These seats fold down into a bed, whether that’s a useful feature or not in real life, it has been fodder for more than a few jokes and tall tales over the decades.

Here’s what a lot of the hoopla is about, Nash’s 253 cubic-inch Dual Jetfire inline-six with dual-Carter carbs, 140 hp, and 230 ft-lb of torque. This car had a 0-60 time of around 13 seconds, that’s not a lot of power and speed for a 3,700-pound car. It sure is a gorgeous engine in restored condition. Nash also made a LeMans with a 320 cubic-inch Packard V8 with 208 hp, that would be the one to have. These cars are ultra rare in any configuration and this is a heck of a price. One thing that will also be a heck of a price is tracking down the missing air cleaner, unfortunately that’s missing and they say that they “haven’t tried to start it yet but last owner said it ran 4 years ago.” This is one heck of a car, even with a burnt side on it. I’m tempted to check this one out myself, it would be a halo car for any of us Nash fans. What do you think of this one, do you think it can and should be saved?

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  1. Brakeservo

    I’d leave it as is, it would be it’s own before and after exhibit.

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  2. Woodie Man

    Someone get up there quick! Something about this makes little sense. If I had a car with a burned side I’d get some por 15 on the rust pronto. Also the rockers looks like swiss cheese as do the floors and the trunk. The door cards are curled as if water damaged. Very odd. Nonetheless a good start for a restoration . What a beautiful car

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  3. Mark

    I think the seller’s biggest clue to the car’s current condition is when he mentions it is “solid enough to set on an S-10 frame”. That should tell a bit about the horrors lurking below. A non-running ’54 Nash LeMans is listed on the Nash Owners club site with ‘no rust’, for $2,750 http://www.nashcarclub.org/ads/clasifid.php RH side of page, second AD down.

    Maybe make one great one out of two?

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    • Brad C

      That’s the best solution I’ve read so far.

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  4. JW

    I know how the original owner felt when he discovered this horror. My wife’s 95 Mustang GT was only 3 weeks old when a building on our farm that I put it in while we went out for the evening with friends then got a call the building caught fire. My log splitter in the lean too was a total loss as was the building. But State Farm would not buy her a new car because it was on 55 % damaged and it had to be over 60% for them to total it. After repairs we traded it in for a Mountineer.

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  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    If it got hot enough to warp the metal it would have been more than hot enough to toast and crack the glass…which clearly (see what I did there) did not happen.

    I think the engine set up is worth the price of admission. And you wouldn’t see another on the road if you got it cleaned up and streetable…if the frame hasn’t succumb to the tin worm that is

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    • Mike H. Mike H

      Clearly. . . Now THAT’S funny.

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  6. Ed P

    The right side does not look like it is a part of the same car. The rockers need work and the floor looks gone. However, it is a good project car for restoration. I like the existing colors. I would not change that.

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  7. Wm Lawrence

    I think the Le Mans name came from the Nash Healeys that competed at Le Mans in the 1952-1954 time frames scoring some class wins. The engine is the same.

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  8. Scot Carr

    ~ I want that George Petty hood ornament!

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    • Dominique Legeai

      ..feeling no “pity” for this Petty dude who seems “pretty” fascinated by his model…wondering how long she can actually hold this stressful position?
      …about the subject car: I own a Nash Rambler Super (1955)…..they draw a lot of attention as most people never saw one and a number of them don’t even know the name “Nash”….this one is even more rare with its nice engine set up, that alone as one comment says is worth the “entry fee”…..all Nash(es) are worth restoring…if you have the means to do so; but like with most restorations, know that you’ll never get your money back!!

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    • PAR

      So that’s where “Planking” originated!!

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    We had a 54 with that engine. Yes the dual SIDEDRAFT carbs. 4 seed auto, and in the glovebox window netting to cover the side windows, so you could “camp out” when the front seats were reclined flat. Ours was baby blue lower, dark blue roof. It had the Continental kit too.
    My grandma gave us the car in 1964. It had something like 10,000 miles on it. She was very wealthy, and a lady friend was her driver. They were both advanced in years, and drove very slowly. Some young ruffians yelled at them “get a horse” she didn’t understand of course. So she asked my Dad what that meant. He told her, “well Mom, it’s a little old… and they don’t make them anymore, ” she responded, “Henry always bought the best” so Dad took her to the Rambler dealer, and she bought a new 64 Classic, and we got the Nash.

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  10. G 1

    That Nash has been For Sale for about a year.

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  11. Tinky

    Anyone notice the dashboard? That is true art

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  12. Rustytech RustytechMember

    From what I can see ( paint on inside of fender by hood is not melted, tires not melted, no sign of heat on dash, glass ok ) I don’t think it got hot enough to warp any metal, but if the tin worm is as bad as I expect, we gotta problem Houston!

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  13. Loco Mikado

    You do know the these have no separate intake or exhaust manifolds, they are cast in one piece with the heads. But they do have seven main bearings, something no other American six would have for another 10 years.

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  14. Neil

    Crap ! I live in Minneapolis. This would be an easy jaunt for me, but for the fact I’m currently in Cuenca, Ecuador. That’s what I get for avoiding another Minnesota Winter.
    Love this car. Would have made the trip to check it out.

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  15. charlieMember

    With those front wheel openings, was the turning radius as big as I am guessing? My friend’s Ferrari has an very large turning radius for such a small car, but it was intended for racing, not supermarket parking lots, he says. An old girl friend’s father tried to GIVE me the corresponding Hudson, two shades of green and one of white, but I was smart enough not to marry his daughter or take the Hudson.

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    • Ed P

      The turning radius is big. The enclosed wheel well limited movement

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  16. MrF

    Very interesting, never saw that carb set up before. The two different sides are shocking. Anyone remember “Half Face” in the Dick Tracy comics?

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  17. Michael

    This is a HUGE car! Finding the burnt tail lights and parking lights could prove to be another needle in the haystack. http://www.automobile-catalog.com/auta_details1.php

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  18. Red'sResto

    I think we just found the car that belonged to Two Face…

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  19. Paul B

    How could you set it on an S10 frame when these cars don’t have separate bodies? Nash unitized construction. Yow. Beautiful — on one side, but would this ever be a difficult project. Now here’s a great color combo in the 2-door. Creamsicle on wheels.

    Like 1
  20. Wayne

    It is interesting. And I appreciate the engineering and options. But I always considered them to be ugly.

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  21. jrc

    what a bummer

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  22. Ed Sinclair

    I had a 54 Nash 4 door. It looked like a Nash but it used the Hudson engine that first year that Nash bought Hudson. It had the same words (Twin H Power) on the sides of the car that the Hudsons had on them. The fat, full foam rubber seats laid flat down and matched the back seats, The car came with a long cushion that filled in the low spots and made a perfectly flat bed to sleep on. It was easily the most comfortable car to sleep in I ever saw. It also drove very nicely. The super-soft ride made it lean more than most other cars of the day while turning, but that was no problem. I had a 54 Cad at the time and the Nash drove and handled better than that great Cad. The Nash was quite strong and fast for the time. Plenty of power. I loved that car. Unfortunately It got stolen and I never saw it again. Dammit!

    Like 0

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