$3,500 Cruiser: 1953 Nash Ambassador

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It’s hard to mistake the look of a 1953 Nash Ambassador with almost any car from the 1950s. That’s what I personally like about them, they don’t fit in at all, in fact, they stand out from the crowd. This example can be found here on Craigslist in the Hayward, California area and the seller is asking $3,500 for this one. Thanks to J Liu for sending in this tip!

The Ambassador was Nash’s senior line of cars and even after AMC took over, the Ambassador name carried on as their top-line car for years. The seller says that this car “is similar to the car Lois Lane drove in the original Superman TV show.” It is, sort of, she drove a Nash Rambler Custom convertible, a much more valuable and in my opinion, cooler and smaller Nash than the Ambassador was. But, if you wanted a big, smooth car, this was it. The seller says that this car comes with a factory Continental kit spare tire for the rear bumper and there is a photo of that, but it doesn’t look like that’s even from this car? Maybe it was taken off and the rear bumper was reconfigured during the previous repaint that they mention? Confusing.

This is a big car at 17.5 feet in length but that really isn’t much bigger than a sedan from today. It just seems bigger, doesn’t it? I’d rather have this classic Nash than a new angled, sharp-lined angry-electric-shaver-faced car of today. One of the most famous features of Nash from this era would be the mostly-covered front wheels which went away for the 1955, 1956, and final year for the Nash Ambassador in 1957. The seller says that this car has an “Older repaint in the original colors.” It could use some work again it looks like but overall I don’t see really any glaring issues other than some expensive chrome work. and regular bodywork and paint. The original wheel covers are included, by the way.

There are no engine photos but it should have Nash’s Jetfire 253 cubic-inch inline-six with around 120 hp. This example has the HydraMatic transmission. The interior looks pretty good for the most part, if not better than that even. The photos must have been small thumbnails originally, they’re pretty pixilated but then there is a sharp, crisp photo of the back seat and a couple of others. Some upholstery work will be needed on the upper green portion of the seats but it almost looks like the lower white striped portion has already been redone, it looks perfect. Maybe this car has been restored at some point and they did mention a previous repaint. Are there any Nash Ambassador fans out there?

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  1. Kenneth Carney

    Looks like my Mom’s ’53 Statesman sedan. Hers was light blue with a dark
    blue top. Seeing this car brings it all back. Hers was also a 3-speed with OD.
    Because of those skirted front fenders,
    these cars required 40 acres just to turn
    them left or right. Combine that with the
    difficulty of changing a flat tire, and the
    novelty wore off pretty quick. Other than
    that, they were great little cars for some-
    one wanting to stand out in a crowd. But
    the feature that sticks with folks my age
    is the reclining front seats. If anything
    said makeout mobile, those seats certainly did. Had a ’62 Classic that had
    them, and how I told my then 16 year old
    nephew that he was not taking my car
    anywhere near the local drive in movie
    just for THAT reason! Only now did I
    find out that my Mom let him borrow
    it while I was on the road! And yeah,
    he actually did the wild thaaang in my
    front seat! My god, the things you learn
    when you get older! Okay, which one
    of them took my truck without asking?
    Guess I ‘ll never find out!

    Like 5

    We had a 54, pinin farinin, or something like that. Had dual side draft carbs. Was immaculate when we got it from Gramma in 1964. Ours did have the Continental kit. Do any of you know where you fill the gas tank? That was always fun at the gas station. Drivers side tail light. Awesome car.

    Like 4
    • Robert L Roberge

      Your car was a Nash Ambassador LeMans. I owned the same car.

      Like 1
  3. hatofpork

    So I guess running a black light over the seats would be a good idea? Or maybe the worst idea ever?

    Like 3
  4. Fred H

    This Ambassador has been on Craigslist for at least three years. It sure has a nice interior though. It has rust on uni body. I know because I ask.

    Like 6
  5. Peter S.R.Member

    More like Perry White’s car…

    Like 1
  6. That AMC guy

    Have not seen “Superman” in a long time, but I think Inspector Henderson drove one of these, and the big Nashes were frequently seen as police cars.

    Styling of the 1952+ Nashes was primarily done in-house by Ed Anderson but incorporating ideas from a Pinanfarina prototype. (That prototype was seen by management as being “too European” for American tastes. The Pinanfarina name was used however as a sales tool.)

    In 1955 Pinanfarina worked up another Ambassador prototype (the “Nash Ambassador Speciale”) but that was also rejected by Nash management. It still exists and is in the hands of a collector.


    Like 7
  7. ramblergarage

    Not sure why the changing the tire thing always comes up on these cars. Changing the tire is no different from any other car. They came with a bumper jack and that is the correct way to get the car up. The wheel hangs down and it is simple to take off. You cannot use a jack under the frame to do it.

    Like 8
    • dweezilaz

      Thank you, Ramblergarage.

      I’ve heard that stated about other cars with shallow rear fender wells, like the 60 full size Fords and Chevrolets.

      Never been a problem changing a tire with the rear wheel wells on my 63 Valiant either. Or the folk’s 66 Mercury.

      And those aren’t “skirted fenders”. I wish people would stop calling them that.

      They’re fenders and those are simply shallow wheel wells. It’s an envelope body. Skirted fenders are fenders with detachable skirts.

      Like 2
  8. graham line

    Some people like to tell you the one thing they know. We had a ’55; my Mom had no trouble with parallel parking or moving it around town, so I figure the turning circle story is also mostly eyewash. Did have a generous grocery-gobbling trunk.

    Like 2
    • That AMC Guy

      These cars had a narrow front track to mitigate the effect of the enclosed fenders. In normal parking and turning you probably wouldn’t notice anything amiss, but the turning circle was pretty large and U-turns required a lot of space.

      Like 1
  9. Joe

    That car has been for sale on craigslist for years. For many months there was no price listed. Finally it has been listed with a price. I am a Rambler owner several times over so I’m not putting down the car. I just think the seller should have changed up the ad to help it stand out somehow. It does seem to be a complete clean car.

    Like 1
  10. Beatnik Bedouin

    It sounds like Fred H has the answer as to why the Nash hasn’t sold, Joe. It’s a shame if the car has structural rust, as it’s otherwise a tidy example.

    In my misspent youth, I’d have never given a mid-’50s Nash a second look, in spite of it having ‘the rakish Continental Look’ (i.e. three years out-of-date), according to contemporary ads. In my old age, I’d probably be happy to own and drive one. LOL

    Like 1
  11. Wrong Way

    Nice little car! Trash the continental kit tho! Those are ugly especially what would have been considered a small car!

    Like 0
  12. Hotroddaddy

    Love the fact that Nash didn’t have ‘me too’ styling!

    Like 0

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