Bustle Back Sedan: 1938 Nash Lafayette

This particular Nash made an appearance on Barn Finds almost three years ago when it was for sale on Hemmings for $3,800 in Salt Point, New York.  Now it has made the trek south to Houston, Texas and is being offered on Craigslist for $7,500. Hat tip to Barn Finds reader Fred H for the lead!

The ensuing years have not been kind to what paint is left on the 80-year-old car unless the paint degradation has been “helped” to improve its sale chances. If anything has been done for the car, it isn’t immediately obvious, but the seller states that it has “new brakes and rear end.”  Most of the exterior trim looks like it is present and one door looks like it was replaced.

There aren’t many photos of the upholstery, but the front seat has the Harbor Freight moving blanket treatment. The headliner looks fairly nice and the dashboard bits are all in place.  The photos with the car’s glass being visible are limited so we can’t be sure of its condition, either. Photos with the floor in view show it that it could be reasonably solid.

This is the flathead six-cylinder engine that powered the Lafayette. Since the Lafayette was the lowest-priced Nash at the time, it didn’t get the overhead valve engines that the rest of the line did. This engine bay seems tidy enough (red hose notwithstanding) but I hope the hood sides are included in the sale. While you’re looking take a moment to trace out the throttle linkage – there are a lot of moving parts there.

This old Nash has a lot going for it in that it appears to be fairly complete and surprisingly devoid of rust-through but we don’t have any views of the underside to really have an informed opinion.  The hard to find trim pieces are there so that is a plus, too. But is it worth $7,500?

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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    I get it why a lot of people like the P look this certainly has it. The fact is this car is slowly disintegrating before our very eyes. In my not so humble opinion I think it is possible to paint it and keep this look down to the last detail. But it would cost some money. There are guys out there that are talented enough to replicate this look in every way in new paint. You all know where I stand so I won’t go there but I do think this would look very cool and very differant if this look was air brushed back onto this car. With black door panels and head liner and saddle brown leather seats this would be killer.

  2. RayT Member

    The thing people forget is that NONE of these cars left the factory with “patina.” In my opinion, allowing them to continue to deteriorate is laziness; painting them to look old and corroded — which costs money, you know — is foolishness.

    At some point, if one buys a car like this Nash, it has to be because they want it. You’re not going to make a fortune either flipping or restoring it for resale. That’s just not in the cards.

    I once completely disassembled and rebuilt a car — with new paint, carpet, upholstery, ties and headliner — that ended up probably being worth roughly the $150 I paid for it. The $2,000-3,000 I spent sprucing it up (I got nice deals from the painter and upholstery shop) and many, many weeks of labor were, objectively, a waste. But I didn’t care. I enjoyed it far more than I would have had I driven it around in its previous state. Heck, I even had a friend bring a 5-speed transmission for it from Europe….

    Crazy? Yeah, but that’s how I roll. I’d love to see someone equally crazy take this one on and bring it to a decent state because they WANT to!

    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Ray I completely agree I was just trying to point out too the rustina lovers that you can protect the car with new paint and still have your rustina look. Personly I’d want to go back to original colours in single stage gloss paint. I’m not sure what that was here but I’ll bet it’s still visible in the door jams. It’s way more enjoyable to look at these old car when they were in there prime not some beat down rust bucket. So I think your roll is on target.

      • RayT Member

        Mark, looks to me as if the original color was some kind of light green. Not my cup of tea, and I probably wouldn’t choose it, but any one of the basic colors — yes, in single-stage — would suit it well.

        Now that I’m, well, older, it occurs to me that some of the younger collectors/enthusiasts simply never saw these cars in their original states. With anything built earlier than the ’50s, I would only have seen well-preserved or second-paint-job cars, but some were wonderful. “Patina” never looks as nice!

      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Ray I’m currently restoring a Canadian dodge that is sea foam green with a darker green on the roof. Green is not my favorite colour by any means. And for a long time I’ve tried to talk myself out of it. The fact is that’s the colour that is going to best suite the car. So green it is. For this car I’d choose metallic charcoal grey with navy blue fenders and roof.

  3. George Pruitt

    Sea foam green is odd color, my 57 Chevy 2 door post was that color factory. Beautiful when buffed out. No patina for me( rust? )

  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    Can’t add any more than what’s posted above.

    Obviously, the current value of ferrous oxide is at a premium.

  5. jdjonesdr

    I’d love to take this and sand it down to bare metal then clear coat it. I think that would be the cat’s ass and look cool as Hell..

  6. Uncle Bob

    These have an interesting, let’s call it cost saving measure, the rear doors are from the same stampings as the fronts, just reversed.

    As to the price, even though it’s long been this way, I’m constantly amazed that there is the belief that asking price equates in some way to market price. Sellers can pump up the price for whatever reason(s) they wish, but it’s not a market price til an agreeable buyer comes along. This one has the added negative of lacking a title. We’ll likely never know what the actual selling price will be if/when it sells. Oh well………..

    • JRP

      Look a little closer uncle Bob. The doors are similar but not the same.

      • Uncle Bob

        Thanks for the heads up. Had to lighten ad pic to see on my monitor the slight dog leg to clear rear fender.

  7. Wade anders O

    All the cars I owned in the eighties had a red hose don’t know what your problem is but I was always taught the red hoses would hold higher pressure and we always used red hoses to run the hot water thru when we eased out the meat dept whereby worked

  8. Kenneth Carney

    By all means paint it already! I like the
    suggestion of Charcoal Grey Metalic
    for this car. It comes pretty close to the
    original hues of Grey they were using
    back then. My stepdad, God rest him,
    bought one used before he joined the
    Air Corps in 1942. He told me that these
    were reliable, trouble free cars that ran
    forever. Wouldn’t mind getting one as
    a roller and slipping in a 258 6-cylinder
    and automatic transmission just for
    the fun of it. Then I’d have a nice daily
    driving that would really stand out.

  9. AZD

    Really cool car but this one needs paint for sure. I vote for Rustoleum Grey. No kidding. It’s a surprisingly good grey that picks up a lot of other colors. It’s cheap. It will even wear to a nice patina if you desire (actually, there’s no stopping it).

  10. Gaspumpchas

    Car runs, starts and drives. Tuned it myself. Got some rust. good luck!!!

  11. Kenneth Carney

    @Gaspumpchas: That’s your car?!!…really?!! I’d really be intetested if
    it were closer to Florida. If it runs and drives as well as you say it does, you
    won’t have it long. Someone will come
    by and scarf it up. Laat one I saw was
    over 40 years ago in the Vintage Tin
    section in Rod & Custom Magazine. Nice
    car, good luck finding it a good home.

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