Last Year: 1957 Nash Ambassador Custom

This 1957 Nash Ambassador Custom has been from coast-to-coast, at least on a car trailer. It’s originally a California car but now resides in storage in Augusta, Maine where the seller has it listed here on eBay. They have a robust and not surprisingly unmet $5,995 opening bid price listed and it’ll take a major Nash Ambassador fan and collector to put a bid in at that price. Let’s check it out.

The 1957 Nash Ambassador was reportedly the first American car with quad headlights. Can you think of another one? The fender-mounted side mirror is almost Japanese spec, I can’t think of another American car of this era with a fender mounted mirror or mirrors? Can you? This isn’t 20-questions but many of you will have answers for these questions I bet.

There is a bit of ruggedness in this car but it looks more solid than a lot of 62-year-old cars do. Being a California car undoubtedly helped keep it in shape throughout the decades. The ’57 Ambassadors had a flat, or flatter, roof stamping and the company also switched to smaller 14″ wheels which gave the car a lower profile.

That’s one great looking rear end! And of course, I mean on the car, this is a family show. 1957 would be the last year for both Nash and Hudson which is a crying shame for those of us who are fans of these cars. The Ambassador would live on under the AMC nameplate in the US until 1974.

The photos in this listing are a little unusual. They start off pretty well but then they look like screenshots from a video or something. There is a regular photo showing the rear seat back and they mention that some work has been done on the seats and that the dash pad is wavy and needs to be restored. Actually, it looks like every square inch of this car will need to be restored inside and out.

The engine is almost impossible to see but it’s AMC’s fantastic 327 cubic-inch V8 which would have had 244 hp and 345 ft-lb of torque. A 10.5-second 0-60 time may not have been on anyone’s mind when they were looking for a ’57 Nash Ambassador but for a two-ton car, it’s not horrible. The seller suspects a broken wire to the distributor that’s causing it not to start, but it cranks over. I’m sure that 99% of Barn Finds readers could have this car humming again in no time. Are there any fans out there for these last of the Nash Ambassadors?

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Comments

  1. IkeyHeyman

    All ‘57 Nash Ambassadors had quad headlights, and I know at least some Chrysler products did as well for sale in those states where it was legal. I like these cars but, California or not, check for rust.

    Like 2
  2. IkeyHeyman

    Just FYI, a ’57 Chrysler 300 with quads.

    Like 5
    • Mountainwoodie

      How about ‘stacked’ headlights?

      Not Jayne Mansfield ‘stacked’ but one on top of the other in a vertical line? :)

    • jim

      is this car still for sale…if so what is asking price

  3. That AMC guy

    Some of the photos are really strange, as mentioned they look like screen shots from a video. The factory tried hard to disguise it but there’s no getting away from this being the 1952 “Golden Airflyte” body shell. Very stodgy next to the Big 3’s 1957 products, particularly Chrysler.

    Acceleration was good for the day though not as good as the lighter ’57 Rebel with the same engine. Automatic transmission used with the AMC V8 on these cars is GM’s Hydramatic.

    If it just needs a broken wire fixed to get the engine started, why not just do it? The simple ignition systems on these cars can be trivially hot-wired if necessary to get them running. On the other hand if the engine turns over and the mechanical bits are moving correctly there’s not much that can be wrong.

    Although there were earlier factory car AC systems, Nash was the first (starting 1954) to integrate the air conditioning system with the heater, and installing all components under the hood and dash along with an electromagnetic clutch to control the compressor.

    Like 12
    • JMG

      “The seller suspects a broken wire to the distributor that’s causing it not to start…” I call BS, also. Just like “ran when parked” and “Just needs a starter/alternator/battery to run” comments, it is a red flag that something bigger is wrong in the drivetrain. If the seller cannot invest 30min or $100 into a $5,000-$10,000 car for sale, then buyer beware!

      Like 7
      • John

        Yep, agree. Would take like 5 minutes to diagnose a broken wire and another 5 minutes to replace it. Bigger issues with it not running are almost certain.

        Like 2
      • frank

        https://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/1957/Nash/Ambassador-80/Custom-4-Door-Sedan/Values
        I’m not a Liar. I replaced the oil and let some marvel mystery oil in the spark plug holes. This was in February of 2018, in the middle of Winter in Maine. I replaced the battery. cleaned the plugs, checked the wires, replaced the rotor and coil. It wouldn’t start. I found a broken wire I tried to fix, it was freezing out and I was tired and I stopped. The plan was to get back working on it when the weather was warmer, I was so excited to work on the car in the first place, it wasn’t the end of the world that it didn’t start, I was sure it would and still am. In March I got transferred. That was a year and 3 months ago and I’ve live 1000 miles away and can’t work on the car. I’ve never touched the car since then. I’m only selling to get it into a nice home and to a place where it can be restored. I live 1000 miles away that’s why the pictures suck. So thank you for the input and nice recommendation. Someone will (more than likely in Europe) get a nice car at a good price and others won’t cause you scared them off. Thanks for your support.

        Like 3
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

        Check sold ebay listings or even Hagerty’s price guide for more realistic valuations.

    • frank

      Because I bought the car to restored, parked in the garage and then got transferred, I’m 1000 miles away living in another State, didn’t know that was going to happen. I worked on it a total of one day in the middle of Winter in Maine. I never get why people are so judgmental about a car sale and a persons situation. I can’t take any photos because again I’m 1000 miles away. they are crappy screen shots of a video, the best I cold do for the listing.

      Like 4
  4. Will Fox

    Other `57s with quad (4) headlamps:
    Chryslers, DeSotos & Imperials (built after 1/1/57)
    Lincoln Premiere/Capri
    Cadillac (Eldo. Brougham only until `58)
    Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

    Like 4
  5. J. B. K. from Lancaster Co., PA

    I’ve always loved the styling of the ’57 Nash Ambassador. Actually, I guess I’ve always had a thing for American Motors products. I hope this goes to a good home and is restored to showroom new. Nice two toned blue too. Regarding the fender mounted mirror, my ’61 Rambler American has one too. I assume mine was dealer installed.

  6. Bob C.

    You beat me to the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Will. The rear end has a pretty close resemblance to a 54 Packard Clipper IMO.

    Like 2
  7. Bern

    It sure reminds me of the older Jukeboxes…..

    Like 1
  8. Kurt

    I guarantee you restore one of these and it will be the only one like it at any car show you attend, like a 1958 Packard station wagon.

    Like 2
  9. Dave S.

    My uncle had an 1957 Ambassador, he bought it new .and if I remember correctly this was the color his was. He would takes us kids for short trips in it. I do remember he was a horrible driver . He never kept the accelerator steady and we would be lurching ahead and back in the seat as he drove. Looking back at it now I’m surprised we ever got to go anywhere with him. lol But back then we got to go in the flatbed on the family truck as well. I think it was a better way of life in those days.

    Like 1
  10. Bob McK Member

    This car is stored in Augusta, Maine. Beware of RUST. I once took a Colorado car up there and only drove it a couple weeks in July. It was stored in a dry building and still got rust on it. The price seems high to me, because restored it will probably only bring 10 to 12K.

    Like 2
    • frank

      The car spent it’s entire life in California, It was purchased in Nov 2017 and shipped to Maine in December of 2018 and placed in the garage where it’s never moved since then. It’s never seen snow, salt or weather in Maine. Three months after I bought the car I was transferred on my Job and now live in the South. It’s still in the same garage in Maine in storage.

      Like 3
  11. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    A neighbor had one of these, but they didn’t keep it long, it was a troublesome car. The quad headlights have already been listed but on most of them they were optional equipment.
    God bless America

  12. BRAKTRCR

    We had a 54 Ambassador, a lovely piece of machinery. They were well thought out. Ours had the dual sidedraft carbs, window screens, and the infamous fold flat seating. I’ve always liked them, but you are REALLY going to have to like this one in this shape, and at this price

  13. Del

    Rare and cool.

    Too bad about the 4 doors.

    Not much demand. Value probably zip

    Like 1
  14. OsbornTramain

    Thanks for the folks here trashing my car. All the speculation and suggestions that the car is crap. You’re like a bunch of old women. Thanks for not mentioning my Feedback on Ebay and all the positive comments related to other cars I’ve sold. I have no clue what this site is suppose to do, but it appears just to be a place for people troll advertisements or listings of cars that are for sale. When a person is selling a car, it’s usually for a reason if they aren’t in the business. I bought this car to restore, it came from California, (thats why the black plates are still on the car) it was never driven in Maine snow, it was parked in my garage in December of 2018. I worked on the car in Feb or 2018 in the freezing maine weather. I after changing electrical parts, fluids, marvel mystery oil etc etc. it didn’t start, I found a broken ground wire for the distributor (which isn’t in an easy place to access) and after working that day and being excited about what I accomplished, I left the car and decided to wait till the weather was warmer……In March I got transferred and my attention moved to moving away to Virginia. The car project stopped at that moment.. With much sadness, I’ve realized it’s time to sell and let someone else have the car. They only made a few thousand of these, there are probably less than 50 on the planet. Even fewer are from the California desert area. I’m 1000 miles away, I can’t take any photos, but I need to sell the car and get it out of the garage……so sorry everyone that my circumstances don’t allow me to get the car up to your high standards. Sorry I’ve not been able to get back to Maine to get the car running. Sorry for you all even having to read this listing and see this car. Again, I have no idea what the intent of Barnfinds is. It seriously doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose other than allow a place for Trolls to congregate.

    Like 1
    • BRAKTRCR

      Osborn, some folks do get carried away, and off on tangents, but overall, it’s a pretty decent group. Perhaps in the listing, on eBay, an explanation of the pictures, and the ground wire, would go a long way. Every one of us has likely been prevented from completing a project, at some point in our lives.
      Granted, some don’t use their heads, and I apologize for the groups, bad manners. Give em a chance sometime, you might agree

      Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @OsbornTramain – Sorry you feel hurt by some of the commentary. You did leave out info and photos that would have been useful to potential buyers though so instead of being mad, you could use this as a learning opportunity. Also, if you had looked at your auction’s traffic numbers before and after we featured your car, you would have been pleasantly surprised. We sent a lot of eyeballs your way for free. So even with some negative comments, the odds of your car selling went up exponentially. We have hundreds of thousands of followers so if your car doesn’t sell now, it’s either because you didn’t include enough information or you are asking too much. It’s as simple as that. Good luck with the sale.

      Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The seller has pulled all three cars they had listed. Apparently, their job situation changed suddenly and they can now keep the cars. Good for them!

      Like 1
  15. thomas crum Member

    I have a 1981 Lincoln Mark VI that has a problem and I think it is a broken wire in the distributor. I paid a guy $300.00 to come fix it and it did start every time for a few months then started not starting again. It sits in my driveway for two years now. Wish I could find a GOOD mechanic that would fix it for good. I am reading this because I am about to buy a 1957 Nash Ambassador Custom that is in California.

    • thomas crum Member

      Was the upper level model a super or the custom?

    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      Check your motor mounts. A broken motor mount can allow the engine to lift pulling the wire loose from the distributor/coil pack causing the car not to start.
      God bless America

  16. homas crum Member

    Purchasing a 1957 Nash Ambassador Custon 4 door with the continential kit and factory AC and V 8 PS & PB, not sure about power windows. A true central valley California car and rust free and interior is decent. Only two colors on this one, yellow and black, since it will be ugly enough I think that I will stick with these two colors not go with a third color on the top. Like suggestions on where to buy the pant and like to talk with other owners. Going to pick up the car with a tow truck. it has been sitting for 10 years. Unbelieveable price !!!!!

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