Time Machine: 1951 Nash Ambassador Super Airflyte

front right

The first Nash Ambassador was in 1927 and by 1951 the Ambassador was the top model. Nash models from this era are best remembered for their enclosed front wheels. The company president, George Mason, was a big believer in aerodynamics and the styling reflected it. It’s hard to believe now, but the Airflyte models were very popular.  The fold flat front seats were a unique and popular feature and likely added to the post war baby boom. This Nash is listed on eBay in Worland, Wyoming. Bidding ends Sunday and has not yet reached $2,000 or the reserve. It runs and drives and appears in incredible and original condition but the transmission needs attention. Thanks to Josh for the find.

inside front

The interior looks really nice and original. The aftermarket horn button is one of the few additions. Even the oil change sticker is still on the door jam and you can see where the old ones were scraped off. This Nash looks just like the day it was retired. Once again, you have to wonder why.

engine

Things are a bit dusty under the hood, but it’s complete and original.

left rear

This Nash needs to come back to California. It could use some rechroming of the front bumper. This old Nash would be an unusual sight wherever it went. I would not even try to make it more shiny but would leave it exactly as it is. It just needs tires and mechanical attention. Some of you may have other ideas, it will be interesting to read what you think.

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Comments

  1. packrat

    My older relatives were spooked by the unibody design. They were pioneers of the craft, which meant that rust-outs could have catastrophic results. My English teacher, haleing from Michigan, could remember one breaking in half one winter during the course of being towed, splitting in spectacular form up to the roofline between the front and rear doors. A dry example would be quite the striking ride today.

  2. Roselandpete

    I think Lois Lane drove the convertible version.

    • Bob

      There were no 1951 convertible Ambassadors. The Lois Lane car was a Rambler.

      • Woodie Man

        ’50 Nash Rambler

        Like 1
  3. Alan Brase

    In some of these photos, especially the linked to 51 coupe at the bottom of the page I see some resemblence to the 1950 era SAAB 92. Almost like they were drinking the same Kool -Aid. Is that the same OHV 6 that powered the Nash-Healy?
    Al

  4. Howard A Member

    Just amazing how these turn up. Nash was pretty big around this time. I was unaware that this was the 1st non-GM car to use the Hydramatic. This is the same motor used to power the Nash-Healey, the 234ci, 115hp. OHV 6.( they did make a dual carb model good for 125 hp) I think the way this is set up, it may cruise just fine on the highway ( just not 80 mph all day) The ’51 Nash Ambassador Airflyte was considered one of the worst cars of all time. I disagree, I think it was one of the best of all time. I believe they had one of the best heaters in the industry. Coolest car here in a long time, I’d love to have it.

    • Bob

      Howard, Lincoln offered Hydra-Matic as an option in 1949.

  5. racer99

    So at a little over $3k, how cool would it be to cruise down the highway in this at legal+ speeds with an updated drivetrain and suspension underneath.

  6. Chris

    Bathtub nash’s got a bad rap because they were different…drive trains were well sorted out and if maintenance was done they lasted over 100k miles. Always retorque the head bolts as stated in the manual. Blown head gasket if you don’t. Modern drivers would destroy one in a few years.

  7. Fred W.

    The “worst car of all time” moniker was probably given to it by someone who had just tried to change a tire or park it in a parking garage (I couldn’t find the turning circle but it is probably 40 ft plus) . These call out to you at car shows, they have a great look.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Fred, I always wondered about the tire changing ordeal on bathtubs. Apparently, included with the car, were 2 jack stands and a roller jack. You’d jack up the axle, place the jack stands on either side of the axle, and lower the jack, creating more room to get the wheel off. Can’t find any pictures of that however.

      • grant

        So, you’d jack up the car? Ok then.

      • Howard A Member

        In effect, yes. Also, I believe, these wheels had lug bolts, rather than lug nuts. My ’50 Packard had limited clearance on the back, even with the skirt removed and had lug bolts, and that 1.5″( with no lug stud on the brake drum) helped clear the tire from between the body and brake drum to get the tire off.

  8. Jack Quantrill

    World’s ugliest car! Only redeeming quality was the fold down seats!

    • Slick

      I have 2 1934 nashs 1 coupe and 1 4 door sedan

    • ccrvtt

      No, the world’s ugliest car is the Nissan Juke. I came home from the hospital in a 1950, dark green over lighter green. Taillights were better integrated on the earlier cars. These cars are definitely cool, as are the Rambler “convertibles” pictured.

      • BruceB 48

        You’re right about the Nissan Juke being the worlds ugliest car, love these old Nash’s though🇳🇿

  9. Alan Brase

    This is a beautiful car. Very unusual looking. But I like 1951 SAAB 92’s and Tatras and old Porsches and 1953 Corvettes. I think you like what you look at.
    Al

  10. guggie

    my Grandfather ,had one of these Nashes for years , always swore by it . I remember taking a 300+ mile trip in it as a lad , never realized how advanced this car was at the time . Do remember people asking him about the car !! and yes the seats made into a bed !

  11. Bob McK Member

    Why do I love this car? It is so ugly, it is beautiful. Come home to Daddy.

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