Rare Rides: The Unique Looking 1955 Nash Statesman

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the unique looking 1955 nash statesman

About a year ago Rare Rides featured its first Nash, the tiny Metropolitan. Today we take a look at the full-size car that occupied the showroom floor alongside its smallest sibling.

Hailing from 1955, it’s a Statesman.

Though a large car, the Statesman was not the flagship automobile at Nash. That honor was reserved for the Ambassador, which rode on a longer wheelbase, and was always a larger car than the Statesman. A first-generation Statesman was produced in 1950 and 1951, as the company debuted its new and aerodynamic fastback styling dubbed Airflyte. Featuring fully skirted fenders as a signature, engineers at Nash had to make some adjustments in the name of style. On the Ambassador the front track was three inches narrower than at the rear (to maintain a reasonable turning circle).

A new generation debuting for the 1952 model year saw Nash modernize Airflyte into the so-called “envelope body.” To assist with the design, they called up Pininfarina. Sheet metal was more upright and more voluminous, and some of the bathtub curves of the prior model were turned into creases. As before, Statesman was available with two doors as a sedan or hardtop, and as a four-door pillared sedan.

Nash was all about saving money, so it continued using the inline-six engines it developed in the 1920s. The unique design lacked intake and exhaust manifolds, which meant the engine was simpler, had fewer parts, and was thus lighter. Fuel efficiency was one of the selling points of the Statesman. Between generations one and two, the marque did up engine displacement slightly, going from 3.0 to 3.2 liters.

Changes in 1954 included a continental kit to increase trunk space, and one final moment of independence for Nash. On May 1, 1954, Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson merged to become American Motors. Consolidation was inevitable, and the Statesman was one of the first products to go. 1956 was the Statesman’s final year, as in ’57 the only full-size Nash offering was the Ambassador. That lasted exactly one year before the Ambassador was dropped, as well.

The Ambassador name continued the following year on a new AMC.

Today’s Rare ride is in solid condition, though not show quality at the moment. Then again, it doesn’t ask a show quality price: With 48,000 miles, it’s for sale at $9,900.

[Images: seller]

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  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.
  • Inside Looking Out To me it looks like French version of Hummer. The difference is that while American Hummer projects power French little Oli projects weakness.That vehicle reflects the bleak future for EU. For now they have to survive coming winter but in general population collapse it coming soon, Europeans will be gone in the long run. Only artifacts like this concept and legends will remind us about advanced and proud civilization that populated that small continent the civilization that in the end lacked will to exist.
  • Conundrum "the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union." Nah, wrong. But it's Posky, so should I be surprised? That body material, Duroplast, was invented by Germans, used on the East German Trabant car and dulled many a saw blade when trying to cut it.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuroplastThe Soviets made regular sheet tin cars. Nothing fancy, they just worked, like Soviet farm tractors you could repair with a pipe wrench and a 14 lb maul. They exported quite a few to Canada in the '60s and '70s and people used to swear by them.I suppose this new Citroen Ollie has LED lights. If they fail, does one go to the Dollarama for a $1 flashlight, then rip out and use those LED "bulbs" for a repair?I think this Ollie thing is off the rails. The Citroen 2CV was ingenious, both in chassis and especially suspension design and execution, but where's the innovation in this thing? Processed cardboard panels, when corrugated tin, a Citroen and Junkers favorite fascination would be just fine. Updated with zinc coating from circa 1912 and as used in garbage cans and outdoor wash tubs ever since, the material lasts for decades. Citroen chose not to zinc plate their 2CVs, just as the car industry only discovered the process in the mid 1980s, lagging garbage can manufacturers by three-quarters of acentury, with Japan holding out until the mid '90s. Not many 1995 Accords still around.This Ollie thing is a swing and a complete miss, IMO. Silly for silly's sake, but that's the modern day automotive designer for you. Obsessed with their own brilliance, like BMW and Toyota's crews creating mugs/maws only a catfish could love, then claiming it's for "brand identity" when people take offense at ugly and say so. They right, you wrong. And another thing -- hell, Ford in the 1950s, if not well before, and innumberable Australians found that a visor stuck out from the roof over the windshield keeps the sun out when necessary, but Citroen delivers first class BS that an upright windshield is the solution. And as GM found out in their newly-introduced late 1930s transit buses, flat windshields are bad for reflections, so they actually changed to a rearward slanting windshield.This design reeks of not applying already learned lessons, instead coming up with useless new "ideas" of almost zero merit. But I'm sure they're proud of themselves, and who gives a damn about history, anyway? "We new young whiz kids know better".
  • Conundrum Can't see that the Espada chassis had much to do with the Miura. The Miura had a rear-mounted transverse V12 with the transmission and final drive all part of the engine block. So it's a bit of a stretch saying the north-south V12 and regular transmission Espada chassis was related to the Miura. It looks to be no more than an update of the 400 GT. And short and long-arm independendent suspension was hardly unique -- a '53 Chev had that in front, it was standard for years on most cars that didn't have Mac struts. The Brits call SLA suspension double wishbone, so Honda thought that sounded more mysterious than SLA and used that terminology in ads, but it's the same thing. Only a few mid '30s cars had same length upper and lower A-arms like a '36 Chev, before the obvious advantage of a short upper arm for camber control was introduced. Of course Ford used a dead beam front axle until 1949, so it was last to climb out of the stone age.Do you have a link to a reference that says the Miura and Espada chassis were related?
  • FreedMike One of the things that we here in North America often forget about Europe is that it's a COMPLETELY different world to drive in. Imagine driving in the downtown area of the city you live in 24/7, and never leaving it, and you have a decent simulation of what it's like to drive in a place like Paris, or London, or Rome - or Manhattan, for that matter. As far as the "dystopia" is concerned, I don't really see it that way. This isn't made for people living in the 'burbs - it's for urban dwellers. And for that application, this car would be about perfect. The big question is how successful the effort to provide large-scale EV charging in urban areas will be.