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About NashCharles Nash bought the Thomas B. Jeffery Company and manufacturing facilities in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1916, after a six year stint as president of General Motors. Although the TBJ name may not be easily recognized now, his Rambler was the second largest automaker in the US in 1902. Along with the Rambler car, Nash acquired the Jeffrey Quad. It was a four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering truck developed for the army.
The first vehicle to bear the Nash name would be 1917's Model 671. The first Nash-designed vehicles followed the next year. After Nash took over production, the company became the largest producer of four-wheel drives in the country. Sales reached over 50,000 for the first time in 1923. In 1928, the company produced over 138,000 cars and made a $20m profit.
Nash's slogan in the late '20s and early '30s was "Give the customer more than he has paid for." More innovations the company pioneered... View more helped to do as much. The straight-eight engine had been around for years, but the company put the valves in the cylinder head. They introduced what they called 'twin ignition' in 1928. It helped improve combustion efficiency, as well as power and fuel mileage.
1936 saw the introduction of a 'double bed' feature in 400 and LaFayette sedans and victorias. The rear seats would lower, allowing two people to sleep in the rear of the car with legs extended into the trunk. That year the 400 was the first car of its size with a one piece steel roof, and overdrive became optional.
There was a major hierarchal change in 1936 as well. Charles Nash was 72, and he invited the vice-president of Kelvinator Corporation, George Mason, to become president of Nash. It was agreed, so long as Nash bought Kelvinator--a maker of high-end refrigerators and kitchen appliances. While bad jokes abounded--Nash cars would come standard with ice cube trays and Kelvinator fridges would have four wheel brakes--the car business sold almost 86,000 cars for a $3.5m profit. Nash-Kelvinator became the parent company until 1954.
An optional a/c and heater system became available in 1937. It was the first car to utilize hot water to work with fresh air for climate control. The Weather-Eye system added a thermostat for further control the next year. 1940 saw independent coil springs and sealed-beam headlights introduced, but the biggest change came the following year. The very first unitized body construction in automotive manufacturing was used on the 1941 Ambassador 600. Sales jumped over 26% that year.
Charles Nash died in 1948. George Mason predicted the post-war market wouldn't last and tried to merge the remaining independent automakers together. It didn't happen, at least not yet. Nash-Kelvinator merged with Hudson Motor Car Company in early 1954 to become American Motors. Mason died shortly afterward. His administrative assistant, George Romney, took control. The Rambler name was revived for an economy class car, and the Nash Metropolitan debuted. It was also available as a Hudson.
Before the Hudson merger, Mason teamed up with Donald Healey for a sports car. The project was dropped after only 506 cars. Three specially designed and built cars performed well in the Le Mans race and at the Mille Miglia.
Nash production ended in June 1957, along with Hudson. Rambler became the name of the production cars as AMC was preparing to take on Chrysler, Ford, and GM at their own game. View less
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