A Restored 1948 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet

The 1948 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet is a rare collector automobile. The Ambassador model featured in this article was Nash's top of the line car in 1948. It also wasn't until a year later in 1949 that Nash came out with their first new post war design called the Airflyte models.

1948 nash ambassador cabriolet

1948 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet

Nash Motors

Charles Nash began building automobiles as early as 1903 and formed Nash Motors in 1916. World War One was not far away and during this war Nash was the largest truck builder in the United States. Over the next several decades Nash Motors would grow much larger due to several mergers and acquisitions.

Nash Motors had an excellent slogan they adopted in the late 1920′s. The slogan was simply “Give the customer more than he has paid for“. The Nash automobiles pretty much lived up to that slogan. They were quality automobiles. It was said that Nash sold their cars about as fast as they could be produced.

Charles Nash was credited for two big accomplishments. He was able to keep his company competitive during the Roaring Twenties when competition was growing rapidly and Nash also was able to keep the company going through the Great Depression years of the 1930′s. This was no easy task since many companies went out of business in the 1930′s.

1948 nash cabriolet

1948 Nash Cabriolet

In 1937 Charles Nash  merged his company with the Kelvinator Corporation. By the time of the merger Charles Nash was 73 years of age and the merger made business sense. Nash became chairman of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and kept that title until he died in 1948.

In 1954 Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company which was then formed as American Motors Corporation. Beginning in 1956 AMC started building the Nash Ramblers. This was an attempt to serve the smaller, more economical auto market and the timing worked pretty well. The Nash Ramblers built a good reputation for dependability and they were inexpensive to own and operate. They also built a Rambler convertible. While the last Nash was produced in 1957, the Rambler model continued on with American Motors. The Rambler was discontinued in 1969.

1948 nash ambassador

1948 Nash Ambassador rear quarter panel styling. Similar to 1942 models.

Nash Ambassador Design

Coming out one year prior to the new post war Airflyte design, the 48 Nash had many of the styling traits of the pre war 1942 Nash cars. This included the split windshield and the front and back fender lines. Take a look at the 1949 Nash Airflyte Ambassador and you'll see an entirely new design.

1948 Nash Ambassador Specifications

The 1949 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet came with a 235 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine delivering 112 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed manual and brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Suspension on the 1948 Nash Ambassador included front end independent coil springs and rear end semi-elliptic leaf springs.

1948 nash ambassador grille

Nash Ambassador grille closeup

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 121.0 inches, an overall outside length of 208.575 inches, a width of 75.375 inches and a height of 69.25 inches. Weight came in at 3,465 lbs. New car price for the Ambassador Custom Cabriolet was about $2,345. For a comparison, a 1948 Hudson Super Eight sold new for just about the same price of $2,300  The Hudson Super Eight was not top of the line however. The Hudson Commodore Eight had a new price tag in the range of $2,600 to $3,000.

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The 1950 Willys Station Wagon

1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

A few excellent books on the subject of Nash Motors and other independents include Storied Independent Automakers : Nash, Hudson and American Motors by author Charles K. Hyde... Nash: 1936-1957 Photo Archive by Byron Olsen and Charles Nash : From Buick To Rambler and Ambassador by Daniel Alef.

nash emblem

1948 Nash Emblem

Total Nash 1948 production was 110,000 vehicles. To give you an idea of just how rare the 48 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet is, according to the Complete Book of Collectible Cars, only 1,000 of these convertible vehicles were built. Not counting the later Ramblers, the 1948 Ambassador Custom Cabriolet was the first and last post war rag top.

Look for the 1949 Nash serial number under the hood on the cowl.

1948 Nash Ambassador Custom Cabriolet Collector Car Values

As mentioned above, the 1948 Nash Ambassador Cabriolets are scarce collector cars with only 1,000 being manufactured. The rag top also makes this model a milestone car. Beginning with the 1949 Nash models the designing was all different.

Nash automobile owners have a lot of resources available through the Nash Car Club of America. Members receive a Nash part interchange book, a searchable bibliography of more than a thousand articles about Nash and related vehicles

You'll find that the Ambassador Custom Cabriolets have steadily increased in value over the decades. The convertible models have sold at auction for north of $50,000. We have seen a museum condition model with total originality with an asking price above $100,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


The Rare 1930 Duesenberg Willoughby Model J

The automobile introduced at the 1928 New York Auto Show known as the Duesenberg Model J may very well be today's most sought after vintage collector car.It's also an automobile that displayed a remarkable degree of technology for it's era. The Duesenberg Model J was the finest automobile in America at it's time and was on an equal footing with any luxury car produced in Europe. The Model J was produced from 1928 to 1937.

1930 duesenberg model j

1930 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby

The 1930 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby featured in this article is one of the most regal vintage automobiles you'll come across. It's an automobile you'll most likely come across at an automobile museum as opposed to on the road.

The Creation of the Duesenberg Model J

The Duesenberg was the creation of Fred Duesenberg with inspiration coming from E. L. Cord who ran the company of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg. While the first Model J Duesenberg was introduced prior to the 1929 stock market crash and following Great Depression, selling a luxury and performance based automobile with a price tag of perhaps $8,500 was a challenge. As a comparison, a 1930 Cadillac might have cost about $5,500 and a 1930 Packard Eight perhaps $3,500.

To give you an idea of some of the Model J advancements, these luxury automobile's of the early 1930's employed lighter material which was indeed a significant technological advancement. New technological traits were found in the Model J engine designed by Fred Duesenberg which had an automatic chassis lubrication system. If this wasn't advancement enough for 1930, the Duesenberg engine also had heat treated aluminum construction for some of it's parts. This included the engine's pistons, rods and oil pan. Parts of the braking system were also made from heat treated aluminum.

duesenberg model j

1930 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby

The Duesenberg was built with a 420 cubic inch inline eight cylinder Lycoming engine delivering 265 horsepower. Connected to a three speed manual gearbox, the 1930 Duesenberg was claimed to be able to attain 116 MPH. A pretty good speed for a luxury non race car in 1930.

The eventual demise of Duesenberg was not entirely because of the Great Depression. While the economic calamity certainly whittled away at potential buyers, the bigger problem was how much E.L. Cord spent to build the Duesenbergs and their decreasing profit margin.

The Duesenberg Model J Design

The Model J was a two door sporty luxury touring coupe. This Duesenberg Model J Willougby has a customized body built by The Willoughby Company of Utica New York. The 1930 Duesenberg bodies were essentially built to order by coachwork companies. In fact, this was really the rule and as such there were very few of what you would say are "standard" Duesenberg Model J's. Owners added their own customization through the coachbuilding companies they hired.

duesenberg model j engine

Duesenberg Model J engine

The Willoughby Company was a top rate coachbuilder which began operations in Utica NY in 1897. The company became a production coach builder for major American auto companies.

The company produced automotive bodies for a long list of quality auto brands such as Lincoln, Pierce-Arrow, Studebaker, Peerless, Marmon, Cadillac, Dodge and of course Duesenberg. Body styles included enclosed sedans and full length limousines. It's been said that at one time everyone from presidents to corporate titans to even gangster Al Capone at one time owned an automobile with a Willoughby built body.

As you might expect, an automobile like the Duesenberg Model J was popular with the celebrity set of it's period. William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy) owned a 1933 Duesenberg Model J convertible. Model J's were also owned by Gary Cooper and Clark Gable.

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1936 Cord 810 Cabriolet

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1936 Chrysler Convertible


duesenberg model j willougby

Duesenberg spare tire housing

1930 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Specifications

As mentioned above, the Duesenbergs were built with a pretty large engine, a 420 cubic inch inline eight cylinder Lycoming engine delivering 265 horsepower. By this time Lycoming was owned by E.L. Cord and became a big part of his Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg operation. Top speed was rated at 116 MPH.The engine had a dual downdraft carburetor.

The basic Model J engine stayed fairly the same during the entire Model J production run with only minor changes in the later years.

Transmission was an unsynchronized three speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum with a hydraulic assist.

Suspension consisted of semi-elliptic springs in the front and a live rear axle with semi-elliptic springs.

The 1930 Duesenberg had a wheelbase of 142.5 inches and a weight of 5,250 lbs. Total dimensions of the vehicle would vary depending on the coachwork.

duesenberg tires

Duesenberg wide white wall with spoked rims

The Duesenberg Model J Collector Car

Because the automobile bodies placed on a Duesenberg Model J chassis were essentially all a bit different, placing the current value on any surviving and restored models is not an exact science. Two things that are for sure is that the Model J is a very rare vintage automobile and the collector car prices are well into the six figure range.

A 1930 Duesenberg Phaeton went into auction north of $850,000. A 1930 Duesenberg Model J Berline sold at auction for $1.7 million. A 1932 Model J Convertible sold for $825,000. A 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy sold for close to $1.2 million.

While the Duesenberg Model J's are not for everyone's car collection they are superb vintage American automobiles and appear to have greatly increased with age.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


A Fine Collector Car / 1962 Porsche Carrera 2

The Porsche 356 model was the first production sports car model from the company and it's design essentially stayed unchanged during it's entire production run. The Porsche 356, particularly the higher performance Carrera models, has also been a top and highly valued collector sports car and remains so.

1962 porsche carrera 2

1962 Porsche Carrera 2

The 1962 Porsche Carrera 2 featured in this article is a higher performance model of the basic Porsche 356. The difference with the Carrera model had to do with it's engine and the Porsche 356 Carrera 2's could attain speeds of 125 MPH. The Carrera engine was a four cam four cylinder model tuned to deliver 128 horsepower. Other engine configurations were delivering even higher horsepower.

The Carrera was offered both in a Carrera GT Deluxe version for the road and the Carrera GT for the racetrack.

The Porsche Background

The Porsche has been a very popular German automobile which has it’s history going back to the 1930′s. The formal name of the firm is Porsche Automobil Holding SE and is located in Stuttgart Germany.

When the company was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, the company's work was actually in the realm of automotive development work and consulting rather than attempting to operate as a full scale manufacturer. That would come later after World War Two.

porsche carrera

Porsche Carrera

Eventually however, in it’s early years, the company designed at the request of the German government, the first Volkswagen Beetle, a car that remains very popular in America to this very day. The Porsche 64 model which is considered the first Porsche automobile built by the company and had many VW Beetle characteristics incorporated in it.The Porsche 64 however was a prototype automobile and was not a production car. Nevertheless, it was the precursor to Porsche's first 356 model.

An interesting side note is that Porsche developed a military use version of the VW Beetle for the German government during World War Two.

The Porsche 356

The Porsche 356, Porsche's first production sports car used the Volkswagen platform with it's rear engine placement. As mentioned above, the Porsche 356 was an extension of the prototype Porsche 64. It had a flat four engine similar to the VW Beetle but was customized to deliver about 100 horsepower.

porsche carrera dashboard

62 Porsche Carrera 2 dashboard

One similarity to the VW was simply that the first Porsche sports cars utilized just about all the spare VW parts they could. One difference was that the first Porsche bodies were not separate from the frame which was significant at the time.

There was also a distinct difference between VW and Porsche in as much as the former was set up for volume production to the masses where Porsche really was aimed at the sports car and performance buyer. Time only made the differences more divergent between the two brands especially when you're talking about the drive train and suspension.

The Flat Four Engine

Porsche used the flat four air cooled VW engine in the first of it's 356 models. These are also called the boxer engine. In short, the engine design allows for opposite pistons to move back and forth in opposing directions. Benefits are a lower center of gravity, better balance and a shorter engine. Some disadvantages include a longer exhaust pipe required due to the exhaust pulse of this configuration as well as a higher production cost compared to inline engines.

porsche 356 carrera

1962 Porsche 356B Carrera

Porsche Carrera 2 Specifications

All Porsche automobiles with race tuned engines were given the Carrera name.  More than just a model name, the Carrera model represented a particular race-bred version of Porsche’s classic flat-four engine configured by Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, using twin ignition, two dual-throat carburetors, and, most significantly, four-cam valve actuation rather than single-cam pushrods.

As mentioned above, the Porsche Carrera 2 was a Porsche 356 model with a bit more power. The car had a 2.0 liter flat "Boxer" four  cylinder engine mounted in the rear. The Carrera 2 delivered 128 horsepower with a top speed of 124 MPH.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel disc designed and manufactured by Porsche. This was called the Porsche ATE system. The four wheel disc brakes worked well keeping the car's performance in check.

Suspension was independent front and rear.

The car's wheelbase was 82.7 inches with an overall outside length of 158.0 inches. Width was 65.8 inches and height 52.3 inches. Weight was 2,220 lbs.

The Porsche 356B Carrera 2's were built from 1962 through 1964. Total Porsche 356B Carrera 2 production numbered 1,810 vehicles from 1962 through 1963. The 356C Carrera 2's built from 1963 through 1965 totaled 2,134 cars.

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porsche 356 carerra 2

62 Porsche 356B Carerra 2

1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2 Collector Car

These sports cars are highly collectible and come with a relatively high price tag. The 1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2 in finely restored condition will have an asking price in the six figures. Might not be a car for every collector's budget but the vehicles are classics.

To give you an idea of current prices for those on the market, a 1962 Carrera 2 two door coupe is showing sold for just over $200,000. Several other 1962 Carrera 2 models sold for over $300,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)