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 1948 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.

See these AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below…

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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)