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Water Jacket

1935-42 Nash ohv, nine-main straight 8

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Does anyone have hands on experience with the 1935-41 Nash ohv, 260-cubic-inch, nine-main-bearing, twin-ignition straight eight? It sounds like a quality engine, but we don't see many of them. They're overshadowed by many engines which don't have all the preceding features in one package. What were the 260-ci Nash ohv straight eight's weaknesses? Why don't they have a more pronounced following?

All we can think of are that other nine-main-bearing straight eights were bigger, longer, so perhaps the Nash's main bearings were narrow, and wore out, offsetting the advantage of nine mains over five wider mains, as in, for example, the 282-ci Packard One-Twenty side-valve (valve-in-block, L-head, flathead) inline eight.

Or, was the Nash's ohv cylinder head, which also contained the exhaust manifold, an Achilles heel?

We know there are several around. But why aren't these engines more popular, better known, more widely known? The 254-ci Hudson splash-oiled, five-main-bearing, side valve straight eight certainly has its fans, and it doesn't sound nearly as advanced, or as much quality, as the Nash.

What's the story?<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

Edited by Water Jacket (see edit history)

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The Packard 9-main flathead of the era is the 356 in the 160/180, and is considerably more powerful. The Nash is unappreciated I agree

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One reason may be in the sheer numbers, when comparing Nash to Hudson. Nash production didn't approach Hudson's until 1940. In some earlier years during the period it wasn't much more than a third of Hudson's. Disclaimer; this is based on overall production figures, both makes also prodced six cylinder cars during the period.

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Nash made quality cars that offered features not available on other makes. You mention the high grade 9 bearing OHV straight eight. They also had dual ignition on their top models, meaning 2 spark plugs per cylinder. The Nash Weather Eye system was the first heating/ventilating system built into the car in the modern manner.

Nash engines were well made and reliable. One of them finished in the money in the LeMans 24 hour race in 1952, under the hood of a Nash Healey sports car. Healey insiders considered it incredible that an American six cylinder engine costing only $250 could beat most of the world's best sports cars.

The company was well managed but conservative. They resisted going into debt to expand production in the good years which allowed them to survive the bad years when bigger companies died.

Nash is still around in a way. They morphed into American Motors and in 1958 dropped the Nash name in favor of Rambler, their most popular product at the time. Eventually they were taken over by Chrysler and their cars rebadged as Eagles. The Eagle platform gave birth to the larger front drive Chryslers of the 90s and it is possible a little Nash DNA is still lingering around in the front drive Chryslers and in the Jeep.

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