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1931 Nash 890 Ambassador Club Sedan *SOLD*


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*SOLD*
 

A Nash? What? 

 

If you're shopping for an extraordinary Full Classic tour car that still shows quite well, you'd be making a mistake to ignore this Nash. I know it's not a Cadillac or a Packard or even a Lincoln, and Nash is an orphan brand that's widely misundersood, but this is a really remarkable opportunity. See, this isn't just any Nash, it's the only known 890 Club Sedan, and it was discovered and restored by Tom Lester and Dale Adams in the 1980s. For those of you unfamiliar with Tom Lester, he's the guy who started the company that made the tires that are on this car (and thousands of others). He had a reputation for finding unusual cars and restoring them to show-quality condition, but they were not trailer queens. No, no, Tom Lester's cars were built to RUN! Cars that were "Lesterized" were the most road-worthy cars in a very crowded field, often sporting upgraded camshafts, more compression, and high-speed gears (all of which this Nash has). I recall when I was a kid, Tom took some ancient Mercedes-Benz he'd just finished out on the highway and was pulled over for doing more than 80 MPH in it. The cop offered him a warning, but Tom insisted on the ticket--to prove his 19-ought-something Mercedes was actually going that fast. THAT is Tom Lester in a nutshell.

 

You may also not be familiar with Dale Adams, who is probably the most under-rated restorer of his generation. He has restored some of the most extraordinary cars in the world and is one of the world's foremost experts on the Packard V12. Those who know his talent know that his cars are not only spectacular to look at, but that they work properly and the quality of the workmanship will last for years, maybe decades.

 

All of that brings us full circle to this Nash Ambassador. Tom Lester found it and turned it over to a young Dale Adams for restoration. It was complete but somewhat deteriorated, so Dale gave it everything he had. The finished result quickly won every award that you can win with such a car, including CCCA and AACA national first prizes (bear in mind this is back in the early '80s). When Tom Lester sadly passed away a few years later, Dale reacquired the car and it quickly became his favorite personal tour vehicle, racking up some 27,000 miles in the intervening years (you'll spot Adams' coat of arms on the doors of the car). Dale took particular delight in passing other cars on tour, regardless of make or model, and I have been in the car at better than 80 MPH, which was remarkably drama-free (and there are rumors that the car will do more than 90 without ill effect). And to credit Dale's exceptional talent, the car just scored 94.25 points in a CCCA Grand Classic three weeks ago. It's holding up astoundingly well.

 

Now about the car--if you don't know Nash, you should do your homework because there's much more to the company than funky orphans and tiny Metropolitans. In the early 1930s, the Ambassador was every bit a match for any of the big cars of the day. It's actually rather sophisticated, offering a 298 cubic inch straight-8 with overhead valves and dual ignition (two spark plugs per cylinder). I don't know the horsepower today, but in 1931, it was every bit a match for the eight-cylinder Packards, Cadillacs, and Lincolns. This particular car has a Club Sedan body by the Seaman Body Corporation in Milwaukee, also the home of Nash (makes sense). It's handsome, spacious, and sitting on a 133-inch wheelbase, it's certainly imposing enough. Dale's workmanship is evident throughout and the unusual color combination isn't two-tone gray, but rather closer to the chicle and copra drab that you'd see on a 1930 Model A Ford, which I presume was Dale's inspiration. It's just beautiful in person, particularly with the cream-colored pinstripes to accentuate it. The paint is still very, very nice with few signs of age--most notable around the gas filler neck where there's some checking. The doors close solidly, the hood swings on well-oiled hinges, and all the chrome still sparkles with no notable deterioration. It's a great-looking car that doesn't make a lot of noise about what it is. I like that.

 

The interior is likewise extremely well-preserved, showing only the most minor signs of wear that are most visible in the door pockets, whose elastic has given up. The upholstery is period-correct and the beautiful instrument panel has engraved details that are still laser-sharp. Everything works, including the clock which ticks away audibly. The woodgrained details are just lovely. Demerits include a lever on the steering wheel hub that has broken off (not quite sure what it's for, the throttle and headlight levers are intact) and some very, very minor pitting on the instrument panel, but that might buff out with something a little more aggressive than we used. Dale also added turn signals but the lever looks so right you'd almost think they were factory-issue. There's also a trunk mounted out back that's ideal for touring.

 

The big straight-8 is still nicely detailed, although I suspect this is where the car lost most of those points in recent judging. The green engine enamel has some light discoloration and some chipping and flaking, although none of it is worth pursuing in the quest for perfection. The plug wires (all 16 of them) are also a little discolored, but that's easy enough to fix. The car features a mechanical fuel pump as well as a back-up electric pump that I've never had to use, as well as a full Bijur lubrication system. The original generator, water pump, and carburetor are all in place and fully operational, and the car starts quickly and easily with just a little bit of choke. It has a hearty eight-cylinder rumble through the exhaust system, which is still in excellent condition. Suspension, brakes, and other chassis bits show signs of tour use but you could probably wipe out 70% of it with a deep cleaning. This must have been one hell of a car when it was first finished! Six wire spoke wheels are fitted with--what else?--Lester wide whites, and I think if this were my car, I'd switch to a set of blackwalls to really make it look amazing.

 

This is an opportunity. A big one. This is a Tom Lester car, and as people in the hobby for many years will tell you, a Lester car was like a Bill Harrah car--right in every possible way. Add in Dale Adams' exceptional workmanship and style and you have an extraordinary machine. Yes, it's a Nash, but if your'e a sophisticated collector with vision like Tom and Dale, that won't be a barrier. And you'll end up with perhaps the best-driving early '30s car I've ever driven in my life. You will never regret owning this car and every time you take it on tour, you will be the envy of everyone else because it is fast, comfortable, and it doesn't break. All of that seems like a rather remarkable deal for $49,900. I've sold garden-variety Cadillacs for considerably more. So make haste and find out what the very best guys could do to the cars during the golden years of the hobby. Thanks for reading!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Nice car, my dad had a 1932 with the worm drive rear........kept breaking axles. Rare and obscure, a fantastic car for very little money. Smile........like you own a Nash!?

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As I commented on another post, and as you state, Matt, if Lester and Adams did the car, then mechanically it's the best it can be.  Lester did two Pierce engines for me, each of which were the best running engines I've ever owned.  Adams was very well respected back in the day.

 

This is a great car, and while not inexpensive in price, it's inexpensive in what you get for your money.  Wonderful....

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Great Full Classic for the money. Although it's tough to recoup money on a sedan, far better to buy a nice car like this one and be able to enjoy it from the get go. Elegant body style, pleasing colors, beautiful dash. Good value.?

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Couple of months ago someone asked a question about buying a classic car, I responded in part by saying they might want to consider some lesser known big independents like the Nash Ambassador Eight, Studebaker President Eight (pre 1934) etc.

 

For this I got called a moron and an idiot since these cars are so rare they never come up for sale. Wonder where the smart alecs are now.

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I might also mention that I discovered today that this car has a 12 volt electrical system. It is impossible to see and I didn't even know until I went to put a battery tender on it and the 6V battery tender wouldn't talk to the battery under the seat. Checked the part number and sure enough, it's a 12 volt battery. Somehow Dale was able to make the entire car operate correctly on 12 volts: starter, original generator (which drives the water pump), bulbs, signals, gauges, even the clock, are all still intact and fully functional. That explains the accessory power outlet under the seat. Whether these cars were 12 volts when they were new, I don't know but I don't think so. The conversion is completely invisible in every single way except the headlights are EXTREMELY bright and the aforementioned power outlet. Pretty impressive work, Dale!

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Beautiful. Does anybody recognize those hinge pin mirrors?

I am looking for a set of 'touring' mirrors for my 29 Cadillac Town Sedan, and these look both practical and stylish. 

 

And yeah, I am well over this in just the purchase and mechanical repairs to the Cad. And I still aint done. ?

Independents have always offered excellent value. 

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

SOLD! Thank you! Did someone just say something about the classic car market being soft?

Seems to only be soft on 36 to 37 Cords.  The rest seem to be streaming along nicely,  especially all the ones I'm interested in.  Latest Hemmings seemed to show auction results all headed North not south.  Especially on nice early 30's open bigger cars. 

I thought all those people that grew up with them were going to be gone by now so they would all be a bargain,  guess that philosophy just got tossed out the window. 

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I can attest to the fact that the market is soft for 1930 Studebaker Presidents

Matt you do a really good job of marketing.

You expounded on the fact that the car was 12 volt.no one said one harsh word that it not original.

A few months back I offered a suggestion to switch to a 8 volt battery and was chastised.

Again,good job,really nice Nash.

Don,t forget my idea about flyers, you took that post down, that was my one and only purple cup,and now it,s gone.

lol

 

Ken

 

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I can’t wait for the market to fall apart on the DV-32 Stutz cars.........but I have been waiting since the first time I went for a ride in 1981. It’s gonna happen some day...... probably twenty years after I’m long gone.

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56 minutes ago, edinmass said:

I can’t wait for the market to fall apart on the DV-32 Stutz cars.........but I have been waiting since the first time I went for a ride in 1981. It’s gonna happen some day...... probably twenty years after I’m long gone.

Probably longer.  It seems that whole the generation that remembers these is gone and no one will want it jive has been going around for years and never comes true with anything great.  No one is around that remembers the Mona lisa Being painted but boy somebody still wants it.  The great older cars were as much art as machine,  especially when you see what manufactures offer today in comparison.  The whole reason many were saved back in the day when they were just used cars. 

Besides even though those TV shows about building hot rods  are raising a whole new generation of Gear heads.  I started out as a hot rodder and now can barely stand many after seeing alot of good cars botched in the attempt left to litter craigslist with nearly unreverse able modifications with all the good parts being scrapped off.

Those guys in some cases really know how to weld and shape metal.  With the tools available to even the hobbiest today, plus an always diminishing supply of cars (some exported to countries in turmoil,  Others lost to floods and fires) with population growth and exposure of the hobby to foreign countries,  you will probably see the value going up not down as the money for good cars has to compete globally. 

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