Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,378 pages of information and 219,137 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Nash Motors

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1917-57 US manufacture of automobiles

1916 Nash Motors was founded by former General Motors president Charles W. Nash who acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company. Jeffery's best known automobile was the Rambler.

Much of the early success of the company was owed to Charlie Nash's faith in engineer Nils Erik Wahlberg. Wahlberg was an early proponent of wind tunnel testing for vehicles. Wahlberg is also credited with helping to design modern flow-through ventilation, a process by which fresh, outside air enters a car's air-circulating system, is warmed (or cooled), and exits through rearward placed vents. The process also helped to reduce humidity and equalize the slight pressure differential between the outside and inside of a moving vehicle. One unique feature of these cars was the unequal width of the wheels. The front wheels were set slightly inside of the width of the back. This added stability and improved cornering.

Nash's slogan from the late 1920s and 1930s was "Give the customer more than he has paid for" and the cars pretty much lived up to it. Innovations included a straight-eight engine with overhead valves, twin spark plugs, and nine crankshaft bearings in 1930.

The 1932 Ambassador Eight had synchromesh transmissions and free wheeling, automatic centralized chassis lubrication, a worm-drive rear end, and its suspension was adjustable from within the car.

1954 In January Nash announced the acquisition of the Hudson Motor Car Company as a friendly merger, creating American Motors Corporation (AMC). To improve the financial performance of the combined companies, all production beginning with the 1955 Nash and Hudson models would happen at Nash's Kenosha plant. Nash would focus most of its marketing dollars on its smaller Rambler models, and Hudson would focus its marketing dollars on its full-sized cars.

For 1955, all senior Hudson and Nash automobiles were based on a shared common body shell but with individual powertrains and separate, non-interchangeable body parts as was the Big Three's longtime practice allowing for maximum manufacturing economy.

The Nash Metropolitan produced with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), which had been marketed under both the Nash and Hudson brands, became a separate brand in 1957, as did the Rambler. Rambler overtook Nash and Hudson as the leading nameplate manufactured by AMC.

Soon after the 1954 merger, CEO George Mason died. Mason's successor, George Romney, pinned the future of the company on an expanded Rambler line, and began the process of phasing the Nash and Hudson nameplates out by the end of the 1957 model year. Nash and Hudson production ended on June 25, 1957.

From 1958 to 1965, Rambler was the only marque sold by AMC, other than the Metropolitan, which remained in dealer showrooms until 1962. Under the tenure of Roy Abernethy, the Rambler name was phased out beginning in 1965 and discontinued after 1969.

1970 American Motors acquired Kaiser Jeep (the descendant of Willys-Overland Motors) and its Toledo, Ohio, based manufacturing facilities.

Early 1980s, AMC entered into a partnership with Renault which was looking for a re-entry into the American market in the 1980s.

1987 AMC was acquired by Chrysler Corporation, becoming the Jeep-Eagle division.

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