1949-57 Nash Ambassadors in Collectible Automobile

Patrick Foster definitely knows his Nashes. He writes a compact history of Nash’s full-size car in the August 2010 issue of Collectible Automobile (Anyone know how/if/when they’ll ever get a web site?).

Normally, I would slam the article as another car history that reads like a book report: all facts and very little human interest. Indeed, my eyes started spinning when I saw the overwhelming number of prices, model year changes, and trim variations. It gets so overwhelming.

But I have to cut Foster some slack. He slipped in a little bit of human interest with the story about how Nash Vice-President Meade Moore sabotaged stylist Ed Anderson’s design for the 1952 Golden Airfltye Ambassador, because Moore held a grudge for anyone who took the job that he felt his son was entitled to.

(Foster has always been partial to Ed Anderson and led a renewal of interest in Anderson back from the time he published his book American Motors, the Last Independent. I’m sure he’s responsible for anyone at all remembering Anderson’s contributions to Nash and AMC.)

Foster was probably given an assignment and a word count. It’s hard to tell the human story of product creation when you have so much to say and so little space in which to say it.

Nevertheless, if you want a tight, concise story about the postwar Nash Ambassador, Foster’s article is a great place to start. He boils it down and fits it in. You’ll find a lavish display of pictures, including many from Foster’s own impressive archive.

In fact, there are so many pictures of Ambassadors in the article, that I’ll bet half of the Nash Car Club’s members are name-checked in the photos!


1966 AMC Ambassador convertible in Cars & Parts

The folks at Cars & Parts (right up the highway from us in Sidney, OH) often give the guys who work for the Hemmpire in Vermont a run for their money.

Their cover story about the ’66 AMC Ambassador 990 convertible in the July 2009 issue is a great example. Richard Truesdell wrote a great story about what American Motors was doing at that time. He talks about how owner Ken Norman’s car is tricked out with every factory option except the tachometer.

But I felt the story needed a little hot sauce. So I burrowed deep into the Torq-O Media Archive until only my feet were sticking of the hole. When my assistants pulled me out, I was feverish and babbling. The 16mm commercial spot that they crowbarred out of my hands is the secret sauce for this article.

Here’s a 1966 Ambassador TV commercial for your contextual pleasure.

In 1966, AMC promoted themselves as the “Friendly Giant Killers.” And they spent a ton of money doing it. They produced one of their traveling dealer introduction shows that toured the United States. They recorded and distributed an original cast recording on a vinyl LP.

They also spent some coins sponsoring big television shows. Here’s a short movie featuring actor David Wayne pitching American Motors. You would have seen this video running in the middle of some big TV special on one of the big three networks at that time.

Did this advertising investment work? Not unless you consider the President’s unceremonious dumping in January 1967 a serendipitous career change.

Nevertheless, for one glorious year, AMC showed that the littlest American car company could write checks just as big as the Big Three.