CC For Sale: 1956 Nash Statesman – Won’t Somebody Rescue This Orphan?

After I discovered that recent Mercury Turnpike Cruiser on eBay, I also found this sorry thing on eBay, and I just had to share it with you.  One of these was shown on CC earlier this year in a 1950s black and white photograph, but this is the first contemporary sighting posted.   Even though it doesn’t look it, this may be an easier project than the ’57 Mercury, and I’ll explain why…

Look at that face!  I never used to be a big fan of these ’50s Nashes, but lately as I’ve been learning more about them, I’m finding that they do have a certain appeal…

This beached whale is located in a place called Mattituck, New York, which is on the far eastern end of the north shore of Long Island.  The ad claims that the car is virtually rust free (it looks as if that could be true) and RUNS, but would need to be towed.

I love the blue!  If it’s original paint, it’s probably “Solitaire Blue”, which I like the sound of.   I have an optimistic belief that a good compounding and waxing would shine this right up!

Nash for ’56 came in two sizes:  the big Ambassador (209″ length) and this Statesman (7″ shorter).  I actually think the trimmer dimensions make the Statesman better proportioned.

As I look at these photos, I’m finding all kinds of fascinating details.  There was a Hudson version of this car called the Wasp, and it’s interesting to compare the two.

Is that original upholstery?  It looks almost unblemished!  The dash looks good too.  Have to find a Nash chrome steering wheel center…

Back seat and door panels look great too!  I hope that’s the missing front fender trim piece.

No obvious signs of rear fender rust.  The original gas cap is still there.  Looking good so far…

The speedometer is a work of art!  American Motors used these stretched, arcing single digits for a long time.  I wonder who came up with this design?

This is a 195 cubic inch overhead valve six.  Easy to work on, and in proper tune probably runs real smooth.  This car is not going to be fast, but I don’t care.  This Nash is about cruising along in style (with economy), and experiencing the unique sound and feel of a genuine vintage engine. Although the ad says this has an automatic, the clutch pedal in the interior shot says otherwise.

But the optional improved-for-’56 4-speed Hydra-Matic should provide smooth shifting and good ratios at all driving speeds.

Here’s what Consumer Reports had to say…

Not exactly a ringing endorsement!


I like the idea that the Nashes and Hudsons from this period give you a real “snug” feeling while driving.  You have the solid unit body, firm but well-cushioned and upholstered seats, the “Deep-Coil” ride, a quiet, roomy interior, and better-than-average quality and design refinement in the little things.  This is not quite like the run-of-the-mill stuff from the Big Three!

So many wonders!


Kinda cute, isn’t it?


Now I have experience resurrecting a car like this, which explains my enthusiasm.  In 2008, I had the opportunity to buy a 1962 Imperial Custom 4-door hardtop rotting away under some pine trees–it was covered with needles instead of leaves.  It had been off the road for years.  The engine ran, but started clunking when I pressed “D”.  The seats, dash, and headliner were very good, and the body had no visible rust.  The brakes were shot.  I paid $900 ($800 for the car; $100 to tow it out of the woods).

I don’t have any pictures of the Imperial when it was in a wretched state, but this one shows the car cleaned up and running/driving well.


Everybody loves those taillights!


I ended up spending about $4000 on the Imperial.  It needed the differential rebuilt, a new motor mount (source of the clunking), brakes re-done, and various other repairs.  It’s amazing how taking care of little things one by one and polishing and cleaning small details start to transform a car from a wreck to something rather nice–especially when you’re working on a desirable model in the first place.

Completely original interior, cleaned up. I found the missing chrome horn ring on eBay for $15.


I have to say this Imperial drove beautifully, both on the highway and local streets.  That 413 engine may deserve the title “bulletproof” to survive being neglected for so long and then coming to life with no problems.

Here’s my Imperial in Brooklyn.


I ended up selling the Imperial to someone from Brooklyn, NY for $5500.  I sold it because I found a 1962 Mercury Monterey 390 for sale which was in amazing original cosmetic condition (but not running) for $2000.   It too needed a couple thousand dollars worth of work, but it was another excellent looking/driving car when the work was done.

1962 Mercury Monterey hardtop in Sultana White over Desert Frost. 61,000 original miles.


This car had bullet taillights too!


The ’62 Mercury had a pale gold finish on the dash that is hard to find in good condition like this!


So here’s my point:  If you could pick up this Nash for say, $2000; and let’s say you’d have to spend $4000 to get it running and nice (but not perfect–keeping as much originality as possible), you’d have $6000 into it.  NADA says its Average Retail value is $8900 and Low Retail is $4950.  So in the end you may not make money flipping it, but you’re not going to take a bath either.  And what a unique car you’d have!

If this car were for sale in my local area, I’d definitely take a look at it.  But I have three ’50s cars now, and no more room.  Someone else will have to step up.  I can’t save every lost puppy!


eBay ad here