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1952-1954 Nash Ambassador and Statesman

1953 Nash

The 1953 Nash Ambassador and Statesman Airflytes (just plain Airflytes now that the golden anniversary was past) featured mechanical improvements but little in the way of styling changes, save for some chrome trim added to the fresh-air intake in front of the windshield. Model availability in both series stood pat.

1953 Nash Ambassador
The 1953 Nash Ambassador offered power steering
for the first time.

The Statesman engine was reworked again, with its compression ratio upped to 7.45:1 from the previous 7.0:1, new "High-Lift" camshaft, and "Duoflo" carburetor. The engine, renamed the "Powerflyte," now put out 100 horsepower. Nash claimed it would "bring you thrilling performance with 22 percent greater 'passing' acceleration and amazing gasoline economy."

The Ambassador continued to use the 120-horsepower Super Jetfire mill, but could be ordered with an optional power plant, the Le Mans Dual Jetfire six. The Le Mans engine, with its dual carburetors, 8.0:1 compression, and aluminum cylinder head, pumped out 140 horsepower at 4,000 rpm.

Creature comforts were the year's big news. Power steering, which Nash claimed was the "next best thing to an automatic pilot," became available on the Ambassador. Despite the company's glowing claims, the new power steering wasn't well received, however; only 690 Ambassadors were so equipped at the factory. Far more popular in the option book was a new hood ornament, designed by pinup artist George Petty, that featured a voluptuous chrome lady on a flying wing.

Nash was still pushing the Pinin Farina name in brochures, pointing out what it called "The Difference that is Farina!" Sales catalogs for the year called the senior Nashes the "Most Beautiful Cars of Our Time," and that wasn't far off. Viewed alongside other medium-priced 1953 cars like Hudson, DeSoto, or Mercury, the big Nashes compared very well.

1953 Nash Statesman
The 1953 Statesman was very popular with owners,
as reflected in sales numbers and testimonials.

And owners loved them. "I have driven my new Nash Ambassador 15,500 miles," wrote Thomas Beckett, an engineer from Hartford, Connecticut. "[T]he Golden Anniversary model is in a class by itself." C. Howard Engles, of Long Beach, California, wrote in to tell Nash, "I travel 40,000-55,000 miles per year ... this 1952 Nash Ambassador is giving me gas mileage as high as 26.4 [mpg]." Arthur Hargett, of Baltimore, Maryland, focused on the safety of Airflyte body construction when he wrote, "My Nash Statesman turned over three times. ... I received only a few scratches. ... the Nash is constructed so as to bear the terrific blows that can come to a car. In my opinion, it helped save me."

Calendar year production was level, though model year production dropped 23,310 units to 120,890 "5300" series cars. Statesman production was up, but Ambassadors and Ramblers were down. The overall industry was way up, though, so it wasn't a good sign for Nash. A sales war broke out between Ford and Chevrolet, and it was beginning to drain sales from the independent makers.

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