1946 Nash P1 Prototype Pickup.
Chassis No: K77666
- A unique Nash Pickup!
- Built during the last days of World War Two as the basis of a potential production model
- Previous owner acquired in a dismantled state during 1990 and subsequently treated to a circa $75,000 restoration
- Powered by a 1941 Ambassador 6 OHV 3.8-litre twin-ignition engine allied to three-speed manual plus overdrive transmission
- The subject of various magazine articles including one in 'Car Collector'
The world's largest truck manufacturer in 1918 thanks to the innovative Quad which featured four-wheel drive, four-wheel brakes, four-wheel steering and twin limited slip differentials, Nash remained a serious player in the `heavy duty' vehicle stakes until the early 1930s. Thereafter, the Kenosha-based concern concentrated on passenger cars aside from a few thousand wreckers that it built between 1947 and 1955. Predominantly meant for export, the recovery trucks clothed their massive 3-ton chassis with modified saloon car front sheet metal.
However, Nash certainly contemplated entering the `light duty' pickup market as proven by the existence of this unique prototype. Put together towards the end of World War Two, it is believed to sit on a late 1930s Nash chassis complete with 600 series front sheetmetal and rear wings. Assorted factory photos from 1946 show the truck with and without its side-mounted spare wheel and sporting differing bonnet trims and bumper detailing etc. The pickup bed was not fabricated in-house but outsourced to The Perfection Steel Body Company of Galion, Ohio makers of steel dump bodies, express bodies and platform - stake bodies; another indication that Nash was serious about the idea of production.
In the end a post-WW2 `light duty' Nash Pickup never made it past the evaluation stage (although, the company did seemingly build a second prototype during 1949). Demand for new vehicles was such in the late 1940s / early 1950s that most American marques chose to focus on a few core model ranges rather than tool-up for new ones. Furthermore, Nash had committed to monocoque / unibody construction for its post-WW2 offerings and such chassis are not best suited to pickup conversions.
A longstanding Nash enthusiast, the previous owner found this unique pickup in about 1990. Despite it being stripped and lacking an engine at the time he had little doubt as to the truck's identity. Not only did the bulkhead-mounted body tag read: `Body No: Sample' and Model No: Truck Cab' but it came with a plaque from The Perfection Steel Body Company stamped: `Model: P1' and `Serial No: 80072'. On the basis that no one knew what powerplant the pickup had originally carried, the vendor chose to install a c.1941 Nash Ambassador 6 234ci (3.8 litre) OHV, twin ignition straight-six allied to three-speed manual plus Borg Warner overdrive transmission.
The previous owner estimates that he spent some $75,000 acquiring and renovating the truck to concours standard. Driven over 5,000 miles in the USA and France since its completion, the Nash has appeared in many magazine articles most notably Car Collector, Hemmings Motor News and NITRO (the latter being a five-page feature). Unfortunately, most of the pickup's history file was lost at an exposition of it in Racine, Wisconsin several years ago. Offered for sale with French Certificat d'Immatriculation (Carte Grise).