While traveling forgotten back roads, as we are apt to do, we often unexpectedly and completely by chance stumble across some really interesting finds. We’ve discovered long abandoned homesteads or farms, or their remains, vintage equipment and old cars and trucks by the score. Included in the latter category are the three old autos seen in this posting: a post World War Two Ford, a fairly common beast, and not one but two 1940s and 50s era Nash cars. Now that pair, my friends, are some rare and exciting gems!
The location here is an old farm yard in the deep south of Alberta, very near the Montana border. The Sweetgrass Hills of that state, not that far away, can clearly been seen from this position. What an incredible setting.
This part of the province is a very lonely place. In fact the sense of isolation is overwhelming. You may as well be on the moon. Given so few people have lived here over the years, remains like buildings and such are few and far between, but what you do find, it seems, is always very interesting.
The farm house that once stood here is long gone. Scattered about the property, two in this area and the third down in a gully not terribly far away, are the three cars that will make up this report. The first we see upon entering the property is a post World War Two era Ford four door. This is an interesting but not terribly unusual find.
Now comes the real good stuff…
Next is an early 1950s Nash Canadian Statesman, built on the advanced-for-the-time Airflyte platform offered by that company. This model, outside the nameplate, is a near duplicate of its American counterpart, the plain ol’ Statesman. Nash cars of this era are low, wide and rather bulbous looking beasts, their body lines often compared to an upside down bathtub, and as such stood out a great deal from their contemporaries. One spotting feature was the skirted wheels, not just in the rear but the front as well. An unusual set up. Changing a tire must have been a pain, for certain.
Quite a bit more aerodynamic then most autos of that era, Nash cars, which was unusual for the time were made in a unibody form. Tried and true body on frame construction was the norm back then and remained so (in North America) well into the 1970s. Unibody makes for a stiffer, lighter more fuel efficient car.
Nash had a Canadian factory in Toronto Ontario. Production started in 1950 but output was always fairly low. Most years only a few thousand cars were made across a number of models. In the mid-1950s Nash merged with a rival, Hudson, forming the company American Motors Corp (AMC). The Nash factory, it’s believed, was retained, at least for a time by that firm.
The Statesman series was the Nash company’s base model during the time it was produced. Note the very early tailfin like styling elements. As the decade progressed this sort of feature became more and more popular with all makes.
Surprisingly this car has mostly intact glass – not even a cracked or chipped windshield. That’s unusual, more so since all the roads in the area are gravel. Ask anyone how how long glass lasts in that environment. The body seems complete (the hood appears missing but is buried in the grass) but mechanically and interior wise, everything is gone.
Beside the farm yard is a gully and down by a little creek is another car from this same maker. This one is much more stripped down and is for the most part just a shell. It is a 1946-48 era Nash, which we think is a base line model 600. We’re a little unsure since many cars from that firm in that period shared similar body styles and differed in only in trim and interior appointments. Since this car is so incomplete, we can’t say for certain.
Recall, Nash only set up production in this country in the early 50s, so this car was US produced. This model was noteworthy as it was the first mass produced unibody car on the continent.
These are the very first Nash cars we’ve documented while out exploring. That we found them in such a remote locale makes it all that more interesting. They were probably the only cars of that make in the entire region! The person who purchased them must have been a big fan.
Presumably one can expect to get ten to fifteen years or even more out of a car, so it’d be safe to say these ones have been sitting here since the 1960s. They’ve been waiting a long time for someone like us to document them.
The Sweetgrass Hills seen are a geographic anomaly rising high above the surrounding prairie and can be seen from quite a distance. Connie and I would both like hike here.
This trip we joined Jason and Rebecca Sailer, good friends and fellow history buffs who took us on a tour of the area. We had a blast.
Another fairly uncommon auto make…
Studebaker, Canada’s own car.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: August, 2014.
Location: Deep south Alberta.