Auto Innovation: The Incredible Nash

Jalopnik: “For a defunct car company, we still feel Nash’s influence a surprising amount, in ways that are pretty basic and fundamental to how cars are today … Nash was the first to really build a full-unibody car in an affordable car in real volume: the Nash 600 … it came up with the HVAC system that formed the basis of pretty much every one in use today … Saab and those safety-loving Swedes introduced the modern 3-point harness in 1958, but nine years earlier, in 1949, Nash was offering lap belts as an option on their cars.”

“Nash was a pioneer in the subtle and beautiful art of sleeping in your car. Way back in 1936, it pioneered the ‘Bed-in-Car’ system, where the rear seat would fold down, creating an opening into the trunk, allowing you to sleep in the car, with your legs in the trunk … This also may be the first example of a folding rear seat to get bigger things in the trunk, as well.”

“Nash can make a reasonable claim to have one of the first true muscle cars, the Rambler Rebel … Nash was the first American company to build (compact cars) in real quantity, and the way it built them presaged the modern, very international auto industry … That’s a lot of pretty important firsts for a dead car company, and most of these highly influential things are all under the skin or behind the scenes. It’s easy to forget about Nash, but once you really start digging into how cars are built today, you see their fingerprints all over the place.”

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