Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Made in Wisconsin: Nash Motors

That's right, mirabile dictu, there was a time when Kenosha, Wisconsin was trying to give Detroit a run for its money!

I only know about the Nash because my father and mother were old car enthusiasts. In fact, they were founding members and oft-times presidents of the Madison Vintage Auto Club, which an internet search has just revealed is apparently still operating.

Nash Motors was founded in Kenosha, Wisconsin by Charles Nash in 1916 and produced cars until 1957 (the last three years were as a division of the American Motor Corporation). 

In 1950, Nash was the first car maker to add seat belts to its vehicles. (I'm old enough to remember that no one used them until the 80's when laws finally began to enforce their use.) 

My Mom and Dad each had a car to match their years of birth. My Dad's was a black 1939 Ford Coupe. My Mom's was a two-tone olive-green 1941 Nash Ambassador. I found a picture of one of the same color. It's not even impossible that this is her actual car, since they sold them for other models years before their passing.

Here's my Dad with all his kids beside one of his old cars. I have no idea on the year, make, or model of that vehicle. My Dad could see just the grill of a car and tell you everything about it.

Here I am, a little older, with my Dad and twin. I'm the one behind the wheel. It
must have been an automatic transmission, since I never did learn to drive a manual. My Dad could tell you what year was possible merely from that detail, since I'm sure he knew exactly which US car first featured an automatic option.

 My childhood memories are full of times when we rode these cars in holiday parades and threw candy to kids along the way. Good times...

Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA. He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.

Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies. His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets pulled into the world of international intrigue. 

Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.