Saturday, September 6, 2014

Being chauffeured round in a unique car

As I wrote in the previous post Torre Grunnar had another surprise in store. He knows a man with a classic car! But not just any classic car. This man owns a Nash from 1930. A Nash of which there are only 3 left in the world, and only 1 of those is in drivable condition; this one! 'I'll ask him if we can have a look at it and if he's in a good mood we might' Torre Grunnar said. The owner of the car, Arne, had other ideas. He came to pick us up for a ride in his Nash…! We were chauffeured around a Norwegian fjord in a Nash from the 1930s of which there are only 3 left in the world… Was that an experience? You bet! I love old stuff and this was about as good as it gets!

Seeing Arne arrive in his Nash is quite a sight to see. This car is seriously big! Arne had donned the typical period chauffeur-hat and invited us to come along for a ride! I had never in my life been in a car as old as this one, needless to say the drive along one of the beautiful Norwegian fjords was an unbelievable experience! Jeanette said later that it was quite cold, but I hadn't noticed that at all…! He drove back to the campground too so that we could take photos of the Nash in front of our bikes and tent and were then chauffeured to the garage where the Nash is parked for 'some' more history on the car.

The history of Arne's Nash is nothing short of incredible. The Nash was bought new by Arne's father who used it as a taxi for many years. With the introduction of privately owned cars in Norway the Nash became used less and less and ended up in a field near the transport business his father had setup. Fast forward to the 1970s and a technology student knocks on the door, asking if he could restore the Nash… Arne's dad agreed and gave the Nash away. The student, who's name escaped me, restored the car over the next 40 years…! Don't think for a minute though that he took his time and only worked occasionally on it. He worked on it every night! 

Twin spark in 1930!
He also collected information from all over the world. Arne's binders about the car's history shows photos of the actual car being on display at the 1930 motor show in Norway. There are technical drawings, made by the restorer, that show each and every part used in the Nash in complete detail. The list of parts that had to be hand made is long… very long! Restoring a car of which there are only 3 in the world is daunting to say the least. Add to that absolute perfection in every detail and the realisation that you can't buy anything for a car like this... and you get 40 years of hard work and dedication that is unheard of. Arne was able to buy the car back from him in 2012 and with it came a detailed manual about all the work that had been done. Looking at it is mind boggling… The dedication and perfection shines in every detail. He made technical drawings of which he made moulds so that he could cast the rubber blocks on the brake and clutch pedals for instance. He made a new radiator cap by hand, which is not only a very complex construction but also extremely detailed. 

Everywhere you look this car is just unbelievable. Mind you the Nash factory had some peculiar design quirks too. Like a thermostat that is fitted to the radiator and doesn't restrict the flow of the coolant but opens and closes a series of louvre doors in front of the radiator. It was advanced for its time too. How about a 6 cylinder with twin plug heads in 1930! Or overhead valves when side valves were still the norm. It's such a great piece of history.

Being able to see this car is already amazing, being chauffeured around in it an absolute treat. Being then able to see how the car came into the state it's in now is just magic. When Arne bought the Nash back in 2012 it was far from finished. He still had rust repairs, chrome and the interior to do. All of which was done by Arne himself and in perfection.

Arne's next project is one of the early buses his father used to operate. We've seen it… it's a great vehicle and one I would love to work on too, but it is a lot of work as well!