Extraordinarily rare 1920 Nash Model 685 4-Passenger Coupe. 1 of 1 known. This exceptional motorcar has been painstakingly restored and is truly a treasure. Bought new and owned by the same family for 91 years! This is perhaps one on the longest periods of automobile ownership in history and the car tells a wonderful story of a father and then his daughter and her family who preserved the car for nearly a century. This 1920 Nash 685 Coupe with serial number 168549 was purchased new by Arthur Stanley Little of New London, New Hampshire. Little worked as the general manager of Kearsage Telephone Company, with main offices in nearby Salisbury, New Hampshire. Founded in 1899, Kearsage Telephone was responsible for installing and maintaining the first phone system in the region, and became a thriving enterprise. Little's father, Thomas, served as the treasurer of the company in the early days and brought his son into the business. By 1920, Little was a key leader in the business. When it came time for the Company to purchase a car for the business, Little travelled to the state capital, Concord, and visited the F.W. Sanborn dealership, the only Nash dealer in central New Hampshire. Little purchased the car and it was put into service by the telephone company to inspect and maintain telephone lines. An employee of the company named Ed Carter was known to have been its primary driver. The only modification made to the car was the removal of the folding auxiliary seat up front, which allowed for room for telephone company tools and equipment. Despite being a utility company car, it appeared to have been treated exceptionally well. With only 30,000 miles on the odometer, the car was retired from service, probably sometime in the late 20s or early 30s. Obsolescence surely hastened its retirement, as no evidence of mechanical failure was found during the extensive restoration. Interestingly, Little opened a Nash dealership of his own, sometime in the late '20s, which was located adjacent to the phone company offices in New London. One can't help but speculate that he was so impressed with the quality and dependability of this particular car that Nash was the natural choice when starting his new business. Although it is unknown if Arthur Little initially purchased the Nash for his own use or if it was bought with the phone company specifically in mind, it almost certainly entered company service at an early date. Utilized for the inspection and maintenance of telephone lines, the Nash served in this capacity for several years. Arthur Little obviously felt a degree of attachment to the car, and decided to hold on to it after its days of service were over. The Nash was subsequently parked in the company storehouse in Salisbury, were it remained through an inevitable period of having little value and even less interest. Even more fortunate is that it somehow survived the scrap metal drives of World War II, a time when innumerable early vehicles met their end. The Nash sat undisturbed until May 15, 1949, when a fast-moving fire broke out in the center of town. The buildings of the phone company were quickly set ablaze, but the switchboard operator bravely remained at her station to summon help. the storehouse where the Nash was kept became engulfed as well, and flames spread rapidly to the car. The right side door was apparently left open, allowing the door upholstery to catch fire, and the tires smoldered. Drops of tar rained down overhead, covering the body with splatter and flaming debris destroyed the car's roof. Intense heat shattered the glass along the right side, and the once beautiful lacquer paint blistered and cracked. The Nash's fate would have been sealed, had it not been for a few quick-thinking employees who rolled the burning car out and away from the building. Although they managed to extinguish the flames before any further damage resulted, the building itself could not be saved and burned to the ground. Five surrounding towns sent crews to battle the blaze, which was finally brought under control after three grueling hours. The supply of water was nearly exhausted by this time, and five buildings were ultimately destroyed. A total of $100,000 in property damage was estimated, but the Nash managed to survive largely intact. Incredibly, none of the wood body structure, running boards, or wheels had been damaged. Even the interior was mostly unscathed, save for the scorched upholstery of the right-side door. Although Arthur Little had passed away the year before, his daughter and her husband recognized the importance of saving the old car, and brought it to their home in central New Hampshire after the fire. The family made a few attempts at fixing it but never got very far with the project however, and it sat in there barn for the next 62 years, forgotten and buried amongst many other relics. Fortunately, the Nash remained out of weather and away from lethal moisture, with all of its parts nearby. In 2010, the orginal owner's daugher, with the help of her daughter, decided to begin disposing of the relics in the barn. The family put the car up for sale in the spring of 2011, and it was purchased by a well-known local mechanic and classic car collector. He and his wife removed the Nash from the barn where it had sat for so many years. and bolted the headlights and some of the other detached parts back on. Realizing, however, he had neither the time nor the motivation to properly restore the car in the midst of his many other projects, he actively searched for a buyer In August of 2011, a late-night phone call to a New Hampshire collector from one of his fellow AMC/Rambler Club members alerted him to the existence of the Nash and its need for an owner. Realizing at once its incredible condition and rarity, it was decided that space should be made at their home for such an unusual find. After considerable negotiation the Nash was delivered to the new owner, along with a spare engine and transmission from a 1923 Nash sourced in Massachusetts. A nearly 2 year restoration began and the car is a wonderful finished treasure that runs superbly now.
1920 Nash 685 Coupe--SOLD (Kentucky) - $0
|Paint||Very good midnight blue|
|VIN||Serial No. 168549. Motor No. 59297|
|Truck/Bed||Impressive original wood|
|Tires||Original 94 year old wooden tires in excellent condition|
|Upholstery||Very good overall, with some original elements|
|Door Panels||Very good|
|Floor||Reported to be original fabric laid over excellent original wood|
|Dashboard||Excellent, with America's first padded dash!|
|Steering Wheel||Excellent wood|
|Engine||Superb rebuilt original valve-in-head engine|
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