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Downing Nash: New and Used Automobiles – Sales and Service

Today’s photo takes us to Atlanta, Georgia for a view of the front and left-hand side of the Downing Nash Inc. building and used car lot. The image according to the source was taken in April of 1957, which was the last year that Nash, an automaker located in Kenosha, Wisconsin was in production since its start in 1916.

The three-story Downing building was set up with the showroom on the first floor and the service department and possibly a body shop located on the second and third floors. It appears the dealership may have been situated on “automobile row” in Atlanta because another new car agency selling BMW, Austin-Healey, Mercedes, and Jaguar cars is visible in on the right-hand side of the image below.

Share with us what you find of interest in this picture, or any information known about Downing Nash. The press photograph is via the Georgia State University Library.

21 responses to “Downing Nash: New and Used Automobiles – Sales and Service

  1. Its interesting to note the other makes people had presumably traded in for a final-year Nash. Of course, they didn’t know that was the final year…

  2. Looks more like a storage lot than a sales lot. Maybe sales have been so strong, there’s no place to park the trades.

  3. In the lead picture, on the far left, is a light colored 1955 PACKARD Clipper surrounded by a pack of NASH automobiles [one a ’55 HUDSON] !!

  4. The Nash dealership photos are interesting because they show cars that one doesn’t often see in a parking lot of that era. This is what I think I see:

    First picture at the curb from left to right:
    1. 1955 Ford Fairlane Fordor
    2. 1954 Ford Mainline Tudor
    3. 1952 Buick
    4. 1956 Ford Mainline Tudor
    5. 1951 Ford
    Second picture
    1. Left row from front to back
    a. 1953 Nash Ambassador
    b. 1955 Nash Statesman
    c. 1953 Nash Ambassador
    2. Next row
    a. 1954 Mercury
    b. 1955 Nash Ambassador
    c. 1955 Packard Clipper
    3. Next row
    a. 1952 Cadillac
    b. 1953 Chevrolet 210
    c. 1956 Nash Ambassador
    4. Next row against the building
    a. 1953 Dodge Coronet
    b. 1953? Studebaker
    c. 1951 Nash Statesman
    5. Against the wall
    a. 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk
    b. 1956 Nash Ambassador
    c. 1955 Studebaker maybe a Commander
    d. 1953 Dodge Coronet
    e. 1953 Nash Rambler
    f. 1954? Studebaker Commander
    g. 1951 Nash Statesman
    h. 1951 Studebaker
    i. Willys Jeep Wagon

  5. Great pictures! On the used car lot I see five Studebakers among a lot of other very interesting cars. There is a ’56 Hawk street side. Two cars down is a ’55 four door sedan. Beyond what seems to be an office for the used car lot there is a ’53, ’54 or ’55 Studebaker coupe. Next to it is a ’54 hardtop. Beyond the Jeep at the corner of the building is what looks to be a ’52. Possibly a Land Cruiser.

  6. The photo of the front of the showroom is interesting, the cars parked on the street are parked almost too perfect, likely most of those cars didn’t have power steering, not an easy task to park them. I’m wondering if the photo was staged?

  7. I like the boxed parking spaces in front of the three story building. Maybe if we had these today, drivers would park more in the middle of the parking space. This would then make it easier for other drivers trying to enter or exit their own parking spaces. It obviously takes more time and paint to make spaces like this, but it sure would make parking better for everyone.

    • I don’t think its a trade, Richard. Its probably the salemans car. Its the only one with an easy exit at the end of the day. Of course, if the Cadillac just happens to catch someone’s eye, everything is for sale!!

  8. The block with the three-story Nash building, the one-story import showroom (and perhaps the used-car lot?) is gone, but the three-story (now with four) building beyond it still stands. Downing Nash was at 486 Peachtree. Enter “501 West Peachtree” into instantstreetview for that view.

    The Studebaker could be a Land Cruiser — if you can see a rear door vent window. I can’t.

    • Roadmaster,

      Good eye !!

      Enlarged the picture and can faintly see the chrome between the door’s vertical and vent windows on the 1952 STUDEBAKER, thus being a Land Cruiser.


      • Another interesting bit of trivia (which may be interesting only to Studebaker fans, some of which there seem to be here!) is the “wheelbase dance” done by the new 1947-1952 Studes.

        From ’47 through ’49, 112″ for Champ, 119″ for Commander and 123″ for LC; in ’50, 113″ Champ, 120″ Commander and 124″ LC; in ’51-’52, 115″ all but LC — which now would be on a 119″ wb.

        1951 was the first year for the [232.6 CID] V-8, so, as they say, “Interesting.”

  9. This is almost certainly the family business of the father of later noted racer Jim Downing, who is the co- inventor of the HANS device. The Downing family was active the the car business in the Atlanta area for many years.

    • Seems like I remember a rumor that in the mid-to-late-sixties Mr. Downing was selling used sports cars there that he had painted with “candy-apple” colors. I heard that from a secetary at Baker Motors on Peachtree in Buckhead . Maybe Jim downing, now with his shop across from the MARTA station on Old Peachtree, across from the end of the Dekalb-Peachtree airport, can provide information about his Dad’s car business in downtown Atlanta. I rode that MARTA train to Ga State Univ. many times over the years and always sat on the left side of the train (inbound) just to see all of the race cars & other stuff he had in his back yard; even went there once contemplating the purchase of his IMSA BFG Radial Sedan Mazda Rx-2 for a rally car but couldn’t afford it at the time. Ending up buying an RX-3 and ran it with MAZMEDICS sponsorship and Mickey Hartnett as my navigator. We had a blast!

  10. Minor correction but 1957 was actually just the last year that the Nash name was used (on domestic models). When Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 the American Motors Corporation was formed and continued to market vehicles under both brand names through the 1957 model year. AMC was the last independent US auto manufacturer and continued in business until being bought by Chrysler in the summer of 1987.

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