My wonderful wife and I watch A LOT of episodes of American Pickers. We are under no allusions that the show is a 100% accurate portrayal of how Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz “do their job.” (We know, for example, that Frank Fritz doesn’t really work for Antique Archaeology.) We strongly suspect that none (or almost none) of the picks are really not pre-arranged and the same for the “negotiations.” However, the vast array of items shown as well as the historical tidbits make the show interesting for us even after well over 200 episodes have been produced.
From curbsideclassic.com a picture of the Nash Airflyte that sits outside of the Antique Archaeology shop in LeClaire, Iowa. It is a 1950 Statesman Super.
Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to create American Motors. However, Nash was founded in 1916 by former General Motors President Charles Nash who acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company that had manufactured automobiles since 1902. In the late 1930s, Nash created the heating and ventilation system that is still used in cars today. Nash also introduced seat belts (in 1950) and the first US built compact car (also in 1950). The Jeffery Company was also an innovator producing the first reliable four-wheel drive truck (the Jeffery Quad) in 1913 that Nash kept producing until 1928.
As I have written many times (so many that regular readers are no doubt tired of reading it), fewer companies manufacturing cars means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering. In my opinion, it is not just dry history to remember these defunct companies.
Another picture from curbsideclassic.com shows a 1950 Nash Ambassador in much better condition than the car parked outside of Antique Archaeology. Apparently, George Mason, President of Nash-Kelvinator (Nash and Kelvinator Appliance Company merged in 1937) from just after the merger with Kelvinator (Mason had been with Kelvinator) to just after the merger with Hudson, had a thing for those front fender skirts. I can’t imagine they made for a good turning radius.
Mason strongly believed that the major independent automobile manufacturers would have to merge into one company in order to survive. The Nash-Hudson merger was, according to many automotive historians, the prelude to a merger that would have combined those two companies with Studebaker and Packard, who also merged in 1954. George Mason died not long after the creation of American Motors. His successor, George Romney (Mitt Romney’s father), had other ideas especially since he and Studebaker-Packard head James Nance did not get along at all. Destiny is overrated; if George Mason had lived to consummate the “grand” merger, who knows what the US auto industry would look like today?