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Old 08-23-2009, 09:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Front Wheel Skirts; 1950 Nash Ambassador

Front wheel skirts are a recurring theme, The 1947 SAAB has seen
considerable exposure here. As a review, these pictures:

http://photo.netcarshow.com/Saab-UrS...7_photo_07.jpg

http://photo.netcarshow.com/Saab-UrS...7_photo_06.jpg

http://photo.netcarshow.com/Saab-UrS...7_photo_02.jpg

Not getting any exposure is a parallel American effort, the 1950 Nash
Ambassador. The Nash company made both cars and refrigerators, the
Kelvinator. Some pictures:

http://www.plan59.com/images/JPGs/nash_1951_red_00.jpg

http://www.nashnut.com/archives/1950nashambsuper2.jpg

Whoa! On the one hand a sleek, svelte, sexy iconic car that justifiably
deserves a place in automotive history. On the other, a... well, a ...
an over-sized recumbent refrigerator.

As ungainly as the Ambassador appears, I see faint allusions to my favorite-
most commercially unsuccessful car of all times, Buckminster Fuller's
"Dymaxion Car," in its rear end treatment:

http://www.washedashore.com/projects...dworld/e50.jpg

At least in contemporary use, "wheel skirts" denote wheel coverings
separate from, but attaching to, the body work. In the cases above, the
wheel coverings front and rear appear to be an integral part of the
bodywork itself and cannot be removed. Perhaps it would be better to call
this arrangement "wheel enclosing bodywork."

Interestingly, wheel skirts were originally called "wheel pants." I wonder
why/when the male/female association about-face occurred. IIRC, in
Australia and New Zealand wheel skirts are called "spats," retaining to this
day a male association.


Last edited by Rokeby; 08-23-2009 at 11:00 PM..
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How did the Nash steer?
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Essentially, the Nash had the same layout as the SAAB; wide bodywork and
narrow track:

http://photo.netcarshow.com/Saab-UrS...7_photo_02.jpg

The wheels were inset far enough from the fixed bodywork that they turned
side to side without contacting it.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokeby View Post
Essentially, the Nash had the same layout as the SAAB; wide bodywork and
narrow track:

http://photo.netcarshow.com/Saab-UrS...7_photo_02.jpg

The wheels were inset far enough from the fixed bodywork that they turned
side to side without contacting it.
Looks much less extreme in the pic
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokeby View Post
...I see faint allusions to my favorite-most commercially unsuccessful car of all times, Buckminster Fuller's "Dymaxion Car," in its rear end treatment:
Though that general shape of rear end was common in late '40s - early '50s cars. Copied from the Dymaxion, or just a cultural thing like tailfins?
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe they have huuuuuge turning circles?

I know someone that's into them. I should ask him about it.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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if you take a car and turn the wheels to maximum lock you can see how much the body needs to be widened/wheels moved inward to cover them... imagine a little bit of both and keep in mind that tires are round so they will only stick out a lot at axle height... it suddenly looks all quite doable i think

found some figures here for the 1957 ambassador

Code:
Wheelbase 	3080 mm 	121.3 in 	
Track 	 
front 	                        1499 mm 	59 in 	
rear 	                        1537 mm 	60.5 in 	
Length                    	5315 mm 	209.3 in 	
Width                           1981 mm 	78 in 	
Height                          1588 mm 	62.5 in 	
Length:wheelbase ratio 	                          1.73

Last edited by lunarhighway; 08-25-2009 at 06:54 AM..
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Makes me think of the damned E-Type Jag—turning circle of an ocean liner and the goofy narrow stance of a dork trying to dance on tip toes. And the long nose that lost the sensual feminine curves of its gorgeous D-Type/XKSS predecessor always reminded me of a penis. God, I hate those cars! Even before the rear subframe nearly crushed my head.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokeby View Post
Interestingly, wheel skirts were originally called "wheel pants." I wonder why/when the male/female association about-face occurred.
I've wondered the same thing.

The distinction I'd noticed (and use - whether "right" or not) is that "pants" are coverings that fulle enclose both sides of a wheel/tire, a la Aptera, or some aircraft wheel fairings:





Whereas skirts are a cover across an existing wheel well opening.

I've also noticed that some people call them fender skirts (as opposed to wheel skirts). But I've never heard "fender pants"
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Airflite

I ran across an Airflite in 1997 in Marfa,Texas.Last year,a fella in the Denton,TX area was offering a running car,complete,for $5,500 U.S..They show up at local car shows.My parents had a Nash,I was too young to be aware of things automotive,don't remember what model.Fun images thanks!

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