1929 Nash Part 1

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1929 Nash a.k.a. ‘The Fish Truck’  

Part One


In some places not all the rusting hulks of old cars are junk.  When the oxide pile in question is rare or a historically significant model the term junk is appropriately replaced by the phrase “Yard Art” (be aware that not all zoning enforcement personnel acknowledge the Yard Art status).  Whether it was Yard Art or rust pile the seed for this project caught Norm’s eye (many doctors recommend annual eye examinations) in a Huntsville front yard.  Norm’s friend Jim was not keen on parting with this vehicle.  We’ll call it a vehicle but the Arkansas department of revenue must have had a tough time with the Nash because after years as a motor vehicle it had become a wood storage facility. Car or outbuilding, either way they probably figure that taxes are taxes.  After a year of inquiry by Norm, Jim told him, “If anyone should have this car you should.”   Hmmmm.  There was some haggling over the price of art.  Norm made an offer that was immediately rejected by Jim.  Jim explained that the Nash was worth about half of what Norm wanted to pay.  Being the agreeable person that he is, Norm reduced the offer by half and the project began.  

Always remember, start with the BEST project car you can afford.





There was no floundering on Norm’s part.  From the moment he saw the Nash he knew it had to be “Grabowski’s Kinda Fresh Fish” truck.  “Kinda Fresh Fish” might be similar to being “Kinda Pregnant”.  Everything works itself out in the end though.  Norm will be quick to tell you about the truck “he is building” but Dale of Dale’s Street Rods is the one who has a higher hand soap bill now that this project is in the home stretch.  Dale has had to fabricate the majority of the pieces that existed only in Norm’s imagination.  Fortunately, Dale is capable of creating what Norm dreams.  




Norm did enlist some of the best support before handing the project to Dale.  Mel Locke built a ’94 Corvette engine with a 700R4 transmission for the truck.  He and his wife even delivered it.  It was only one state away.  Nothing beats having a new/detailed engine next to a project to give it a little adrenalin boost.



Curt at Hamilton Automotive Industries came up with the "WHOA" to compliment Mel's "GO".  Hamilton reworked spindles and refurbished  a disc brake assembly.  He then shipped it all from his Van Nuys facility.  Curt is an experienced rod builder so even from across the country the pieces fit without the aid of a five pound persuader.


Bob at Owens Salvage in Wellington, Texas provided a Nine Inch differential assembly and early style rams horns for the exhaust.  Fortunately for Norm, Bob knows every inch of a hot rod so it was easy to communicate the project's needs and receive the appropriate parts in a hurry.  


Nash gets credit for the cab, frame and grill shell but  Pete and Jakes gets the credit for turning yard art back into a vehicle.  Too often quality, value and schedule try to pull a project in different directions.  For the Fish Truck the decision was simple because Pete and Jakes was the answer on all three fronts.  They created the foundation for this truck by setting up the front and rear suspension and providing the steering gear.  Without a sound, well engineered suspension system a project like this could never be right.  This one is right.


Once back from Pete and Jakes, Dale turned the roller back into a truck.  Starting with nothing he built a tubing support structure followed by a steel skin.  The cab’s doors were technically skins.  They became doors after many hours of Dale’s efforts. 



Norm asked Razorback Rides to create an appropriate logo.  Classic Instruments added it to a new set of their gauges.  No one is sure what kinda fish it was but the Grabowski skull influence definitely comes across.





During a trip to England Norm and friend, Chuck Vranas, spotted a cast bronze fish.  Chuck presented the fish to Norm as one of the early components of the Nash.  Good for the project but more work for Jimmy Meyers.


Jimmy Meyers at Technical Fabrication Machining, Inc. created a fantastic radiator and grill assembly (grilled fish?).  This is another example of parts almost too pretty to allow out of the living room.  Norm sent the shell, a fish and a separate set of cast wings to Jimmy.  The 6061 aluminum grill bars required five mill set-ups due to the multiple radius cuts.  The fish locks in place for driving but swings out of the way to allow the hood to be opened.  If details make the difference then this is very very different.  Norm was not surprised when the parts arrived, “Jimmy always comes through with this kinda quality.”  A tough audience indeed. 


Ample use of Lizard Skin products will ensure passenger comfort and maximize the efficiency of the A/C unit.  It is so easy to apply that even a Norm-man can do it.  No telling how a therapist would fair.  


Hot Rod Air’s heat and air conditioning system is a very welcome addition to this project.  A first class and complete assembly. The controls are simple and small allowing for very clean appearance in the cab.  Between the Lizard Skin and this A/C unit the truck will be a very pleasant place to be on hot and slow cruises.  Cowl vents are nice but Hot Rod Air is COOL. 


You've made it to the end of part one of the Fish Truck story.  Whether you read every word or just looked at the pictures we appreciate your visit.  Be aware that Norm may surprise you with a "pop quiz" the next time you see him at an event.  You've been warned.

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