Rides from the Readers: 1938 Nash LaFayette sedan
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to us at the above email.
Today’s featured car is a 1938 Nash LaFayette sedan. We’ve talked about a single nameplate leading many different lives, and “LaFayette” is one more. Originally, LaFayette was a luxury automaker headquartered in Indianapolis in the early 1920s. (And yes, Revolutionary War buffs, the automaker did take its name from the famous Marquis. Each car came with a cameo of the French officer, complete with powder wig and epaulettes.) In 1924, however, Nash Motors bought out LaFayette and co-opted its machinery to manufacture the Ajax (later, the Light Six). The LaFayette name floated without a home for a while, until Nash resurrected it—not for a luxury car, but to designate its lowest-budget offering in the late ’30s. While the sleek lines of these cars have attracted some hotrodders and custom builders, the Nash LaFayette in question remains lovingly unmodified.
This particular LaFayette sedan belongs to Clarence Becker, who, together with his family, painstakingly restored this grand old beast in his garage. The finished product is a tribute to their time and effort—and to the many ways cars can bring people together.