Nils Erik Wahlberg

Many engineers built the American automotive industry from the very beginning, but some names stood out over the course of history. Unfortunately, most of the car enthusiasts rarely pay attention to the people behind their favorite vehicle.

Thus brilliant minds such as Nils Erik Wahlberg remain in the shade, until some key event turns the media attention to their life and work.

Nils was born in 1885 in eastern Finland in a large family. Fascinated by sailing, young Wahlberg entered the Polytechnic Institute of Helsinki to study engineering.

When the whole country faced political turmoil created by the Russian Tsar Nicholas II, he chose to escape to Switzerland and continued his studies at the Ecole Polytechnic. There he specialized in engineering gasoline engine, but focused mainly on marine machines.

In 1909, Nils Erik Wahlberg came to the United States to work for Wahlberg Waxwall-Tarrygtoun Poriscoe in New York. It was a beginning of a very interesting career in which he changed many employers among the car companies. Most prominent employers included the Packard Motor Company and ER Thomas Motor Company.

His hard work caught the eye of Charles W. Nash, who was the president of General Motors at the time. When Nash established the Nash Motors Company, he knew Nils Erik Wahlberg was the right man for the position of director of engineering.

In an attempt to create completely different vehicle, Wahlberg developed the first six cylinder engine with overhead valves capable of generating power of 67 horsepower. The engine was also special because all moving parts had protection from dirt and moisture. Nils designed many successful Nash models that carried the same solid engineering and a clean design.

In 1922, he helped the company to develop the first rubber motor mounts that drastically reduced vibration. The smooth ride was additional secured with four wheel braking system. Nils Wahlberg is responsible for many breakthroughs in the modern engine creation. He designed the engine dual ignition system, which greatly increased combustion efficiency and provided a significant power increase.

In 1930 a team of Nash engineers created the technologically advanced Nash eight cylinder engine. This innovation proved vital and Wahlberg was promoted to the vice president of engineering position. Associates loved his calm approach to work, personal style and appearance. His friends cherished his kind heart and generosity, clearly seen in the way he raised his two nephews.

During his years in Nash, Nils Wahlberg came up with a number of simple and effective solutions that provided him an advantage over the competition. As a fan of automotive steel bodies, he experimented with aerodynamic designs and many other innovations. These are the things we take for granted today, but in those days they were almost revolutionary.

In example, Nils Erik Wahlberg was the first to come up with integrated a heater with a fan as a means of controlling the internal temperature. He knew that by pressurizing the passenger compartment, dust and moisture issue was permanently resolved. After 36 years of making innovations at Nash Motors, Nils Wahlberg retired in 1952. He lived to see 91 years of age and witnessed the evolution of American automotive industry.

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