Introduced in 1950, the Nash Rambler was designed to be much smaller than other contemporary vehicles, while still able to accommodate five passengers easily and comfortably. Produced by the Nash Motors division of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation for six years only, the Rambler was responsible for establishing a new segment in the automotive market. Widely considered to be the original modern American compact vehicle, the Nash Rambler was orginally going to be called the Nash Diplomat. Dodge had already reserved the Diplomat name for a two-door hardtop body style, so the Rambler name was resurrected instead.
Introduced during the 1950 model year, the Nash Rambler was the entry model for the low-price segment that had been dominated by models from Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth. Riding on a 100' wheelbase, the new model was designed to be smaller in dimension, and lighter in weight than the other popular cars of the time. Nash was able to save on materials in its productions and owners would have better fuel economy by keeping the vehicle smaller. Producing 82 hp, the Rambler's power came from a 173 in³ L-head 6-cylinder engine.
The 'landau' was the designation for the up-maret two-door convertible new Rambler. The Rambler was attempting to gain a positive public image, rather than being seen as an inexpensive little vehicle. The Nash Rambler was equipped with various features that included wheel covers, electric clock, pushbutton radio and whitewall tires.
The Rambler was compact, and the design had a rounded form with an envelop body that enclosed the front wheels. Fortunately thedesign did not impair the vehicles cornering abilities. The Nash Rambler kept the fixed roof structure above the vehicles doors and rear side window frames unlike the traditional convertible of that time period that used frame-free windows. The retractable canvas top used this metal structure as the side rails or guides. The body of the vehicle was considered to be rigid for an open top vehicle, though this design did allow Nash to use its monocque unibody construction on its new compact.
The Rambler line was enhanced to include the Country Club in 1951, a two-door station wagon and a two door hardtop. It wasn't until 1953 that the Nash Rambler received it's first significant restyling which included an all-new ‘Airflyte' styling that the ‘senior' Nash models had received the previous year. Also in this year, a new two-door sedan was added to the lineup.
In 1954 the Cross Country was added to the line-up, which included a four-door station wagon and four-door sedan. The Cross Country rode on a 108' wheelbase, and during the following year, the traditional front wheel wells were open and exposed.
The Hudson Motor Car Company merged with Nash in 1954, with the successor being the American Motors Corpoation.Soon after the merge, Ramblers were badged as Hudson brand cars. Nash Ramblers and Hudson Ramblers were virtually identical, except fo the brand name and some minor brand badging.
A all-new Rambler was introduced in 1956 by American Motors which featured an increase in the overall length of the vehicle, though still riding on the same 108' (2743mm) wheelbase. Ramblers now only were sold as four-door models, alongside four-door sedans, station wagon, and a new four-door hardtop sedan. A new four-door hardtop station wagon was featured in 1956, an industry first.
The Rambler was no longer branded as either a Nash or Hudson in 1957, but simply as a Rambler in it's own right. A 250-cid V8 engine was finally made available in Ramblers for the first time in 1957. Also, new for this year only was a unique high-performance four-door hardtop sedan model that was named the Rambler Rebel. The Rebel was fitted with AMC's new 327-cid V8 engine which was also used the larger Nash Ambassador and the Hudson Hornet earlier that year.By Jessica Donaldson