1959 Rambler American

The 1959 Rambler American featured in this article was a product of the American Motors Corporation. The compact Rambler American was considered one of the lowest priced automobiles in the United States. This car model was manufactured from 1958 to 1969.

1959 Rambler American
1959 Rambler American

The 1959 Rambler American by all means was a compact car. It was among the first generation of the new American Motors Ramblers. The 1959 Rambler American was not really changed much at all from the 1958 model aside from some cosmetic touches.

Building the Compact Four Seater

American Motors Corporation understood that a lot of money was spent on smaller foreign imports during the 1950’s and one answer to that was their imported Metropolitan. The British built Metropolitan was a two seater and the Rambler American, while a small car, was a four seater.

The first idea from American Motors on where to start with the compact four seater was to make the imported Metropolitan into a four seat car but the extremely small wheelbase of the Met made that difficult. The small Metropolitan itself, the car that Lois Lane drove on TV’s old Superman television series, was produced until 1962.

Rambler American
Rambler American

The Rambler Name in History

The Rambler automobile actually first came upon the scene in 1900 produced by the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Chicago. This was the same company that manufactured the Rambler Bicycle. Charles Nash acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company when he left General Motors in 1919.

The Rambler name was then used again from 1950 to 1954 by Nash Motors and then was reintroduced in 1954 by the American Motors Corporation after the Hudson Motor Car merger with the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. This was one of the largest mergers up to that time, valued at about $200 million. When Nash produced the new Rambler in 1950 the car was very well received. The 1950 Nash Rambler cost about $1,800. About 11,500 Ramblers were built by Nash in 1950.

American Motors Corporation and Hudson Cars and Competition

As mentioned above, the creation of American Motors Corporation was one of the largest mergers up to that time.

Rambler American dashboard
Rambler American dashboard

After the merger the Hudson brand started to fade. Hudson’s problems were economic. The Hudson mid to high priced big cars which were their real sales strength suffered from lack of redesigning to keep up with the competition. The lack of adequate redesigning was due to their poor cash position in the early 1950’s.

The real problems of American Motors was it’s competition from the Big Three in Detroit. The recession that hit in 1957 made matters a bit worse. American Motors strategy turned to compact cars like the Rambler American. The company had the tooling in place from the earlier Nash models so the reintroduction of the Rambler was not near as costly as it could have been.

Rambler Becomes a Marquee Name

Starting in 1958 the Rambler became a marquee name itself where prior it had been models under both the Nash and Hudson brands. Many motorists who had a Rambler American would likely say that while the car was very plain, it ran good and was dependable with no major problems. The major selling points promoted by American Motors for the compact new Rambler were it’s low price, great fuel mileage and it’s relatively low maintenance costs. It was also touted as an alternative to foreign imports, in other words, a made in America car.

1959 Rambler interior
1959 Rambler interior

Rambler Models

The Rambler automobile models offered during the late 1950’s were the shorter wheelbase Rambler American, the 108.0 inch wheelbase Rambler Six and Rebel V-8 and the 117.0 inch Rambler Ambassador. Among the American models was a two door station wagon which was added in 1959. A four door station wagon was offered with the Rambler Six line. In all, there was a variety of eleven different Rambler models offered for the 1959 model year.

1959 Rambler American Specifications

The 1959 Rambler American came with a 195.6 cubic inch six cylinder L-head engine.The engine would deliver 90 horsepower with the car’s top speed at about 85 MPH.

The 1959 Rambler was a very close match to the 1955 Nash Rambler with it’s 100.0 inch wheelbase.

1959 Rambler American grille
1959 Rambler American grille

A three speed manual transmission was offered along with an automatic.

Both front and rear brakes were drum.

Changes in this model from the 1955 Nash included a new grille design, a larger rear window, rear wheel wells were cut out rather than skirted and the trunk lid was flattened. In general, the new generation of Ramblers were modernized a bit with more chrome and quad headlights. The 1959 Rambler was of the first generation. Second generation Ramblers would be introduced in 1960.

During 1959 a total of just over 91,000 Ramblers were produced. This included all models and was a big increase over 1958 numbers. The two door sedan models totaled about 30,000 units.

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1959 Rambler American
1959 Rambler American

Ramblers as Collector Cars

rambler automobiles are excellent collector automobiles and probably the most popular model is the V-8 powered Rambler Rebel. You might find the Rambler Rebel with a 250 cubic inch, 215 hp four barrel V8.

Recent asking prices for the 1959 Rambler American in excellent condition is in the $13,000 to $17,000 range. The 1959 Rambler Station Wagons are in the $19,000 to $28,000 range depending on original parts and degree of restoration. All of these prices are theoretical asking prices. As with all collector cars, what a final sales price is depends on the exact model and finding the right buyer.

The Ramblers also can be fun restoration projects. Non restored chassis and body’s in a variety of conditions are very possible to locate and at usually cheap prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)