Monday, September 17, 2012

1959 Rambler Custom 4-door Sedan

"Rambler is first in sales gains because it gives buyers what they want – big car room, easy handling, top economy plus Personalized Comfort: Sectional sofa front seats for driver and passenger glide back and forth individually so each has the legroom he likes. See and try reclining seats, adjustable safety headrests, low cost All-Season Air Conditioning, every pushbutton convenience. Switch to the success sensation – the smart new Rambler for 1959."

In June 1959, the "Wall Street Journal" reported that American Motors had seized the third place in nationwide new-car sales. The "independent" company which had merely served a limited market segment with its Rambler, suddenly was a big player in the automotive industry. What had happened?

Well, overall sales numbers for 1959 corrected the picture slightly, as Rambler just scored 4th in the yearly statistics, closely trailing Plymouth. Yet, it was a more than decent result, if you consider that Rambler hadn't anything really new to sell in 1959. Since AMC President George W. Romney set off to his personal crusade against Detroit's "gas-guzzling dinosaurs" and strictly focused on "compact" cars, the lineup merely consisted of the "compact" Rambler and the just revived, even more compact Rambler American.

AMC's chief designer Ed Anderson and his team had facelifted the Rambler for 1958 with the obligatory "must have" details like quad headlights and high-rising tailfins. Compared to its predecessor and compared to Detroit's typical designs of the late 50s, the "new" Rambler looked pretty modern. Hence, for 1959, just a few details got changed. Still, the sales nearly doubled, because customers, pounded by a sharp economic recession, now desired compact and thrifty cars. Rambler and Studebaker could capitalize on the fact that the "Big Three" had completely missed the boat and couldn't really compete in this exploding market until their own compact cars were ready to hit the road in the early 60s.

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