Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1959 Rambler American Station Wagon

„America demanded it! Rambler built it! The top-economy American-built station wagon. Seats 5 big people in roomy comfort  . . .  has lots of cargo space for their gear and luggage. You get more miles per gallon in a car that parks anywhere, has the shortest turning radius in America. The Rambler American is available with either fully automatic, standard or overdrive transmissions.“

It was truly opportune timing when AMC chairman George W. Romney decided to launch the retired Nash Rambler again as an „all-new“ car for 1958. We covered the development of the Rambler American here.

With the new Rambler American, AMC had a befitting answer to the changing demands of customers, who turned their attention to thrifty and economic cars in response to the recession of 1957-1958. The new breed of compact cars, offered by the "independents", soon sold like hotcakes and caught the "Big Three" and their prevalent "bigger-is-better" strategy completely by surprise.

While AMC's Rambler was positioned to offer customers an alternative to the American fullsize cars, the Rambler American should compete in the lowest price range against the increasing number of small import cars, and thus had to be really cheap. Yet, despite being poorly equipped, it sold well. Earlier spartan compact cars had failed miserably in the market, but austerity obviously wasn't an issue for Rambler American buyers. 30,640 Rambler American were sold in 1958. The sales numbers nearly tripled in 1959, when the station wagon was added to the lineup. This body style quickly became popular, accounting for more than a third of Rambler American sales. In Cuba, however, the station wagon remains a rare sight: here, the customers apparently thought and bought much more conservative.

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