First Nash Ramblers

From the beginning, it was planned that the volume Nash Rambler model would be a budget-priced sedan. As a matter of fact, the first Nash Ramblers were six two-door sedans produced in 1950 as a test, then 50 more in 1951 (some of which may have gone to export markets), and one in 1952.

But, in the wake of World War II, parts and raw materials were still in too short supply to attempt to build cheap sedans in large numbers. Nash head George Mason, realizing that Rambler production was going to be less than hoped for, decided to concentrate on what he called "fringe" models -- the costlier body styles, such as convertibles, hardtops, and station wagons.

These would produce higher profits than plain sedans, helping to offset the restricted output, and in the case of the convertibles and wagons, were body types not offered in his larger cars.

A collateral effect was that this emphasis on higher-priced models served to enhance the Rambler's image. Since Ramblers came mostly as fancier models, they soon established a reputation as a very classy little car. As a result, this may have ended up being the most important aspect of Nash's product plan.

From its midseason introduction in March 1950, the Rambler won acclaim. By its third year on the market, however, the little car's appearance was in need of some reworking.

The original Rambler's styling reportedly evolved from work done earlier by Nash's then-consultant George Walker. Apparently, Walker's design had been altered somewhat by Nash engineers, ending up as the stubby but cute baby bathtub with which we're familiar today.

By 1952, though, the blunt, high-nose school of styling was going out of vogue and a sleeker, more modern look was Nash's new goal.

In the interval between the original design program and the restyle, Nash put together its own design staff. The head of Nash Styling was Edmund E. Anderson, formerly of General Motors. Anderson was Oldsmobile studio chief prior to World War II, and afterward settled in at Chevrolet.

To learn about Anderson's design process for the 1953 Nash Rambler, check out the next page.

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