The 1956 Rambler Hudson Rambler Custom Sedan, part of the 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons line
1956 Rambler Hudson Custom sedan

The 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons were the first of the bigger, square-lined Ramblers from the new American Motors Corporation begat by the 1954 Nash/Hudson merger. They featured unit construction, per Nash tradition, on the 108-inch-wheelbase platform introduced with the first four-door Ramblers of 1954. Power was provided by an updated version of Nash's veteran small six as standard.

Neat, if boxy, the new styling featured Rambler's first wrapped windshield and stepped "basket handle" rear roof. Tri-tone paint could be ordered to dress up top-drawer Customs. The Rambler Hardtop & Sedans were strictly four-doors in these years, as the familiar 100-inch two-doors were dropped after 1955 (only to be revived as 1958 Rambler Americans).

Choices were pillared sedans and Cross Country wagons in Deluxe, Super, and Custom trim, plus a Custom hardtop sedan. All reappeared for 1957, but the Custom wagon became a hardtop, plus a nifty small V-8 arrived at extra cost, and minor trim changes included a stylized "R" hood logo in place of Nash and Hudson badges.

The Custom wagon signaled Rambler's new status as a separate make -- and the end of Nash and Hudson after 1957. Though 1957's V-8 Rebel hardtop sedan remains more collectible than these models, pillarless Customs were more numerous to begin with and are thus cheaper today.

Note, too, that the 1957 Super four-door hardtop is probably as rare now as that Rebel. The factory "continental kit" exterior spare tire is an option worth looking for on the hardtops.

Pluses of the 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons:

  • Cheap to buy, restore, and run
  • Comparatively scarce
  • Fine club support
  • Interesting, overlooked mid-1950s hardtops
  • Sixes thrifty
  • V-8s pretty lively

Minuses of the 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons:

  • Relatively low value appreciation potential
  • Rust-prone, so not that many around now

Production of the 1956 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons*:
79,166

Production of the 1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons*:
91,469

* All models; breakdown not available

Specifications of the 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons:
Wheelbase, inches: 108.0
Length, inches:
191.1 (198.9 w/continental kit)
Weight, pounds: 2,936-3,392

Price, new
: $2,208-$2,630 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1956-1957 Rambler Hardtop Sedans & Wagons:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv I-6
195.6 cid
120/135
1956-1957
ohv V-8
250.0 cid
190
1957

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