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1953-1955 Nash and Hudson Ramblers

1953 Nash Rambler Model Lineup

The 1953 Nash Rambler model lineup was mostly the same as the prior year's. Wagons included the Suburban, which came only in lower-level Super trim, and the Custom station wagon, which could also be had as a better-trimmed Greenbrier.

Ordinary Custom wagons came with a Di-Noc imitation woodgrain trim around the side windows, while the lush Greenbriers came with two-tone paint as standard.

1953 Nash Rambler Custom convertible
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The Nash Rambler Custom convertible enjoyed its final good year in 1953, when 3,284 were assembled.

The Rambler convertible, which still featured an electrically operated top that opened and closed like a roll-top desk on the fixed side-window frames, came only as a Custom model, as did the popular Country Club hardtop coupe.

At the bottom of the line was a basic Deliveryman wagon. Aimed at light-commercial users like florists and house painters, the Deliveryman had debuted in 1951, when 1,569 were produced. Another 1,248 were built for 1952.

However, for 1953 the Deliveryman was no longer listed in the regular catalog, and records indicate only nine were built (along with three basic Rambler Deluxe two-door sedans probably built for test purposes).

All Ramblers came with a higher-than-expected level of standard equipment. For 1953, the base price of Super models included both a radio and Nash's acclaimed "Weather Eye" heater-defroster.

To that, Customs added a deluxe steering wheel, fancier upholstery, foam seat cushions, directional signals, clock, courtesy lights, chrome wheel discs, and -- on convertibles and Country Club hardtops -- the Continental spare, all of which were very lavish by 1950s standards.

Like the big Nashes, Ramblers could be had with a voluptuous George Petty-designed hood ornament. Dashboards came in for attractive new styling, and interior trim was credited to "famed Parisian decorator" Madame Helene Rother.

Pricing reflected Rambler's premium models and standard equipment. Suburban station wagons started at $2,003, the Custom wagon was $2,119, the popular Country Club was tagged at $2,125, and the Convertible topped the line at $2,150.

These prices were just about what a stripped Statesman Super sold for, but the Statesman wasn't nearly so well equipped at that price. And, of course, the Statesman was a traditional family car; the Rambler was youthful, exciting, and different.

Optional for the first time on a Rambler was General Motors's excellent Dual-Range Hydra-Matic, a premium automatic transmission not usually offered on such cars back then. Also available was overdrive, plus the standard three-speed synchromesh.

Rambler buyers had two engine choices for 1953. Cars with manual transmissions got the new Super Flying Scot, a 184-cubic-inch L-head six that put out 85 horsepower, an improvement over the previous year's 172.6-cubic-inch, 82-horsepower version.

Cars equipped with Hydra-Matic got a 195.6-cubic-inch, 90-horsepower L-head engine, basically a depowered version of the Statesman six.

The new Ramblers, like all Nash-built cars since 1949, featured Airflyte construction, Nash's name for unibody design. As executive vice president George Romney explained it, "Rambler Airflyte body design replaces the separate frame weighing from 200 to 275 pounds. It also eliminates about 60 percent of the brackets needed to tie the older type body and frame
together. . . .

"Moreover, Airflyte construction practically doubles torsional rigidity of the integrated body-frame structure, improves spring suspension qualities and makes steering safer and more positive."

The auto market did an unanticipated about-face in the latter part of 1953. The seller's market ended abruptly, and a buyer's market took its place. Relaxation of government controls over raw materials, plus elimination of controls over car production, allowed Nash to increase the output of cars to near-capacity rates.

But, as management later explained, "It became apparent by mid-summer, however, that output was running in excess of current retail demand. Steps were taken immediately to correct the situation by stopping production for several weeks."

When, for the first time since the Rambler's introduction, there were no problems obtaining enough materials to build all the cars that Nash wanted to, sales demand began to wane. Only 31,790 1953 models were built, including just 3,284 of the once-popular convertibles. Something had to be done.

To learn about changes for the 1954 Nash Rambler, see the next page.

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