The other new Rambler in 1954, the 1954 Nash Rambler Deluxe, was the low-priced volume model Nash head George Mason had envisioned years before.
A two-door club sedan, its baseline trim was anything but what the Deluxe name implied. Painted headlight rings replaced the chrome ones found on other Ramblers, and both windshield and rear window were framed in black rubber, not stainless steel.
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Though the Deluxe was the low-price model in 1954, Nash drew sales from four-doors like this Custom.
Overall, though, the Rambler Deluxe was the equal of any car from the "Low-priced Three." A price tag of just $1,550 (ah, the good old days!) made it the lowest-priced six-cylinder family sedan on the market. A two-door Super also joined the tine, but only 300 were built.
There was a change in equipment levels sometime after new-car announcement time, apparently occurring just about when the additional models joined the line.
Radios and the Weather Eye heating system were removed from the standard equipment list and became options. This allowed Nash to reduce prices somewhat, and wasn't at all unusual -- those items had always been optional on most other cars.
Air conditioning also became available, evidently sometime after new-car announcement time. A very sophisticated setup, it incorporated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in one system, a Nash exclusive. Priced lower than any other competing system, at $345, it was a remarkable advance.
Nash pitched a "Nash Challenge Deal" highlighting a Rambler Deluxe two-door sedan with air for just $1,895, an unbeatable bargain. Still, most buyers shied away from air-conditioned cars back then, regardless of who made them, and only 1,660 Ramblers were so equipped.
The year was one of turmoil. A Ford-Chevy sales war broke out, car prices were slashed in a bid for volume, and the independents took it on the chin in the showroom battle. Hudson went into a tailspin and ended up merging with Nash midyear, forming American Motors in the process.
In the end, the "Big Two" sold a lot of cars -- and the independents suffered for it. In spite of all the new models introduced, 1954 Rambler production totaled just 36,231. Of these, just 221 were ragtops.
The four-doors (including the Cross Country wagon) ended up being the salvation of hopes for Rambler, since they accounted for 20,982 units -- about 58 percent -- of the total built. Only 56 Deliveryman wagons were produced, plus exactly one four-door sedan in Deluxe trim, an evaluation model most likely.
To learn about changes for the 1955 Rambler, continue to the next page.
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