Since the 1956 was all-new, the 1957 Rambler held few styling changes, although the front directional lamps were larger and some trim moldings were revised. The latter changed the two-tone paint pattern, which de-emphasized the Fashion Safety Arch.
The 1957 Rambler had the majority of its
changes under the hood.
Meanwhile, the standard six-cylinder engine now developed 125 horsepower, while a two-barrel option put out 135 horses. The big news, though, was the new extra-cost V-8 engine. A 250-cid mill, it cranked out 190 horses, fed by a two-barrel carb and utilizing dual exhausts as standard equipment.
Developed as part of Romney's program to replace the Packard V-8 used on the senior lines, the new engine allowed AMC to add a line of V-8 models to the existing Rambler line.
Even bigger news was a new specialty model. Called the Rebel, it used the four-door hardtop body -- AMC's sportiest style that year -- stuffed with AMC's new 327-cid V-8 developed for the senior lines.
The Rebel was intended to be a limited-issue high performance model and -- as originally planned -- was to offer Bendix "Electrojector" fuel injection. The "fuelie" Rebels were claimed to put out a whopping 288 horses, but reliability problems caused AMC to reconsider.
Of the 1,500 Rebels produced, it is generally believed that perhaps three or four were actually built with the injection system. The balance came with a four-barrel carburetor, enabling 255 bhp, still enough to launch the 3,353-pound Rebel into low earth orbit.
Tests by factory engineers in Detroit yielded 0-60 mph in just 7.3 seconds. All Rebels came painted light silver metallic with a unique gold side spear.
The biggest news for the 1957 Rambler, however, was that it no longer carried a Nash or Hudson nameplate. Per Romney's order, the Rambler would now be a make in its own right.Rambler sales began to pick up in the spring, building and growing in a sort of snowball effect. Romney was able to brag that Rambler sales in May and June exceeded any previous month. Sales of the senior cars, the last ones to wear the proud old Hudson and Nash emblems, sank like the proverbial stone, collapsing in the marketplace just as the Rambler was beginning its meteoric climb.
It may have been that the new car eclipsed the old ones, stealing the attention of salesmen. It might be that the buying public, sensing that the old names were fading away, decided not to purchase what might become orphans. More likely, it was both of those, and other influences coupled with tired styling, that killed off the old makes. But hardly anyone seemed to notice. The press was too busy singing, in near harmony, high praise for the new Rambler.
Rambler sales for fiscal 1957 (still October-September), improved. Total wholesale shipments to dealers came to 90,155 versus 75,147 in 1956. These were not large numbers, but they contained one very important fact: Rambler sales were up, not down. The senior line, on the other hand, was finished by the end of 1957.
The greater part of the Rambler sales improvement occurred in the latter part of the fiscal year, and for that reason it wasn't enough to prevent another financial loss on the books. AMC reported a net loss for 1957 of $11.8 million, its fourth straight year of red ink. But Romney knew that the company had turned the corner.
The press and the public were in agreement about the Rambler -- it was a winner. Ed Anderson's people came up with an inexpensive facelift for 1958, utilizing the same body, and the Rambler was poised for a successful run that would use the same basic bodyshell for another five years, setting sales and profit records along the way, and saving the corporation from the fate that befell the other independents.
See the next page for specifications for the 1965-1957 Rambler.
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