The original Rambler was an automobile produced of the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin (United States) based automobile company. Rambler is also a brand of car that produced by the Nash Kelvinator Corporation and its successor, American Motors Corporation between 1950 and 1969.
Thomas B. Jeffery Company's Rambler.
Rambler was a name employed by Thomas B. Jeffery, a wagon maker in Kenosha, Wisconsin, originally as the name of a line of bicycles. In 1900 Jeffery decided to go into the new business of automobile manufacturing. He started building experimental autos that year. He started commercially mass-producing automobiles in 1902, and by the end of the year had produced 1,500 motorcars, one-sixth of all existing in the USA at the time.
Rambler introduced such early technical innovations as interchangeable wheels and spare tires. Ramblers were briefly marketed under the brand name Jeffery.
In 1916 Jeffery's firm was purchased by Charles W. Nash, and became part of Nash Motors. The Rambler brand name was dropped at the time of the merger and Jeffery assets were directed towards the manufacture of Nash brand automobiles.
Nash Rambler and AMC Rambler, 1950-1969.
Under the direction of Charlie Nash's successor George W. Mason, Nash Kelvinator Corporation began development of a small car that could be produced inexpensively. The product was to be named the Rambler, an homage to the earlier product produced by Nash's predessor. However steel shortages resulting from the Korean War conflict limited the availbility of steel for Nash, and so the product was reconfigured to be a small up-market sedan convertible, which was introduced in March 1950.
In 1954 American Motors was formed from the merger of Nash-Kelvinator and the Hudson Motor Car Company. Ramblers were then badged as Nash and Hudson brands, with no visible difference between the two. The Nash and Hudson makes were continued through 1957, after which all of AMC's firm's offerings were marketed as Ramblers, with the exception of the 1958 and 1959 Ambassador model.
In 1963, the entire Rambler line received the Motor Trend Car of the Year award. The Rambler name had acquired a stodgy image, however, and AMC began to phase it out in favour of an "AMC" marque beginning in 1966. Rambler made repeated attempts to enlarge its market niche, with performance cars such as the Rambler Marlin, AMC Javelin, and AMC AMX and luxury cars like the AMC Ambassador, but despite critical approval consumers seemed to consider Rambler only as a manufacturer of economy cars.
AMC continued to sell cars under the Rambler nameplate through 1969, after which it was dropped entirely in favour of the AMC marque in the U.S. and Canadian markets. The Rambler name continued well into the 1970s in international markets, including Mexico and Australia.
In Argentina, the Rambler American became the Renault Torino in 1967 and was offered until 1980.
In modern times the car is principally remembered from the novelty song Beep, Beep (The Little Nash Rambler) performed by The Playmates in 1958.
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