1955 Nash Rambler wagon spotted on California street

(March 4, 2014) A well-maintained 1955 Nash Rambler wagon was spotted on a Weaverville, Calif., street by Abandoned Cars contributing photographer Jerry Brown. The model year can be determined because 1955 was the first year the Rambler came with open front wheel wells.

The compact-sized Nash Rambler was a good idea when it was conceived in the late '40s hitting the market in 1950. The Rambler has been acknowledged to be the first successful modern American compact car.

The Rambler was designed to be smaller than contemporary cars, yet still accommodate five passengers comfortably.

A particularly user-friendly design was the station wagon, which perhaps can be called the forerunner to the modern hatchback. It was introduced in two-door format for the 1951 model year.

Tom McCahill of Mechanix Illustrated tested a 1950 Rambler from 0 to 60 in 17 seconds with an estimated top speed of 85 mph. Slow by today's standards, but it returned excellent fuel economy for the time able to get as much as 30 mpg in steady cruising and 25 mpg in mixed driving.

The two-door wagon, riding a 100-inch wheelbase and stretching 176 inches in length (compact size by today's standards), was made from 1951 through 1955. A four-door wagon was also added to the mix. Size of the inline 6-cylinder engine was increased to 3.2-liters and 195.6 cubic inches in 1955 and came in either 90 or 100 horsepower formats.

In its last year of production before a complete redesign by AMC in 1956, 2,379 copies of the two-door 1955 wagon and 12,023 of the four-door were sold. Purchase price of the two-door was $1,771.

Hudson and Nash combined to form American Motors in 1954.