The first-generation Rambler American, produced from 1958-1960, is a quaint-looking little 2-door coupe or wagon with a rounded body and surprisingly roomy interior. But created as an economy leader that was cheap to buy and sipped gas, the American is generally more fun to look at than it is to drive.
Customizers have taking notice, however, especially with the wagon models that are often turned into quirky street rods and show cars.
The Pick of the Day is a skillfully rendered 1959 Rambler American retro-mod that looks like an original car, aside from its custom wheels, but is built entirely on the chassis and drivetrain of a more-modern compact truck, with all the modern performance and amenities that entails.
“This is not your typical ‘59 Rambler,” according to the Hopedale, Massachusetts, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.
The Rambler was “built to high standards by a mechanical engineer,” the seller notes. “He started this build with a clean, rust-free West Coast automobile.”
The shapely coupe had been owned by the same Washington State family through 2017, the ad says, before the builder obtained it as the basis for his project. The result, which has been driven just 1,126 miles since completion, speaks for itself.
“This little car gets more thumbs up than any car we have,” the dealer says. “While driving this killer car is when you know an engineer built it, not some hack in his mom’s back yard. Everything works as it should.”
The Rambler body was mounted on a late-model Chevrolet truck platform, the seller says, with a rebuilt 4.3-liter V6 engine, 4-barrel carburetor, HEI distributor, 4L60 automatic transmission with electronic controls, power steering, power disc brakes, all-new wiring, 2-inch drop spindles, Vintage Air A/C and heat, trunk-mounted battery and 15-inch Torque Thrust wheels with radial tires.
The vintage-looking pale-green paint looks “stunning,” the seller says, with “awesome bright work and bumpers” with all-new seals, gaskets and weatherstripping. The Rambler’s interior has been nicely redone in its spartan original form, but with Omega speedometer and gauges and a Pioneer audio system.
“We have tons of restoration pics, manuals, receipts, instructions, schematics, etc.,” the seller says, adding that the Rambler goes down the road with absolutely no rattles or squeaks.
This Rambler American now drives just as great as it looks, the dealer adds, as a true retro-mod with classic styling but modern drivability and features. The asking price of $29,000 seems quite reasonable.
By the way, it would have been nice if the dealer had taken the Rambler outside for its photos so we could have seen what it looks like in sunlight with a natural setting.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.