HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1959 Rambler American modernized as a retro-mod

Pick of the Day: 1959 Rambler American modernized as a retro-mod

The shapely compact was built by an engineer on the chassis of a Chevy truck


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.”  

rambler, Pick of the Day: 1959 Rambler American modernized as a retro-mod, ClassicCars.com Journal

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.

rambler, Pick of the Day: 1959 Rambler American modernized as a retro-mod, ClassicCars.com Journal

“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

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I want to trade a 1978 450SL Mercedes Benz for the Rambler. The Benz has 84,000 original miles and is in show case condition. I will send you pictures when necessary.

  2. What a sharp car…I tell you the older simpler basic cars have such a flare…and seem to be even more special after all these years…Thanks for posting the American Rambler

  3. I don’t think I have ever seen a 1959 Rambler before. It’s not a car you see every several months, let alone years! I would imagine the horse-power/weight makes this little car want to get up and go. Fresh example of a rare car. Thanks for sharing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts