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Rambler History 1902-1969
For in depth Rambler History from Motor Trend / February 1963, click here


The Thomas B. Jeffery Company begins building one-cylinder Ramblers in a converted 19th-century bicycle plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. By 1914, the cars are quite sophisticated and luxurious. Jeffery dies in 1916 and the children rename the Ramblers, "Jeffrey's" in his honor.


Charles W. Nash leaves the presidency of Billy Durant's General Motors with the intention of taking over Packard. That deal falls through and Nash buys the Jeffery Company, which becomes Nash Motors. By 1928, he was making 138,169 cars each year. 


On January 4, Nash merges with the Kelvinator Corporation, makers of home appliances. Kelvinator President George Mason becomes president of Nash-Kelvinator and Nash is elected chairman of the board. 


Nash introduces the first "conditioned air" in its cars. 


Nash pioneers the single-unit, all-steel car body with the Nash 600. 


Nash reaches 9.7% of the market. 


Nash's Kenosha factory turns to building Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines under contract for Navy planes. 


Nash gets a jump on the other companies for postwar production, selling 6,148 cars. This makes the company, fleetingly, the #3 U.S. auto maker. 


Nash introduces the first compact car, a convertible Rambler. A Nash Ambassador finishes third in the Mexican Road Race. 


On May 1, the American Motors Corporation is formed through a merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company. On October 12 following George Mason's death, George Romney is named AMC chairman, president, and general manager. 


A limited-edition Rambler Rebel is made for the 1957 model year. It has the Nash-Hudson V-8 and many modern features and luxury amenities. One thousand cars are built. 


The Nash and Hudson nameplates are put to rest by the newly introduced 1958 models (Hudsons had been merely dressed-up Nash's since the 1955 model year and were known by some as "Hashes"). The Ambassador, basically a Rambler stretched from the windshield forward, is introduced for the 1958 model year. 


AMC, having concentrated on small car production since 1955, reaches 7.5% of the domestic auto market with 485,745 cars sold. The 1961 Ambassador is the last with a 117" wheelbase (from 1962-1964 it was a dressed-up Classic). 


Renault and AMC enter into an agreement to build Ramblers and Ambassadors in Belgium. IKA Renault exported Ramblers to Argentina from 1961-1967. 


Romney resigns in February to run for, and is elected, governor of Michigan. He is succeeded as AMC president by Roy Abernathy, who reintroduces luxury models -- a move some say helped lead to the company's downfall. 


3,922 "Mitey Mites," miniature jeeps for airborne transport, had been produced for the Marine Corps since 1960. AMC Classics and Ambassadors are named Motor Trend Car of the Year. 


The longer wheelbase Ambassador returns for 1965. It's extended from the windshield forward, but otherwise is still a Classic except for trim and amenities. 


AMC pays its last stock dividend ($.11/share down from $2.06 in 1962) until 1974. AMC had sold 246 "Rambulances" since 1960. 


The Classic is rebodied and renamed Rebel for the 1967 model year. Convertibles are reintroduced. AMC reports a $30 million loss for the fiscal year, compared to a $7 million gain in 1965 and a $44 million gain in 1964. 


AMC reports a net loss of $76 million for the fiscal year. The Javelin is introduced for the 1968 model year, followed by the AMX the next February. 


Kelvinator division is sold and AMC is back in the black, for a while. 


On June 30, the last U.S.-produced Rambler (an American) rolls off the line in Kenosha. A total of 4,204,925 had been made. 
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