1950-55 Nash and Hudson Rambler

1950-1955 Nash and 1955 Hudson Rambler

1950 Rambler
1950 Rambler

General Information

American Motors Corporation officially came into being on May 1, 1954. Why then, do we cover the 1950 Nash Rambler? Because all AMC cars descended from that first modern compact car -- it is the father of all AMC vehicles that follwed. Yes, that discounts most of the big Nash and Hudson cars. There is no direct lineage from those vehicles. Indeed, by the time AMC was formed the two parent nameplates were already falling from grace in the automotive world. Before I go on, I do have to mention that if the 1950 Nash Rambler is the father of all AMC vehicles then the 1941 Nash 600 is the grandfather. It wasn't the very first unitized body passenger car made in the US, but it was highly advanced compared to the late 1930's Lincoln Zephyr and Chrysler Airflow. Lincoln and Chrysler both dropped unitized construction in favor of traditional body/frame construction whereas the Nash technique held up to the test of time. The 41 birthed not only the construction but also the powerplant that was to be used in the first Ramblers, a very economical L-head (flat head) six. Okay, back to the Rambler. There had been other small cars built in the US, but none had any "staying power". Crosley made a big splash after World War II with their small cars, but it was a sellers market at the time. There were lots of people who'd driven the same car for over five years and there were still material shortages due to the recent war. This meant that materials were rationed to industry and only so many cars could be built. The auto industry loved it in a way -- they could (and did) sell everything they could build. When the market leveled back out in the early 50s most of the small cars quickly disappeared. It was a prosperous time in America and small generally meant cheap. No one liked being thought of as cheap. Nash took a different approach with the Rambler. For starters it was only produced in what was then considered premium body styles -- a convertible and a two door wagon. It wasn't a cheap car at all, it was a stylish ride! The 1950 Rambler listed at $1808 in either body style. It was "loaded" for the time -- radio and heater were standard items, not optional. Does just over $1800 for a new car sound cheap? Well, one could buy a top of the line Nash Statesman Brougham for $1894 or any well equipped mid line Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler for under $2000. The Rambler was anything but cheap, price or style wise.


Body Styles And Trim Levels

There were three trim levels and three body styles available. The body styles and trim levels can be determined from the model number on the Unit Body Identification Plate. The body styles and trim levels are: * 4 door sedan in Deluxe, Super, and Custom trim * 4 door hardtop sedan in Custom trim * 4 door station wagon in Deluxe, Super, and Custom trim * 4 door hardtop station wagon in Custom trim


In 1956 the only engine was the 195.6 cid OHV inline six, 1bbl, 120 hp. Power was increase to 125 hp by inceasing compression for 1957. A 135 hp 2bbl version was optional for 1957. See Series 20 for V-8 specifics, including the Rebel. There is a machined pad on the left (driver's) side of the engine near the front and just below the block/head division. This pad contains the Engine Serial Number. 1956-57 Engine Beginning Serial Numbers A letter was assigned to each engine size with one barrel carburetor, a following "B" was used for two barrel models along with a different letter. The serial number listed was the first used that year. Later model 195.6 OHV engines will fit and are often used as replacements. Check the engine code for the year before ordering replacement parts, especially the water pump, which came in at least three different configurations over the years. See other 58-65 Series 10 and 01 pages for later serial numbers. * 1956 195.6 OHV 1 bbl - S1001 * 1957 195.6 OHV 1 bbl - D341001 * 1957 195.6 OHV 2 bbl - CB2001



The following Borg Warner transmissions were used in 1956-57 Rambler Six models. There is no way of knowing what transmission or type was originally installed in a vehicle made before 1966. *T-96 three speed manual, available with an optional Borg Warner overdrive unit *T-85 three speed manual, available with an optional Borg Warner overdrive unit, as a heavy duty option *1956 - mid 1957 - GM Dual-Range? Hydramatic four speed automatic, dubbed "Flash-Away" by AMC. *Late 1957 - Borg Warner "Flash-O-Matic" three speed automatic (air cooled torque converter, cast iron case, vacuum modulator -- predecessor to model 35)

Production Numbers

Blank columns indicate that the body and trim style were not offered that year.
Body & Trim Style 1956 1957
4 door sedan, Deluxe 21,966 9,402
4 door wagon, Deluxe 75
4 door sedan, Super Note 1 16,320
4 door wagon, Super 21,554 14,083
4 door hardtop sedan, Super 612
4 door sedan, Custom Note 1 10,520
4 door wagon, Custom Note 1 17,745
4 door hardtop sedan, Custom 2,155
4 door hardtop wagon, Custom 402
Note1:Production numbers include all trim levels for this body style. Dates of model introductions: 1956 - November 22, 1955 1957 - October 25, 1956


Serial Numbers & Body Tag Decoder

Serial Numbers Before January 1966, all cars had a manufacturers assigned serial number, not a VIN, which was mandated by the U.S. government for all cars built from 1966 (calendar year) on. The serial number is on a tag located on the top of the right side shock tower in the engine compartment. The serial number gives no information except year and model series. Technically, any changes can be made to the car that were available from the factory and it will be "correct". Serial numbers were assigned to the car when it was ordered from the factory. Numbers with a single letter are assigned to cars made in Kenosha, WI. Special "knock-down" kit cars were made in Kenosha for final assembly at overseas locations. These kits typically excluded upholstery, tires, belts, batteries, and other items that could be supplied from the country of final assembly and a "KD" after the first letter. Hudson had an assembly plant in Toronto, Canada, that ceased operations after 1956. These cars have a "T" before the serial number. Starting serial numbers (first number used for the model year) are listed below: *1956 - D276101; DKD5601; DKT5401 *1957 - D341101

Unit Body Identification Plate

The Unit Body Identification Plate for a 1956-57 Rambler Six can be located on the driver's side front door frame between the hinges (not on the door itself as with later models). It can be decoded as follows: Body This is the number assigned to the body as it was being produced. It is different than the serial number. Bodies were produced in batches, so the numbers aren't consecutive to each series. Model This identifies the body and trim styles. The first two digits are the year, the last two or three identify the series, body style, and trim level. Canadian assembled models usually have a "1" as the first number in addition to the four or five described above. Blanks indicate that the body and trim style was not available for the year in question.
Code w/Body Style and Trim 1956 1957
15 = 4 door sedan, Deluxe (base) X X
15-1 = 4 door sedan, Super X X
15-2 = 4 door sedan, Custom X X
18-1 = 4 door wagon, Super X X
18-2 = 4 door wagon, Custom X X
13-2 = 4 door hardtop wagon, Custom X
19-1 = 4 door hardtop sedan, Super X
19-2 = 4 door hardtop sedan, Custom X
18-2 = 4 door station wagon, Custom X X
Trim Trim codes indicate interior color and seat material. 1956-57 trim codes are unavailable at this time. Paint The following colors were available in 1956-1957. The original color can be determined by looking at the Paint code on the Unit Body Identification Plate. If there are two codes separated by a dash, the first code is the primary body color and the second code is the upper body (sometimes roof) or accent color. For example, a car that was black with a white top would have a paint code of 1-72. Paint codes may also be prefixed with a P or suffixed with an A. Note that some cars were painted non-standard colors. These cars will typically have a code such as "00" or "SPEC". This was normally reserved for large orders in the special color, usually for fleet use. COLOR CHART BELOW IS NOT COMPLETE!
Paint Code Color Years
Instrument panels were painted body color (primary body color if two tone). Remaining interior moulding and trim was painted one of the following colors to harmonize with interior trim. Interior colors were usually semi-gloss to reduce glare. Interior color codes are unknown at this time." Color samples can be viewed at http://autocolorlibrary.com/aclns.html Sequential Assembly Number The unlabeled number at the bottom of the Unit Body Identification Plate is the Sequential Assembly Number. This number was assigned to the vehicle as it entered the final assembly line. Vehicles were assembled in batches as needed -- i.e., 10 Americans may be assembled then 20 Classics followed by 15 Ambassadors, etc. Minimum and maximum sizes of batches are unknown -- in some cases single cars may have gone through the lines. At this time there was only one final assembly line in Kenosha; the second line wasn't in operation until 1961. The code for cars assembled in the old Hudson plant in Totonto, Canada, in 1956 (it was closed after 1956) is unknown.


The following sources were used to verify the information contained on this page: *Standard Catalog of American Motors, ISBN 0-87341-232-X, Krause Publications *1956-57 American Motors Technical Service Manuals *1956-57 American Motors Sales Flyers *The Compact Chronicles, copyright 1992, Frank Swygert


This page up for adoption! If interested contact Frank (farna@att.net) or Matt (mhaas@one.net) for info.

Canadian "Hudson" plant

Hudson Ramblers were built in Canada in 1955 and 1956, and like their Nash brothers only in sedan and wagon form. The hardtop sedans and wagons were imported from Kenosha.

The "Hudson plant in Toronto" as referred to in the article was actually the Nash plant located on East Danforth Avenue in Toronto. Nash had purchased the plant from Ford of Canada in 1946 and built cars there from 1950 through 1957 - Nash Canadian Statesman (1950-56), Nash Canadian Rambler (1950-56), Hudson Wasp (1955), Hudson Rambler (1955-56) and Rambler (1957).

Canadian serial numbers had "T" for the second digit while the first was the same as in the U.S., with the exception of the Hudson Rambler which used "N". The Canadian Statesman was "KT", Nash Rambler "DT", Hudson Wasp "WT", Hudson Rambler "NT", 1957 Rambler 6 "DT" & V8 "AT". Engine numbers fell into the U.S. sequences - no special Canadian numbers.

Canadian Nashes were built as Statesman 2-door sedans in 1950-51, 4-door sedans 1950-56, Rambler 2-door sedans (1952-55), 4-door sedans (1954-57) and 4-door wagons (1956-57).

The first Hudson built after WW II came off the line on April 4, 1950, a Pacemaker 4-door sedan. Hudson built only 4-door sedans in Pacemaker (1950-51), Wasp (1952) and Jet (1953-54), Super Jet (1953-54) and Jet Liner (1954).

Unlike other car manufacturers, Hudson contracted their Canadian production out. From 1932 through 1941 Canadian Top & Body assembled Hudsons and Terraplanes in their plant at Tilbury, Ontario. CT&B built bodies for Durant and Willys/Overland cars but with the collapse of both those firms in 1930-31 they looked for other ways to stay alive. Thus Hudsons rolled out the doors of their factory.

CT&B became known as Chatco Steel Products during the 1940's and began assembly of Hudsons in 1950. In the fall of 1954 production at Tilbury came to an end and the first Hudson Rambler rolled off the Nash line in Toronto in December, 1954.

The end of Hudson production at Tilbury brought an end to Chatco, just as the end of Hudson, Kaiser and Willys in the U.S. brought about the end of Murray Body in the U.S.

By the way, 1956-57 paint colours -

1956 -
P-1 : Black (C) *
P-44 : Caribbean Blue (CO) *
P-66 : Sunburst Yellow (C) *
P-67 : Bermuda Green
P-72 : Frost White (C)
P-73 : Willow Green (C)
P-74 : Crocus Yellow
P-75 : Polo Green
P-76 : Golden Brown (C)
P-77 : Mint Green (C)
P-78 : Grenadier Red (C)
P-80 : Boulevard Gray (C)
P-81 : Solitaire Blue (C)
P-82 : Pacific Blue (C)
P-83 : Ballerina Red (C)

1957 -
P-1 : Black (C) *
P-67 : Bermuda Green (C) **
P-72 : Frost White (C) **
P-82 : Pacific Blue (C) **
P-84 : Glacier Blue (C)
P-85 : Lagoon Blue
P-86 : Plum Metallic
P-87 : Berkshire Green (C)
P-88 : Oregon Green (C)
P-89 : Avocado Metallic
P-90 : Mardi Gras Red (C)
P-91 : Tangerine (CO)
P-92 : Mojave Yellow (C)
P-93 : Sierra Peach (C)
P-94 : Cinnamon Bronze Metallic (C)
P-95 : Gotham Gray Metallic (C)
P-96 : Rebel Silver Gray Metallic

* - Carried over from 1954
** - Carried over from 1955
(C) - Used on Canadian-built cars
(CO) - Used only on Canadian-built cars

1956 interior colours -
N-19 : Pacific Blue semi-gloss
N-20 : Polo Green semi-gloss
N-21 : Golden Brown semi-gloss
N-22 : Silver Grey Metallic

1957 interior colours -
N-43 : Green Metallic
N-44 : Blue Metallic

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