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Cream-Puff Two-Tone: 1953 Nash Rambler

The car is a rarely seen 1953 Nash Rambler Custom Country Club, for sale on Craigslist in Mancelona, Michigan with a $12,500 asking price. The owner notes helpfully that Hagerty’s price for one of these in #2 condition is $19,200, and it’s fair to claim this car is in that well-preserved state. It’s lovely, and thanks to T.J. for the listing. There are just 73,000 miles on the odometer, so it may have led an easy life, without needing a restoration.

The 1953 Nash Rambler is a classic upside-down bathtub, with a streamlined look that even puts fender skirts on the front wheels. This one is very shiny in two-tone yellow and white, with a continental kit. “All gauges work except gas gauge,” the vendor says. “Wipers need a vacuum line to work. Lights and signals and horn work! Starts, runs, drives, shifts, and idles perfectly!  No leaks, drips, or smoke. The transmission has been rebuilt, the fuel tank has been professionally refurbished, and has a new sending unit and lines throughout. Have receipts. This is a very great original and rare classic.”

The yellow Nash two-door hardtop really looks good, and the excellent interior is a highlight–those welcoming cloth seats sure don’t look budget. All the trim is there, and the chrome is shiny. There are even seat belts, that’s definitely not original equipment. The ’53 Rambler is an economy compact—America’s first!—with a 184-cubic-inch flathead six-cylinder engine producing 85 horsepower via a one-barrel carb, and manual three-on-the-tree shifter. It’s no ball of fire off the line!

The history of this model is really interesting. Nash Motors produced the Nash Rambler, then a subsidiary of Nash-Kelvinator, from 1950 to 1954. Then, the company merged with Hudson to form American Motors. The Ramblers were built in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and there were sedan, wagon, and convertible variants. The first year, it was only available as a fixed-profile convertible.

The ’53 model got the “Airflyte” restyling that complemented the upscale Nash models. One of the reasons they look classy is that Italy’s Pininfarina was the designer. The ’53 sports a lowered hood line.

The car for sale has the standard engine, but a slightly more energetic 90-horsepower version was available, as was the Hydra-Matic automatic from General Motors. Since this is a top-tier Custom, it gets Nash’s Weather-Eye heating system, and the radio was standard, too.

The Nash Rambler was advertised as a second family car, and film star Jimmy Stewart’s wife was enlisted to describe it as “a woman’s dream of a car come true!” Owners liked the fuel economy but not the rear seat legroom or the water leaks.

Production was 31,788 for 1953, not bad for an independent. Of those, 15,255 were Country Club hardtops like this one.


  1. Avatar photo Harvey Member

    Nice one!

    Like 8
  2. Avatar photo Bob C.

    And these weren’t exactly built “cheaply” like the later Americans. I love how the shifter comes out of the dash.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Mike W Member

      Looks like that shifter is actually what they used to call a “neckers’ knob” on the steering wheel, and not a shifter…

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

      @ Bob C.

      My uncle had a newer version of this. I always hated how the shifter came out of the dash. Looked weird to me. LOL

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo John Vizzusi

    I would definitely keep the furry freak bros anti social club sticker on the dashboard. And got to have the dancing Hawaiian lady. If you hit 90 in this jalopy, you mine as well head to the scrapyard. Love that copcars of the day bought the bigger Nash sedans, those aero designed bodies upside down bathtubs look like what 3-series BMW is doing today! Is that a giant dick tracy speaker in the middle of the dash picking up police radio and secret messages. No, don’t you dare change a thing. Classic Nash, funny how men of the day resembled the cars they drove. jv – smash palace

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo ramblergarage

    Nice car but the interior has been redone. I know because we have one that is original. Seat belts were optional on all Nash cars from 1950 on.
    Here is a link to our video on one.

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Jeff

    Ah the 50’s and 60’s was born in50 but the car varieties and styles ,how different each was Studebaker,,packard,,GM Ford , chrysler,,Kaiser, Hudson Nash ,we lost alot of good makes and now its a cookie cutter design out there.

    Like 8
  6. Avatar photo Dick

    Beep beep! Beep beep!

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo HC Member

    Quirky, fugly little Bathtub Nash. Hey someone’s gotta love her. On a positive note, it sure is a clean example of the car. You could eat off the engine bay!!

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Jimmy Novak

      It’s so very important that we share our personal opinions on styling here.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

        @ Jimmy Novak

        Yes, Jimmy, you are so right! I’m impressed with the many many men on here that know style and fashion, from who designed the tailfins, to the grill, the roofline, definitely the engine and chassis, even the upholstery in the interior. If we didn’t have these members knowing style, how would us lowly idiots know if the material on the bench seat is correct?
        If you were looking for a rise out of me, congratulations, you got it, but next time I won’t be so nice. AH

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo Ted Uren

        You are a very real sounding person. Refreshing indeed in a sea of sheep..

        Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Emel

    Now you can see with these Nash’s….how you got some of the designs of AMC 1970’s cars…..like the Pacer.
    Natural progression of The Bathtub to the Goldfish Bowl.
    Probably some of the same design teams or individuals were still around
    from the 50’s into the 70’s.
    Maybe the pics don’t do it justice, the front seat seams to indicate this particular Nash wasn’t very wide. Of course there weren’t nearly as many fat people as there are today ! lol

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Javman

    My first car was the earlier 151 Country Clubs which was the 2 door hardtop. People can make fun of them but they were great cars probably one the first economy cars.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Louis Rugani

    I believe Ed Anderson really was the designer and that Farina contributed very little though his name was used to add prestige.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo VMP

    Are you sure this isn’t a Metropolitan ?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo HC Member

      You’ll have to do some Google homework to answer this question. Early to mid 50s Nash and Hudson merged. I don’t think Metropolitans came on its own until 1957. Almost as tedious figuring out the Studebaker and Packard merger in about the same years. There were both Nash Ramblers and Metroplitans I believe Metropolitan was like a dwarf size sub compact version of the compact Rambler. I’m sure someone on this site knows the details.

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Bruce Berst Member

    Definitely not a Metropolitan but they do have the same shifter.

    Like 0

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