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Stored Over 4 Decades: 1951 Nash Rambler Convertible

The Nash Rambler is often remembered in 50s automotive history for being recognized as the first U.S. car that achieved success in the compact market.  When it was introduced in 1950, Nash Ramblers were first produced by the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, but the company later merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company, and in 1954 American Motors Corporation was born, who then took over building the car.  The 1951 Nash Rambler Convertible for sale here on Craigslist is a pre-AMC manufactured example, and if you’ve been in the market for a small car to take on as a project this one might be worth checking out.  It’s sitting in Chico, California, with the owner looking to pocket $5,000 from the sale.

Reader T.J. brought this one to our attention, and we’d like to thank him for the great tip!  With its rounded styling and hard-to-see tires, the Nash-Rambler has a look all its own, and the seller says his car has been stored indoors since 1978.  He’s also only the second titled owner, with documentation to prove it, but inside or out 44 years is a long time for a car to be in storage and this one’s going to take a fair amount of work to get it back to the days of yore.  The seller says it’s complete and has never been apart, with a rust-free and straight body that is claimed to be in need of very little work.

The seats are looking soiled and a bit frayed, as are the door panels, and those armrests have definitely seen better days.  The dash and gauges actually look pretty good, although no word on whether or not they are still functioning.  The convertible top is going to need new material, but the seller does state that it’s complete and can be used as a pattern to fabricate a new one.  There’s also some rust in the floorboards, specifically mentioned to be in foot areas on both sides, but the seller thinks it can be repaired easily.  He says it doesn’t compromise the structure of the unibody, but we don’t get any photos from the underside, so I’d probably want to see this one in person before I got too serious.

Things are somewhat tidy and in decent order under the hood and the motor is turning freely, but there’s not enough compression for it to run, so the engine is for sure gonna need some attention.  The seller also believes the motor may have been replaced at some point in the past, as he can’t find an engine number on it, and there’s no mention at all about the transmission.  The car does come with a title, so that’s good news, and one little side note follows about what comes to my mind every time I spot a Nash Rambler for sale.  Do any of you music fans remember back in 1990 when Emmylou Harris formed a new band and called them The Nash Ramblers?  Probably the most well-known member was Sam Bush, fiddle and mandolin extraordinaire, and I always wondered if Emmylou herself was a fan of the car.  But back to the 1951 Nash Rambler Convertible- what are your thoughts on this car?


  1. Driveinstile Member

    I just can’t help thinking about the old song Beep Beep. I think it was the Playmates.
    Beep Beep ( Beep Beep)
    His horn went Beep Beep Beep. Lol

    Like 12
  2. Sam61

    Something out-of-the-box would interesting. Maybe pearl/gold white paint, plaid convertible top, tan leather upholstery with plaid inserts that match the top, open/create front fender arches that reveal 2/3rds of the tire, medium width white walls or black wall w/white metal spats and dog dish hubcaps. Replate the chrome to the brass/copper stage.

    Like 1
    • Frank

      There is a gold restomod wagon for sale that had the wheelwells filled in. It looks a little strange but the arched openings would look good, but not real large

      Like 0
  3. mike robert

    Wasn’t this sold on Ebay in September for $3000? Looks like the same pics.

    Like 1
  4. Harry Allen

    I have memories of the Nash rambler sleeping in the package shelf going from New Orleans to Cape Cod. Too young to really appreciate it for what it was but recalling that says a lot. Those little cars were apparently quite dependable since I recall at least three trips. Yeah at 72 I just have the memories but not the wherewithal to tackle anymore projects. It is some solid automotive history that deserves to be cared for, it won’t make you rich but if you can do most of the work you could turn a profit and for me I would just restore and drive.

    Like 5
  5. Mark

    Lois Lane’s car

    Like 16
    • Howard A Member

      Lois who? Heck, why not say it’s her car, she ( Noel Neill) is long gone, lived to be 95! With all the phoney baloney car stories out of California, why not?

      Like 3
      • tiger66

        The Lois in the imcdb photo is Phyllis Coates, the first TV Lois (Season 1 only), not Noel Neill. I think the Rambler vert Noel drove was a slightly later model. A ’52, maybe. Phyllis is still with us at age 95.

        Like 4
  6. TheOldRanger

    They should have left this one in the garage and locked the door

    Like 0
  7. George Birth

    Here’s hoping some one takes pity on this poor little car and puts it in a museum for early American auto history.

    Like 0
  8. Mont Hunt

    This would look so good done in pro street form!

    Like 0
  9. Denny N. Member

    These early Ramblers are seriously CUTE! Definitely worth restoring. A CA black plate car is a plus. Parts for early Ramblers are few and far between, not like a Tri Five Chevy or ’65 Mustang. These unibodies are prone to rust, if the doors start sagging you’re in for some serious welding/fabricating. All that said, five grand looks reasonable.

    Like 2
  10. James R. Patterson Sr.

    This cars twin right down to the year, color and condition was for sale on the Hershey Flea Market at this years show.

    Like 0
  11. 67Firebird_Cvt 67Firebird_Cvt Member

    Question, is it more difficult to change a tire on one of these?

    Like 0
    • Lou Rugani

      No. When the car is raised, the wheels drop down.

      Like 3
  12. wd62vette

    The rust in the floor pan is a real headache with these cars. There is no repo floor pans and on top of that, it is part of the unibody. This car was made in Kenosha WI with 14,519 built. Not a rare ElSegundo CA car, which they only built 362. It is a late 51 with the full horn ring and front lower air louvers. The interior has been recovered and not in the original material or pattern. Door arm rests are really hard to find. Convertible top cables are also a problem. Cloth covered wiring is another problem. Paul from Rambler garage has a few parts for these Rambler’s.They are neat cars and are my favorite car ever. Best not to buy this car sight unseen. A personal inspection would be in order.

    Like 1
  13. chrlsful

    delightful, a vert.
    THAT might keep energy thru to the end?

    Like 0

    For 5 grand… its way to cheap.. its a game of needle in the hay stack…Go find another one for 5… Na da..patron.. Its only original once.. you take this bumble bee apart and it will never get finished..( do to lack of parts ) Guarantee if you can drive it to a show you will get mobbed

    Like 0

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