Wagon Wednesday: 1960 Rambler American Wagon

Ten years ago, Laurie Gidosh was selected as a winner on the reality TV show Popstars 2, becoming a member of the show’s synthetic pop group Scene 23. In one memorable episode, the nice-looking but unglamorous Gidosh gushed over sultry, maquillaged video footage of herself that transformed a girl who said “I never thought I was pretty” into an undeniable show biz siren.
If the 1960 Rambler American is Laurie Gidosh — friendly, cute even, but not leading lady material — then the image above is the “before” photo. The Hollywood starlet transformation can be found on pages 74–75 of this month’s Street Rodder.
I don’t think of myself as a huge fan of traditional hot rodding, but it’s amazing how often I find something of interest in Street Rodder magazine. Since I’m not a hardcore member of their target demographic, this speaks admirably of the editors’ content and production values. More often than not, when I decide to impulsively buy something off the magazine rack at the 7-11, it’s a copy of Street Rodder. This morning’s mid-commute coffee stop was one of those times.
I was originally drawn in by articles on vintage Caddy V8s and “The Latest Lo-Tech Carburetion,” but I forgot all about them when I hit a four-page spread featuring two cars built by Ted Lesher of Ted’s Body Shop in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to an extremely well-crafted but fairly traditional dropped ’49 Plymouth, the other car was a 1960 Rambler American station wagon Ted built for his wife LuAnn. As it happens to be Wagon Wednesday, I thought I’d share it with all you Hoons.
Of course, the gorgeous “golden hour” hero shots in this months’ issue of S-R aren’t posted on their web site but, fortunately, a quick bounce over to tedsbodyshop.com revealed this digital snapshot of the car. The body is pretty much stock, but it has been nicely enhanced with deep black paint, a cool roof rack, solid glass side windows (replacing the kludgy sliding side windows still present in the shot above), and sharp chrome wheels (although I’d personally prefer slightly less modern, higher profile tires on 16s). The stock 195 six still resides under the hood, providing only 125 horses. Even though more grunt would be a nice addition, it doesn’t make the car less pleasing to the eye, and since this is a car intended for routine driving it’s an understandable nod toward practicality.
Go pick up a copy of Street Rodder to see the beauty shots and decide for yourself if this car (and photographer Josh Mishler’s skills behind the lens) could possibly be showcased better.

UPDATE: It turns out that this car has been mentioned on the ‘verse before, in a comment by P161911 back in December.

[Image Source: tedsbodyshop.com]

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  1. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    very poissibly the first time in history that Laurie Gidosh, street rods and the word maquillaged have been mentioned together in one essay.

  2. facelvega Avatar

    When people think of AMC, they think of Dick Teague styling, but there is also a lot to be said for Edmund Anderson and Bill Reddig, who started off at Nash before the merger with Hudson created AMC, but continued on for the early years. You can really tell from these wagons how much they learned from the days when Nash had hired Battista Farina as styling consultant. Compare their Rambler wagon with this Pininfarina-designed Peugeot 403 wagon below– the Rambler actually looks better, more finished.
    <img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/readers/2009/04/23/800pxpeugeot403sochaux_1.jpg&quot; width="600">

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    It seems like these early Rambler Americans are catching on as street rods. Every time I turn around I'm seeing pictures of some slammed American.

  4. theeastbaykid Avatar

    Why does every '50s hotrod guy insist on chrome Torq-Thrust IIs when battleship gray Torq-Thrust Ds would look so much less cheesy?

    1. facelvega Avatar

      the wheels are definitely the weakest aesthetic choice here. Not sure the grey Ds are the right answer, though. I'd go period-correct steelies with chrome saucer caps here since speed is not the point, or early-style slot mags like Halibrands if speed were in the equation.

      1. 4DoorNoMore Avatar

        Given the 'something different' aesthetic, I'm only surprised that it hasn't got a straight axle, fenderwell headers and nosebleed ride-height. Oddball Marque + Gasser Style = Instant Classic in the traditional scene these days.
        I could do without the wheels as well…Astro Supremes or Radirs would do it more justice. Or wide whites and full caps.

  5. bboxy Avatar

    my last name is Nash, so the first day of school (90s) every male teacher i ever had would go "oh, Nash Rambler" as they read the roll call. None of the other kids ever knew what one was, though, so fortunately nobody would ever bring it up or anything. Naturally, I've always wanted one. This wagon is cool but dorky like a Rambler should be, I'd lose the wheels but otherwise yes, yes, and yes.

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