Given Rambler’s image as something of a cheapskate brand in the 60s, it’s easy to forget that it was rather the opposite in the early-mid ’50s. Rambler targeted women, with a series of ads featuring successful women in a wide range of professions, such as this one with Margaret Sullavan, a star of the American theater.
As to my headline:
I don’t like to single out commenters, but when I steered John C. to my 1955 Rambler CC, which goes into greater detail about Rambler’s success in targeting more affluent and better educated buyers, especially women, he responded with:
In defense of men though, many of those 50s women buyers were spending lavishly their husbands and father’s money.
Um, really? Married women were doing this on the sly, coming home with a new Rambler? Hi honey; look what I picked up today while I was out shopping.
And even in the profoundly unlikely event they were, it assumes it wasn’t her money too, if they were married? She was just an unpaid domestic servant, then?
The reality is that the exact opposite was much more likely, and not just in the ’50s: women being saddled with cars that their husbands bought, with little or no input from them. I witnessed that first hand, when my father drove off with my mom’s beloved Civic one day, and returned with a Saturn Ion. She was furious, but what was she going to do?
Contrary to popular assumption, there was a growing number of women in the ’50s that had careers, and didn’t have to resort to “spending lavishly their husband’s money”. That was the brilliance of Rambler’s targeting this demographic: it was actually the key essential thing that allowed them to survive the early-mid 50s, at a time when all the other domestic compacts were bombing out. Women saved Rambler, and it didn’t take lavishly spending their husband’s money to make it happen.
Which reminds me, my grade school violin teacher drove a Porsche 356; she lived with another woman who was also a music teacher, and they were obviously lesbians; nobody ever said anything and didn’t care. And they could each afford nice cars.