(first posted 12/11/2016) Rambler (and Nash before) was always rather circumspect about promoting the advantages of its unique folding front seats. But by this time it was the sixties (bonus points for the exact model and year), and realistically, families weren’t exactly car-camping in their Ramblers to save on hotel bills. This PR shot is the closest one I’ve ever seen that gets…closer to the truth. Now what to do about the third wheel?
This is how the folding seats were shown to be put to (chaste) use back in 1957.
There’s just so many comments that I could make. None of them good.
Maybe the sports partakers are in a polyamourus relationship.
What a thing to say! Polyamory is wrong! So is multiphilia. It’s wrong to mix Greek and Latin roots. 😉
I guess “automobile” is wrong too then, since it combines Greek (auto) and Latin/French (mobile) roots…
Charlie Sheen’s first car…
While they didn’t have folding seats, the ’79-’85 GM E bodies came in handy with their extremely wide C-pillars.
Our 64 Rambler American wagon had fully reclining bench seats, and remember sleeping on them on a couple occasions while camping. We probably could have slept a whole family of 5 in there, with a couple kids in the cargo area.
Our 1952 Nash Statesman had reclining seats and we had the optional air mattresses – I can see them clearly, in yellow with Nash lettering in red. We did not have the window screens. I cannot remember ever camping overnight in the car as my parents were quite keen on the cabins, motels, and motor lodges that sprouted up in the 50’s and lined our path from the Midwest to Florida in the winter.
IIRC there were a lot of jokes about fathers not letting their daughters go on dates in Nashes.
Were they really that comfortable to sleep on? I think they were most likely used for other purposes.
I doubt the top one was even that comfortable to *sit* on; black vinyl in a convertible, yowouch!
Thanks to my own stupidity, I had to spend a night sleeping in a first-generation MR2 years ago. I would’ve killed for a Rambler that day, if I could’ve gotten uncramped enough.
Nash made the bed conversion option first available in their 1937 models. George Mason came along with the Kelvinator merger, was an avid sportsman, pushed the idea of having a place to conveniently camp for hunters and fishermen.
One can be sure the other ‘convenient’ purpose to which this handy option could be put was always on the minds of the advertising people as they delicately portrayed happy families properly enjoying their new Nash.
Delbert McClinton mentioned it in a song, notably covered by The Blues Brothers…”B-Movie Box Car Blues” includes the verse:
That night I caught a ride with a gamblers wife,
She had a brand new lay-down Rambler.
She parked outside of town,
Laid the rambler down,
Said she sure could dig it if I rode her
(And yes, the rest of the lyrics are just as dirty!)
i know that song. never knew the lyrics until now. thanks for the education john i’ll have to go find my cassette of the blues brothers and sing along.
“This is how the folding seats were shown to be put to (chaste) use back in 1957.”
Where did that kid come from? How many children were created in these cars?
Christmas 1959 my family decided to go and see the Victoria Falls in the then Southern Rhodesia. My Uncle was a used car sales manager for a dealer that sold Ramblers, Simca’s and Peugeot’s and had the pick of a car to use for the trip from Pretoria to Victoria Falls. There were 7 of us, really? He chose a Rambler Ambassador.
When we crossed the border at Beit Bridge we were met with a strange sight. The main road to Salisbury now Harare was asphalt strips about 2ft. wide spaced wide enough to suit most vehicles. When an oncoming car came along we handed one strip to him and we rode on the other. This was what we had to ride on for the next 360 miles, Oh Boy! There were only 2 stops on the way to fill up. Both stops had one pump only, the type with 2 big glass bottles and they had to be pumped by hand and at each stop there were long queues as this was the holiday season. They also sold Marie Biscuits and Coca Cola in glass bottles and that was our lunch. There was also the very real chance of hitting some kind of game or one of the Big 5.
It was late in the day when we emerged out of the dense bush and entered Salisbury not knowing that the “city” had no storm water drains, why would they when it never rains? But instead a wide ditch running parallel to each cross street.
These ditches were also a means of keeping the speed of the traffic down.
We hit the first one and then we hit the roof and the suspension took a hit too.
We slept in Salisbury that night and left first thing in the morning, another 490 miles to go.
“The Smoke that Thunders” is the name for the spray above the falls and can be seen from miles away.
We arrived at the falls and met my other uncle who was working on the Kariba Hydro-electric project.
The cabin reserved for us in a very large tourist camp full of cabins was so full of people so my brother and I took a blanket and went out to the Rambler, folded the seats down and slept very comfortably for the next 10 nights.
We then travelled to the Kariba site camp and again we slept in the Rambler. We had the opportunity of seeing how the heavy bush was cleared by 2 x D9 Caterpillar crawlers linked together by a heavy steel chain with a huge steel ball in the middle, they just flattened everything in their way.
Entering Salisbury on the way home my uncle forgot about the water ditches and the fuel tank took a hit, this way midday Sunday, all closed, no help. We bought a few bars of Sunlight and did the fix. We got all the way home safely to Pretoria.
What a trip! A Rambler and a bar of Sunlight soap.
What a trip indeed! Great story. Sounds like those 2 asphalt strips were somebody’s way of doing as little as possible to be able to answer “yes” to the question “Is the Beitbridge-Harare road paved?”
Now THAT is quite a story. Any driving adventure I’ve had pales by comparison.
A bit like Queensland share roads one lane of bitumen half a lane of dirt either side meeting a road train is an event, not sure if they still have them but those roads were everywhere in the 80s. Foldin camping seats were available aftermarket in Aussie a mate of mine had a 62 EJ Holden with one fitted. real handy for the traveller.
I remember travelling around Queensland in the 70s and how bad the roads were, even the main coastal highway had big rural sections where you had to slip one wheel off into the dirt for passing traffic. And travelling the highways in the wet summer it was not uncommon to come across a floodway (basically a creek with a concrete bed across it, cheaper than building a bridge) deep under water with helpful depth gauge, and a stack of cars waiting for the flood level to drop. Sometimes a brave or foolish 4wd would wade across. Otherwise it meant backtracking dozens or hundreds of miles to find an alternate route.
On more than one occasion I had to sleep in my 1965 Ambassador convertible. One just needed to pull out the headrests, recline both seat backs all the way, and you had a reasonably comfortable spot in which to sleep for the night. After the first evening, I learned that putting the top and windows up kept out the curious critters. I bought the car used in 1980, so I had no recourse to the optional window screens – I bet those would have been nice to have!
Just saw this 65 Ambassador wagon in Portland, Or. today. I prefer the more conventional front styling of the 64. I think 65 was also the 1st year for stacked headlights on Fords .
That’s a 1966 Ambassador, not a 1965. The ‘66 added the two chrome strips on the fender behind the headlights. The ‘65 didn’t have those.
I believe that is a ’65 Rambler American convertible. Seems too small to be the Classic or Ambassador
No , it’s an Ambassador. The small photo makes it look smaller until you click it to enlarge it.
That most certainly is not an Ambassador. Just the dash pad view will tell you it’s an American. The Ambo and Classic have a completely different dash, with more of a hooded/extended portion for the driver’s side.
We’re talking about 2 different cars. Yes, the convertible posted at the top is an American. The small photo of the light blue station wagon I posted is an Ambassador.
Correct. The first Ambassador convertible was in 1965 and had a bold chrome strip running the length of the car at the top of the fender…the convertible in the ad doesn’t. The dashboard, steering wheel and seats scream American. Probably a 64 or 65 but not a 66 as I had one and ashtrays for the rear seat were repositioned in 66
Meanwhile in Sweden:
No precocious child and doll? Or did that come later?
Those seats were sometimes referred to as “pullmanized”. As a 20-yr old always wanting to “get lucky” ,I installed a pair in my 49 Merc ragtop with its hot-rod Lincoln engine.As they say, your mileage may vary.
When I was doing my senior year in college in 1969, my buddy had acquired a 59 or 60 stripped down Rambler 4 door sedan. I think it had a radio and the fold down seats. It was a great car for double dating at a drive-in movie. All four of us fit in the back seat with legs stretched all the way out to the front.
My psycho-b*tch ex G.F. loved to get freaky in the car so I had to repair the optional reclining passenger seat in my old 1960 VW #117 Beetle….
She’d get freaky beyond belief whenever i flopped the top on my convertible and we climbed into the back seat .
I wish I’da had and old Nash or Rambler then as my back took a serious beating but was worth every minute .
Crazy in the head means crazy in the bed!
In her case it meant even crazier in my convertible with the top flopped…….
Hands down the best sex I’ve ever had, still fond memories apart from winding up on the front page of the newspaper one day….
This puts me in mind of the movie Mermaids, which stars Cher and Winona Ryder as mother and daughter. The fact that Cher’s character, Rachel Flax, is sexually loose is a big part of the plot. Early in the movie, her daughter says, “Mom’s dating her boss, that means we’re going to move soon.”
Cut to a scene of a ’52-’54 Nash at night, at rest but rocking. Then the camera zooms into the occupants’ (Rachel’s and her boss’s) faces, and it’s clear that they’re having sex. it isn’t clear whether they’re using the fold-down seats to advantage.
But then many couples have had sex in cars that didn’t have fold-down seats. Good movie, BTW.
I had ’63 Rambler Classic during high school and beyond. Let’s just it was a very versatile car. One of the girls I dated drove a ’60 Rambler SW. What were her parents thinking when they let her have this car?
Cool article. I had no idea about the bed seats, but that’s an innovative concept, even if it fell in the netherworld between those that would only stay in hotels/ motels/ cabins/ lodging, and those that truly wanted to rough it in a tent while camping. I think that the stigma of someone living in their car was probably enough that even if you slept in your car willingly, that it had lower class connotations. Nash/ Rambler/ AMC had some innovative concepts over the years, but more often than not, it turned out to be only something that may have been interesting or a curiosity. I suppose that, in a weird way, this pre-dated the much maligned Pontiac Aztek in a way…..people just don’t generally want to camp/ sleep in their vehicle, unless it’s a motorhome (or a plush shaggin’ wagon styled van).
Things were different in the 50’s & 60’s. I remember going camping with my parents in our ’59 Chevrolet SW. My parents and my little sister slept in the back with the rear seat back folded forward and I slept across the front bench seat. The tailgate in the down position had the Coleman stove for cooking. Not fancy but it worked and everyone had fun. I also remember there were some tents that attached to the back of station wagons. People also would sleep on the beaches in those days without worry. It was a different world back then. I remember a buddy of mine and I would take my boat and go camp on the sand spit which is now Salishan and is built up with houses now in the mid 60’s. Cooked fresh caught crabs and fish over driftwood fires and sleep in sleeping bags next to 6′ diameter driftwood logs. The nearest thing to Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn that I ever came close to in my life. Too bad kids today cannot experience these things today, if a parent allowed a 14 year old to do the same as I did they would be thrown in jail for child endangerment or some similar charge.
Where do you start with comments on the first pic? The guys look like twins, for that extra twist…
The Peugeot 504 and I believe the entire Peugeot line up to the 505 had similar fold-flat seats. i had one in college and they were pretty comfortable for whatever you had in mind
Reclining seats were not a Rambler exclusive. While mom’s 64 Classic had reclining seats, so did dad’s 60 Lark. Spent quite a bit of freeway time in the Lark, and I used the recliner to tip the seat back a couple notches for a snooze.
The car in the pic? I think a 64 American. Same steering wheel and door handles as a 64 Classic, but the Classic and Ambassador had a raised binnacle for the instrument cluster, while the dash in the pic does not show a binnacle.
The car with the vertical headlamps is a 1966 Ambassador. The 1965 Ambassador also had the vertical lights, but had no wrap around trim on the front. 1964 models had horizontal lights, similar to the 1963 Ambassador.
Of course, just about every car has reclining seats now….
Glen H, Where does one start with comments on the first pic?
Something about the twins’ hair, ain’t it?
Was some future presidential candidate ever employed as an advertising agency model?
“Automotive trivia for $200.00 Alex.”
“Here is your clue: “Frequently frumpy 1960’s car associated with grandmothers, but coveted by their randy grandsons.”
“What is the Rambler?”
Who wears short shorts?
On black vinyl!
I don’t remember which model it was (or even if it was a Rambler/AMC product) but I vividly recall seeing a review of one of the earlier reclining seat cars where the pivot point was actually a few inches above the seat cushion. In effect, the person in the seat would never be comfortable since the seat back did not pivot in the same place that the human body did.
In fact, it might even be considered dangerous if someone were in a reclined position and in an accident since they could conceivably suffer a serious back injury.
That may be the optional passenger recliner on the ’69 Skylarks. I’ve read that it’s pivot point was higher than most.
Don’t think the “reclining seats” in our “70 Rebel” ever got reclined. Not “positive” on that point though.
One of Chevrolet’s 1960s dealer ‘propaganda’ films (Duel in the Desert?) manages to turn AMC’s recliners into a disadvantage as our sap hops in, goes to adjust the seat an has it unexpectedly recline.
Anyone else notice that the vinyl used on the inset middle portion of the driver’s seat is different from what was used on the passenger and rear seats?
The stitching appears different, too.
It was common for manufacturers to use pre-production models for publicity and glamour photos. Using different stitching and upholstery patterns gave executives a chance to see both before making the final decision for production.
True, but kind of odd to do that in a shot that was presumably destined for and ad or brochure. You’d think they’d at least airbrush it to where it all matched.
Another strange aspect of the photo is that it suggests that the two men are twins – they are dressed alike, have the same hair color and style, and even same build.
The white leg hair suggests perfect tanning, not shaved and sprayed like models are nowadays. Pool chlorine would ruin that blond hair, so no tan lines when seated means they could be
I don’t remember cheerleaders at cross-country or track meets, and the megaphone placement is a bit suggestive. Perhaps she’s a naughty asst. coach. At least her legs are crossed.
In the late 60’s some friends had their period correct muscle cars, others their nice to junky cars.
I had my 60 Rambler. To say it was unique would be an understatement.
I remember the experience as long periods of driving excitement mixed with unexpected moments of stark terror.
Thanks to their junky trunion front suspension I twice experienced the front tires trying to depart from the rest of the car while driving. (1. RH trunion failure 2. LH lower arm failure). Plus many others. That’s when I learned how to fix cars.
The only bragging right I had was the front seat backs lowered to make a bed.
Great storybook tales.
And some real ones, too.
As soon as word got out that Rambler seats fully reclined I couldn’t find any girls willing to drive in the damn thing .
Good thing by that time I had my own apartment, they were just leery of being seen in a rolling bed .
Phil ~ that looks very similar to a ’59 a guy I knew in high school had, three on the tree and a dead overdrive .
We had 2 Rambler Classic Wagons (a ’61 and a ’63) and since my sister and I were still pretty young we slept in the “way back” many a time (including after the “kiddie” part of the drive in movie while my parents watched the feature).
Wonder what they did once head restraints became mandatory (was that ’69?). Guess you could still remove them on some, but they’d otherwise make a lump in the middle of the bed. Our ’63 was our last Rambler.