Do you remember Nash Ramblers? Kind of boxy looking, relatively inexpensive, the butt of the 1958 novelty song “Beep Beep” by the Playmates?
Technically, I’ve never owned a Nash Rambler but my wife has. That’s her in the picture with her first car, a white Nash Rambler that she bought from her brother for $300. Ramblers were made by the American Motors Company, or AMC. The first brand new car I ever owned was a 1969 AMC Javelin, a sort of Camaro knockoff. It was one of the most reliable, fun cars I’ve ever owned. That car took me through my entire service career, including many enjoyable camping and sightseeing trips throughout California.
I’ve also owned an AMC Hornet Sportabout, which is as close to the anti-Javelin as you can get. It was definitely not a fun car to drive.
It was a post by Craig Manson over at Geneablogie that got me thinking about cars in my family. Craig’s family has got to be among the rarest of Nash Rambler owners – they actually waited near the factory at Kenosha, Wis., a few days while their car was being built. That’s some serious Rambler love.
Cars have probably played significant roles in your family history. It was quite common even in the blue collar neighborhoods of my youth for families to buy a new car every two or three model years. I grew up in a Chevy family and took my first turn behind the wheel in a sensible 1961 four-door family model. Stick shift, a then-standard V8, no seat belts or airbags, about the size of a battleship when compared to today’s models.
My dad later switched to Fords, apparently after a Chevy let him down, but you’ll never catch him driving a foreign car.
You’ll probably find a lot of family history-type bloggers writing about cars over the next couple of weeks. That’s the topic of the current Carnival of Genealogy. Think about how cars have affected you in your lifetime and incorporate that in your family history.
On Wednesday I’ll post an essay on my first – and all-time favorite – car.
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian who helps people preserve their family histories. To learn more, visit his web site or send him an e-mail.
Photo of Linda Lehmer and her little Nash Rambler by lwlehmer.