From Classic to Iconic: The 1957 Rambler Rebel Takes the Fast Lane

When it comes to cars, George Romney, the former president and CEO of American Motors Corporation (AMC), once expressed his indifference towards Ramblers being in the slow lane, as long as there were plenty of them. However, the 1957 Rebel defied this notion by embodying the spirit of speed and performance. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of the 1957 Rambler Rebel and discover why it was made for the fast lane.

The Evolution of Rambler

In 1957, Rambler emerged as a new brand under the umbrella of AMC, replacing the fading Nash and Hudson marques. The lineup consisted of three Rambler models, each with its unique characteristics. The entry-level model, previously known as the Nash Rambler or Hudson Rambler, was now simply referred to as the “Rambler Six.” It featured a 195.6-cubic-inch OHV inline-six engine, which had its roots in the renowned flathead Nash sixes from the 1930s. Another addition to the Rambler family was the Rambler V-8, equipped with the powerful 190-horsepower, 250-cubic-inch AMC V-8 engine introduced in the 1956 Nash Ambassador and Hudson Hornet.

Unleashing the Rebel

Among the Rambler lineup, the Rebel stood out as the epitome of performance. It boasted a bored-out version of the 250-cubic-inch engine, pushing its displacement to an impressive 327 cubic inches. Initially planned to incorporate Bendix electronic fuel injection like the upcoming 1958 Chrysler Corporation cars, the production model instead featured a Carter WCFB four-barrel carburetor. The Rebel V-8 shared the same power rating of 255 horsepower as the ’57 Ambassador and Hornet 327s. However, it went a step further by offering higher compression (9.5:1, half a point more than the Ambassador and Hornet) and solid lifters. Combined with its lightweight build and standard 4.10:1 gears, the Rebel became a true rocket on wheels.

Unmatched Performance

The Rebel’s acceleration was nothing short of extraordinary. It could achieve a zero-to-60 mph dash in just 7.5 seconds, surpassing the likes of fuel-injected Bel Air, triple-carb Super 88, dual-quad 300C, blown Fairlane 500, and most other cars tested by Motor Trend in 1957, second only to the fuel-injected Corvette. However, the Rebel was more than just a Rambler V-8 with a powerful engine. It boasted adjustable shock absorbers, stabilizer bars, and offered the choice between the Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed with R11 overdrive or the “Flashaway Hydra-Matic” automatic transmission. Interestingly, the Rebel with Hydra-Matic drive featured a 3.15:1 final drive ratio instead of the steeper gears found in the overdrive models.

Exquisite Design and Features

In terms of aesthetics, the Rebel sported a striking Silver Grey paint with copper-anodized side spears on its Custom Four-Door Hardtop body. The interior featured custom trim with black nylon and silver-gray vinyl, complementing the overall elegance of the car. Additionally, a radio came as standard equipment. All these enhancements came at a premium of $358 over the comparable Rambler V-8 Custom.

Rarity and Legacy

The Rebel was truly a special model, with only 1,500 units produced in 1957. Although the Rebel name would return in 1958, the subsequent models did not match the same level of performance. The Rebel designation replaced the Rambler V-8 nomenclature for the 250-powered cars, and the 327 engine was exclusively available in the new Rambler Ambassador, which succeeded the Nash model after the departure of Nash and Hudson. American Motors, having proven its capabilities, chose to focus on its mainstream models for the general public and left the horsepower battles to the Big Three for the next decade.


The 1957 Rambler Rebel will always be remembered as a remarkable achievement in the realm of performance cars. Its impressive speed, stunning design, and limited production numbers make it an icon of automotive history. The Rebel’s ability to combine power, agility, and style truly set it apart from its contemporaries.


Q: How many 1957 Rambler Rebels were produced?

A: Only 1,500 units of the 1957 Rambler Rebel were manufactured.

Q: What was the acceleration of the Rebel?

A: The 1957 Rambler Rebel could achieve a zero-to-60 mph dash in 7.5 seconds.

Q: What were the unique features of the Rebel?

A: The Rebel boasted adjustable shock absorbers, stabilizer bars, and a choice between the Borg-Warner T-85 three-speed with R11 overdrive or “Flashaway Hydra-Matic” automatic transmission.

Q: How did the Rebel compare to other cars of its time?

A: The Rebel outperformed most cars tested by Motor Trend in 1957, second only to the fuel-injected Corvette.

Q: How did the Rebel contribute to AMC’s legacy?

A: The Rebel showcased American Motors’ capability to create high-performance vehicles and left a lasting impression on automotive enthusiasts.

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