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Q&A: October 3, 2019 Edition

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Q. I can’t find anything about this Nash Rambler Model 5417, 1 of 1071.
— Jon Sand, Fargo, N.D.

A. As you say, it’s one of 1,071 built for 1954. Its full name is 1954 Nash Rambler Super Country Club hardtop coupe. When Nash introduced the compact Rambler in 1950, part of its appeal was that it came fully equipped in Custom trim, including radio and heater, all for the reasonable price of $1,808. By 1951, a “downmarket” Super model, the Suburban station wagon, had crept in.

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For 1954, as the compact market got more crowded and competitors such as the Henry J and Hudson’s Jet began selling as “stripper” models, Nash created more Super Ramblers. Thus arose the Rambler Super two- and four-door sedans, 5416 and 5415, respectively, and an even more downmarket 5406 DeLuxe two-door sedan, which sold for $1,550. The Super Country Club hardtop was priced at $1,800, compared to the Custom at $1,950 (3,612 built). Radios and heaters were optional on the Supers, and interiors may have been less well appointed, too.

Interestingly, the most popular 1954 Rambler was the Custom Cross Country four-door station wagon, with 9,039 sold. For 1955, sales surged to 25,617 and a Hudson-badged version sold a further 12,023, making it the best-selling 1955 Hudson of any type.

Q. I own this 1936 Ford sedan delivery that seems to have been extended 34 inches by the manufacturer or the aftermarket. I have never seen another one and would appreciate any information about what I think could be a rare commercial vehicle put out by Ford. There are slots for rollers in the bed, which makes me think it could have been a coroner’s wagon or a transport for a funeral home. It seems like a standard sedan delivery would be too short, and a panel truck would be too big.
— Don LeBaron, via email

A. I think that’s exactly what it is. From 1933, The Shop of Siebert in Toledo, Ohio, modified a number of Ford models for “professional” purposes: ambulances, hearses, service cars and combinations. James K. Wagner, in his Crestline book “Ford Trucks Since 1905,” says the company probably extended the Fords’ wheelbases with kits from W.G. Reeves, which had produced lengthening kits for Model A, AA, B and BB trucks. The 1933 Model 40 cars were stretched either 24 or 36 inches. The book illustrates an 8-door, 11-seat 1936 sedan bus used by Hollywood actor Wallace Beery for hunting trips.

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After World War II, The Shop of Siebert built similar professional vehicles on half-ton Ford truck chassis. The sad 1946-’47 Siebert-Ford ambulance below has been for sale on a Connecticut roadside near me for a couple of years. While snapping the photo I was interested to note that the body sheet metal is applied over wood structural members.

The Shop of Siebert began as a carriage-builder in 1853, and continued in the ambulance and hearse market into the early 1960s, by which time most were built from sedan delivery vehicles and station wagons.

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