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Jim and Judy Billings' 1959 Rambler American Wagon

January 2009

Jim and Judy Billings' 1959 Rambler American Wagon

Jim Billings was the proud owner of a Rambler American coupe. He maintains that he’s always been a Chevy guy but the neat little coupe generated a growing desire to own a Rambler American station wagon.

One day an old man pulled into Jim’s driveway and asked if he owned the Rambler, and would he be interested in a wagon? Yes was the answer and away they went to take a look at the ’59 Rambler that the man had bought brand new.
This was in 1990. Jim says as soon as he got the car home he had a vision of a little ’56 Chevy Nomad. He drew the body trim on with chalk, looked at it, and then disassembled the car for a rebuild.
The body was solid and complete, but the floors had rusted away and were in need of repair. The body was dropped onto a shortened Chevy S-10 frame. New floors and a firewall were then added.
Being a Chevy guy, Jim happened to have a cross-rammed 327 stashed in the corner of his shop, just waiting for the right project. He decided the Rambler was the one, and mated it with a 700R4.
The body was shot in ’56 Chevy Tropical Turquoise and Indian Ivory before the Nomad stainless steel trim was airbrushed by the very talented Mitch Kim.
The interior was done by Dennis Lamm who reupholstered everything with ’56 Chevy materials while a 13-inch ’59 Impala steering wheel was added to the column. Jim says that it took ten years to finish the project. Sometimes several months of hard work would go by and it would look as if nothing had changed. He would lose interest and cover it up for a while only to catch the fever once again and continue on. In the end, he says that he just stuck with it and stayed true to his initial vision of having a “little” 1956 Nomad.

Tech Specs

Engine

  • Engine Manufacturer: Chevrolet
  • Displacement: 327
  • Induction: Dual quads, cross ram intake
  • Ignition: HEI
  • Heads: Dart
  • Headers: Custom
  • Exhaust: 2.5” Flowmaster

Drivetrain

  • Transmission: 700R4
  • Shifter: Stock
  • Differential: Chevrolet 10-Bolt

Chassis

  • Frame: Chevy S-10
  • Front Suspension: Chevy S-10
  • Rear Suspension: Chevy S-10
  • Steering: Chevy S-10
  • Brakes: Disc
  • Wheels: Front: 7x15 American Salt Flats  Rear: 8x15 American Salt Flats
  • Body Manufacturer:  AMC
  • Body Style: Station wagon
  • Modifications: 544 Volvo hood, 1 piece side glass, molded in tailgate, smoothed bumpers
  • Paint:  ’56 Chevy Tropical Turquoise, Indian Ivory, airbrushed ’56 Nomad side trim

Interior

  • Dash: Custom
  • Steering Wheel: 13” 1959 Impala
  • Gauges: Classic
  • Seats: Bucket
  • Upholstery:  1956 Nomad style in 1956 Chevy fabric

 

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