After the success of the Chevy Nomad showed that there was a market for stylish station wagons, American Motors introduced the Country Club four door hardtop wagon in 1956. The new wagons did well. By 1958 Rambler wagons were the third best selling station wagons in the U.S., augmenting the success the company was having with their compact cars. Ramblers were nicely equipped and the reverse angle C-Pillar inherited from Nash gave the cars a distinctive look that Ford and Mercury would later use. By 1958, the large Ramblers also no longer had the somewhat overstyled Nash front end and instead sported a much cleaner, more contemporary look that doesn’t look out of place with the classic 1957 and ’58 models from Ford, GM and Mopar. That unusual C-Pillar also contributed to the Rambler wagons’ unique stepped down roofline which was sold as a functional styling feature, though it was mostly due to cost cutting. AMC promoted the reverse C pillar as the “Fashion Safety Arch”, a built in roll bar. Actually, to save money AMC stylist William Reddig came up with the idea of using the existing sedan roof, and extending it with a welded on steel panel. That saved the cost of an entirely new stamping but keeping the sedan’s roofline also allowed the use of the sedan’s rear doors. To make it look like it was designed that way, Reddig added a roof rack as standard equipment. Besides the unusual styling, according to some sources the AMC wagon was the first station wagon with a rear window that rolled down into the tailgate. Wagons of that era typically had a clamshell rear window that flipped open, like on the ’58 Olds Fiesta wagon.
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