Some big things start small. Take Terry Gale’s car collection for instance, which started with just one special car, his father’s 1954 Nash Ambassador. Restoring that car is where Terry says he “got the bug” for old cars, particularly American Motors products. When I asked Terry how many cars he currently has in his collection, he answered, ”It’s getting kind of hard to count them, 600 something.” Yes, that’s 600, as in six, zero, zero. The small town my wife was born in doesn’t have 600 cars in it! As you might guess, Terry doesn’t keep his cars in any town but rather on his property near Elizabeth, Colorado he appropriately calls Rambler Ranch.
Terry says his goal in creating Rambler Ranch is to preserve the history of American Motors Corporation. His "oldest" car is a replica of a 1902 Rambler, but the collection’s focus really starts in 1916 when Charles Nash left General Motors, bought the Jeffery Car Company and started the Nash Motor Car Company. American Motors history began in 1954 with the merger of Nash and Hudson and continued until 1988, the last year of production for AMC vehicles. Models of the Nash and AMC cars you will see at Rambler Ranch include Americans, Metropolitans, Classics, Ambassadors, Statesmans, Hornets, Marlins, Matadors, Rebels, Javelins, AMXs, Gremlins, Pacers and Concords, to name a few. There are rare cars such as the Nash-Healey sports car and a one of a kind Nash prototype coupe called the 1956 Pinin Farina Special. Since Nash and later AMC owned the Kelvinator Corporation, there is also a separate building of Kelvinator appliances including refrigerators, freezers, stoves and metal kitchen cabinets. Terry says he likes all cars and has 37 other manufactures included in his collection.
Not being a car nut herself, I usually can’t talk my wife into attending many car events with me, but she loves going to Rambler Ranch. Displayed alongside the cars are mannequins dressed in designer clothes for the time period of the car. She loves seeing the 1950s era Kelvinator pink or turquoise refrigerators, stoves and kitchen cabinets. A 1930s vintage Sinclair gasoline station at Rambler Ranch houses a gift shop and ice cream parlor.
With the goal of preserving the history of AMC, Terry is continually expanding Rambler Ranch. His plan is to have each year of vehicle represented starting with a 1917 Nash and continuing through the last AMC model year of 1988. Sound impossible? Terry already has a car from each year 1947 through 1988 and he has most years from 1917 to 1946. Currently he is putting up a building that will hold Jeeps produced by AMC from 1970 to 1987, as well as Eagle vehicles. He also hopes to collect Wheelhorse tractors which were produced by AMC.
Terry opens his collection to car clubs that have pre-arranged a tour, which will take the best part of a day to see this expansive collection. There is an indoors kitchen with a large outside picnic area where clubs can have a potluck after touring Rambler Ranch. Between thirty to forty car clubs tour Rambler Ranch each year. For 2013, one of the clubs touring Rambler Ranch will be the AMC Rambler Club (AMCRC), which is holding its national convention in Denver August 15-17th which will include a day at Rambler Ranch (8/16). If your car club would like to tour Rambler Ranch, you can find out more and make arrangements at: www.ramblerranch.com.
Enjoy the attached slide show with some of the many cars on display at Rambler Ranch. This slide show focuses on the older Nash and AMC vehicles from Terry’s collection. Next week I will run another slide show showing some of the later AMC vehicles including muscle cars produced by AMC. Since there are so many cars at Rambler Ranch, I may even run a third slide show to give you a good overview of this impressive collection. The attached video set to the tune of “Little Nash Rambler” gives a good visual overview of the variety of cars produced by American Motors Corporation.
Trivia Question: What year did Nash introduce the “Bed in a Car” feature, allowing the car’s interior to be converted into a sleeping area?
Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: The Czechoslovakian Tatra had a unit body construction, air cooled pancake engine (6 or 8 cylinder) and an aerodynamic shape. After touring the factory, Adolf Hitler reportedly told Dr. Porsche that the Tatra was the type of car he wanted produced for use in Germany.
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