Famous for being a car that goes very fast in second gear*, the Nash Rambler was a popular car in the compact segment. Sold under both the Nash and Hudson names, the model was discontinued in 1955, the new car featured modified Nash "Airflyte" styling, to better integrate with senior Nash models. This, in combination with economical engines and a low price, helped the Rambler to be the first really popular American compact car, and it remained in production until 1955, not long after the formation of American Motors Corporation.
In 1957, AMC was in need of a compact car, something to slot in between the tiny two seat Metropolitan and the larger family sized Rambler Six. Fortunately, AMC had retained the previous model's tooling and it was a fairly simple job to update the styling. The "new" car made it's debut in 1958 as the Rambler American.
The American was well reviewed, praised for it's low price and economy, and proved to be a popular car throughout it's three year lifespan. In 1961, all new styling appeared, ending the Rambler's visual links to earlier "Airflyte" Nashes.
*a reference to the Playmate's 1958 song "Beep Beep".