Rad Rambler: <br />A 573hp Zombie Wagon From The ’60s

What do you get when you take an old station wagon from a long-vanished American brand and drop in a motor from another fallen manufacturer and then add a ton of retro-inspired drag style? You get The Radiator Lady – a 1959 Rambler Cross Country Wagon that I spotted at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona last month.

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Originally I was going to post a Spotlight of this car to complement our regular event coverage, but then I realized that this wild Rambler would be the perfect addition to our Wagon Week festivities. The Cross Country is owned by Shawn and Kathy Parker, and while it’s certainly no show queen, it’s got as much character and personality as any car I’ve seen in recent memory.

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Built as a tribute car to the radical gassers of the early ’60s, the Rambler features a classic nose-up stance with a straight axle conversion up front and all of the patina you could ever want.

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Inside the engine bay sits a 410 cubic inch Oldsmobile V8 that’s been thoroughly modified and injected with a bit of nitrous. The result? A very impressive 573 horsepower and 529 pound feet of torque. The trans is a GM overdrive automatic.

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The styling has been nailed with a yellow-painted undercarriage, an aluminum fuel tank up front, and a combination of Foresight Ventures 15-inch skinnies and wide Halibrand Sprint mags in the rear with Hurst slicks.

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Inside, the cockpit is stripped down and fitted with a wood-rimmed steering wheel, aircraft switches and Dodge van seats with harnesses from a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

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Perhaps best of all, I was actually contacted by the owners of this crazy machine asking if we want to come check out the car and hop in for a drive. “It drives nice even though it’s a bit hairy-chested in the engine department” is what I’ve been told.

Hmmm… Something tells me we might have to take the Parkers up on their offer.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike
mike@speedhunters.com

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18 comments

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1

this was made for those days when you was late to take the children to school.... 

great wagon!!

2

I've become a fan of gassers of late, and am certainly excited to see a proper write-up on this cool machine!

3

I walked through the Suede Palace at least three times, and I never stopped to look at this car. Gassers have never done it for me, and recently I had a conversation with a friend trying to figure out why... I think the bottom line is stance. I realize it's all about weight distribution for the drag scene, but still... They strike me funny sitting as high as they often do! The only model that I think regularly pulls it off is the c. '41 Willys, which are obviously popular in the style.

4
Speedhunters_Bryn

Did you drive it yet?

5
Speedhunters_Bryn

What about now?

6

Dang Mike -- You didn't even mention that old cooler can mounted up there next to the gas tank --- I haven't seen one of those in a Brazilian years

7

Wow this just blew me off my seat!!!!!! hands down the most insane Gasser i've seen let alone in a bad ass 60's wagon!!!  So much awesome..

8

Go ahead do the drive.

9

a 6.7L"thoroughly modified" engine that produces 570hp isn't impressive at all.......85hp/l is pretty poor actually....

10

ae70 Not too bad for 50 + year old technology me thinks. But these cars have never been about horsepower per liter. :)

11

OnCam31 Thanks!

12

gliebau To each their own, but I love the stance.

13
Shawn and Kathy Parker

Yes ae70, 85hp/l isn't all that impressive until you consider that this number is with out the nitrous, a roller cam or fuel injection. You also missed the fact that the torque is almost identical to the hp. Add the 125 hp hit on the nitrous and this 700hp 750 lbft 2600 lb unit body racer will put many on the trailer who never saw that coming.

14

ae70  Go back to whacking off to pictures of GTRs.  Horsepower per liter....jeezus....take that bench racing crap elsewhere.

15

Shawn and Kathy Parker  I fell in love with this car when I saw it at Cruisin' for a Cure last year.... and took plenty of photos.  I saw yesterday that it's up for sale and, were I not looking for a job right now, I'd be showing up at your house with a briefcase full of cash...

16

just remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

17
Shawn and Kathy Parker

We always keep the front tires on the ground in school zones.

18
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