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AMC Rambler Aficionados

alextalext Posts: 63
Anybody out there a rambler owner? My first car
was a '66 AMC Rambler Classic 770 that I bought
from my uncle for $1000. It was sitting in his
garage for 20 years, so it only had about 60k on it
when I got it in 1996. It was a really nice
blue-green color that the manual described as
"Coronado Aqua", which shows the conquistador
revialism of the 60's. It was a huge v8 that
sounded like a demon and could be heard coming from
a mile away. This was due to use of a "heat
riser" that over the years disintegrated and left a
gaping hole in the exhaust system. My mechanic
told me he could fix it for about 5 or 6 hundred
dollars, but I figured what the hell cause it sure
scares the hell out of the neighbors. Well, my
rambler is long gone. After driving it for a year
the brakes failed (knew I should've got those
fixed) and I got in an accident. The front was
smashed in and needed a new radiator, water pump
and fan. It cost more than a $1000 to fix and
after that just deteriorated more and more. By the
second year it was falling apart left and right.
Since my uncle lived in Wisconsin, where they salt
the ground to deter ice, the whole underbelly was
rusted to pure hell. The floor on the driver side
was wide open like those cars in the Flintstones
where they use their feet as brakes. And in Miami,
this made for a very uncomfortable ride whenever
it rained (nearly everyday). So, after more than 2
years and nearly $2000 in repair costs, I junked
the rambler for $80. It was a sad, sad day and I
still miss her. Now, every once in a blue moon
when I see a rambler on the road, I remember her.


    I do enjoy Ramblers especially from the late fifties to the early sixties. The bathtub shapes during the earlier part of this eara were really funky.

    In 1993 I bought a 65 Classic 660 4dr from a young lady in So. Cal. for $600. The car was totally original and except for its faded paint and shreded drivers seat cover the car was original and complete.

    I drove the car around for several years as secondary "fun" transportation and really got a kick of of its "Tri Poised Power" six banger engine and the "Frig-o-matic" air conditioner.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    And don't forget the "Flash-o-Matic" transmission with the square push buttons and the square "start" button...

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  • ralph124cralph124c Posts: 36
    Hey-enough criticism of the old marque! I am proud to say I owned a AMC car in the 1970's-an AMC Concord. It had reclining bucket seats, and an unkillable straight-6 engine (232 cu in). That car could be fixed with string and bubble gum, and junkyards were full of parts.It had a tiny little one-barrel carb that you could rebuild in 15 minutes. Istill remember doeing a complete tuneup, for about $15.00 in parts! I drove the thing for 127,000 miles, then traded it to a Mitsubishi dealer. I lost the title, but the dealer took it anyway. About 3 years later, got a call from a used car dealer in another state-he wanted to sell it (he put another 100K miles on it)!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,346
    I actually owned 2 in the aerly 80's (don't laugh). !st was a '74 Gremlin X, about 3 different shades of yellow. Actually a prety good car. Only car I ever owned with 8 speakers in the stereo (not sure if they all worked!). Later had a '75 Hornet hatchback. Decent car.

    Both were 6cyl 3spd sticks. Hornet must have been a column shift originally, later converted to floor shift, because whenever I shifted, the sleeve on the steering column rotated. Occasionally the linkage got hung up too. Couldn't kill the engines though.

    Sometimes I miss the good old days when my cars cost less than the tax on a new one. I even knew what most of the parts were!

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Well I'm glad to hear from some AMC lovers.
    I didn't even know until recently that AMC (before its demise in 87) was based in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is where I lived as a kid. I guess that's why my dad had an ambassdor and my grandmother a pacer (acrually, I think she still has that crazy thing).

    Anyway, I'm hoping to someday have enough time and money to restore an old AMC. My favorites would be the 63, 64 and 66 classics, or the little 2 door Americans from 64 and 65. Thoughthe big 64 ambassador convertibles are beautiful as well. The 70's models are fast, but just don't thrill me as much as the 60's. However, I would to get my hands on a '69 SC/Rambler (scrambler?), drop a 401 in it and tear the tires to shreds. And waste a lot of gas. That would be great...
    To be honest with you I've never thought of AMC products as master pieces in design. Durable yes, stylish no. They were just basic down to earth meat and potatoe American automobiles. By the seventies they were nearly obsolete the day you drove your car off the lot.

    If you go back and look at photo's of new models from all American marques for any given year the AMC product alway stand out to me as the black sheep of the family. They never seemed to design their cars along the lines of any current fashion trends. They always seem to stand out on there own in a funky sort of backwards way.

    These cars were mostly so far removed from the mainstream that even today they still capture the imagination as to who in their right mind could have come up with such an idea for a mainstream comercial automobile.

    I admire these cars today mostly becuase I know that it really was ony the very off their rocker die hard AMC fan who would have bought them originally. Waynes World the movie has made the Pacer infamous but I'm embarased to admit that my engineer Dad aspired to own one when they were first introduced.

    My father never did aquire one but I just may yet find that cherry AMC Pacer that "ALEXT" has put up for sale from his grandmother's estate. I'd buy it more for what it represents in underachievement in design and engineering than for it's power, styling, and taste.
  • ralph124cralph124c Posts: 36
    I'd also add that AMC was a PRACTICAL car-they made the same engines and transmissions for so long that parts were always available and cheap. This is an egineering philosophy that I happen to agree with-contrast the situation today-new engines come up every few years, and there is a proliferstion of new designs, which is why parst from one year's production frequently won't fit the next. This is why an air filter for a SATURN costs $20.00, while one for an AMC (from 1960-1979) cost $2.50. I really belive that the car industry needs to narrow the number of variations (of engines, trannys, etc.) because it is becoming impossible to stock all of the parts.Why not make the same car for years, and fix all of the bugs?-after 10 years, we should have a zero-defect car.
  • cheffycheffy Posts: 4
    sitting in my garage as I speak now is 2 1969 AMC A.M.X.'s

    I was take the engine apart to figure what was wrong with the one and I found a hole in the timing chain cover...... I am looking for another one to put on so I can drive the car this summer...... it has a 390 ci engine and lots of toys so I am excited if I can get a cover so I can drive it!
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    I was driving south on the 405 yesterday through west L.A. when I saw a semi hauling one of those double-decker car carriers full of smashed cars, probably on the way to the body shop or the dump. Well, hanging off the very end of the trailer was a green Javelin. I recognized the Javeline immediately by its signature grill with th red, white and blue AMC logo. She was dirty, but as a whole didn't look too bad. No evidence of a crash like the other doomed vehicles. The interior didn't look bad either, although there was little I could tell from the road. The plate read "AMXTRA", which gave anyone who didn't recognize it for what it was the final clue to its existence. I kinda felt bad, like I did when I sent my Rambler off to the junk yard a year ago. I'ts too bad that out of so few AMC's left around, many get junked every year. How I wish I had the time, energy and money to get a hold of an old Javeline and restore it to its previous glory.
    Sent off to the junk yard in droves is right. They were and still are the antithesis of American automobile engineering. The only American automobile manufacturer close to their level was Chrysler who eventually bought what was left of them back in the eighties.

    A word to the wise, buy the cleanest low mileage AMC you can find and be done with it. Restoring these cars is a lost cause. The $'s spent surely will never be returned. Look at prices for old Kaisers, Hudsons, and Nashes you'll see the whole story right there in the price guide book.
  • alextalext Posts: 63
    Hey wait a minute, it may be true that AMC's are big, inefficient monsters that drink a large quantity of gas, but that shouldn't caused a person to give up on restoration. If you step back and take a look at the restoration industry as a whole, you'll realize that there are so few classic cars that will actually "return" the monies put into them that it is no longer even feasible to consider making money off a restoration.

    AMC's in particular are an independant breed of cars that appeal to a niche of American car enthusiasts. While many Americans are content to fix up 57 chevy's, 65 mustangs, 64 Impala's, and other generic "old cars"; there are a select few people who really love AMC's. Usually because they grew up around them or just appreciate their oddball design and performance qualities.

    So don't tell me not to restore a car because it's got bad gas mileage or because it's not profitable, because I'll tell you #1 I do not plan to use a restored AMC as a daily driver and #2 I'm not trying to make any money, I'm just trying to relieve old times. So take your financial worries and your negativity elsewhere.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    Parts were a real pain.

    Back in the mid seventies, when I ran a large shop, we would cringe when a Rambler came in.

    First, Rambler owners were, well...different...but I won't go there!

    Now, if a Buick needed a real wheel bearing, no problem. Call the parts house and tall them we needed a real wheel bearing (or whatever) for a 71 Le Sabre. The part would come and it would fit. End of story.

    A Rambler was different! We would be asked," Does it have a Dana axle? " Or what is the VIN number?" Or, " Does it have an ID tag under one of the differential bolts?"

    I only said wheel bearing as an example, but it was always something! Despite out best efforts, the parts were usually wrong and we would have to send the old part back as a sample.

    The mechanics hated Ramblers! They would tie up a stall waiting for parts.

    Other than that, they weren't bad cars, but IMHO, there were much better choices!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    I meant REAR wheel bearing!

    Oh, and brake parts were the worst!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Well, you are certainly correct to insist that anyone has the right to restore any car they wish.

    My own indifference to AMC Ramblers is that they represent to me a complete lack of passion and peronality--they are a total acquiesence to utilitarianism. You sit in one, and you instantly feel humble. The American is somehow unamerican in that respect.

    This is not to say they are the only car "guilty" of this--there are many, and this is probably why interest in the Rambler and similar types of cars is so underwhelming.

    But I could see someone going through the agony of restoration if they thought utility and plainess were real virtues to be preserved. It's just a rather odd point of view in current car culture, and odd points of view carry their penalties, such as indifference or even disapproval from the mainstream people.

    I mean, I don't get it, but heck, I've been wrong before.

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  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Posts: 219
    It always seemed to me that those people who owned Ramblers were those who didn't really want to own a car, but realized they had to.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Oh, like Volvo owners...a clever observation!

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    You bust me up! I've owned and driven a 65 Rambler in the 90's and actually enjoyed its plebian character. I'd rank the Rambler equal to my 65 Nova Wagon, but I know the market thinks different. These were absolutly basic transportation and both the Nova and Rambler are very endearing to me.

    Just two weeks ago we bought a 1996 Volvo Wagon and it gives me a similar feeling, although in a modern form, to owning both the Nova and Rambler. The Volvo is very basic, very well tested and understood, and safe as a brick. The engine in modern terms is exactly like the old Nova and Rambler straight sixs, slow but deliberate.

    You'd never guess what my daily driver is, a 1982 Gold Lincoln Mark VI. I'm working on restoring a 1949 Packard 4dr Super 8, and own a Lincoln Mark III and 1978 Cadillac Seville too. I'm not sure where I might fit on "badgerpaul's" Rambler ownership scale but I certainly do appreciate these automobiles.

    Now Shiftright try to place me in the market! I'm certainly a loon I'm sure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Well, you are definitely a Big Car guy, so we've got that down! You must have been a tank commander in your past lifetime.

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    Thanks for the humor. I guess I should have enlisted for the Army when I had the chance. I do love big old AMERICAN metal. You'll never know the joy I have at putting one of these vehicles up the tail pipe of a rice rocket on one of our Los Angeles freeways.

    I know that my cars are total gas hounds and definitely not the cream of their crop but they do a dang good job getting me down the freeways in style, comfort, and intimidation. I'd never own a SUV Chevy Suburban but I'd nearly die for a two door Hudson Hornet. Put that car up nearly anyone's @#$ and watch them move out of the way!

    I prefer the seven lost sister marques because they offer something different. They were American marques but through various unique situations they each slipped into history. I personally think that the Rambler was not all that bad of a car it just didn't have the obvious clear and current marketing story to move the metal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Well, you have a forgiving memory, and I guess that's good.

    So the "seven lost sisters" to name them for the class?

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    Hudson, Kaiser, Fraiser, Nash and maybe Studabaker, and or Packard, Tucker, Hupmobile and or Desoto. I don't know, you tell us teacher. I just remeber the Seven Lost Sisters but I don't really know what that refers to.
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioPosts: 759
    Tank Commander...mweeheeheehee...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Hi Frederick,

    Oh, I didn't know them either...I thought you were gonna handle that one...actually, I think you were pretty right on, except for Tucker, which I think was a pretty minor player to be a real "sister"....let's see....I'd guess these:

    Studebaker, Hudson, Kaiser, Frazer, Crosley, Desoto and Packard....all major casualties of the 50s (early 60s for Desoto).

    Hey, tanks are coming back. What's the new Ford SUV called again? It weighs in around 8,000 lbs I'm told. It's war out there!

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    And I think it's nuts! You are right about the 8000 pounds.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Oh, it's all about trends and niches and Focus Groups. This topic, for instance, started off I believe talking about old station wagons (Ramblers) and now that's a form heading for extinction, or at least massive evolution. I think Rambler is a perfect case of not spotting trends and perishing as a consequence. Rational or not, those carmakers who got in late into the SUV craze now regret it.

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    Why the heck do all the fun forums die for lack of interst, except maybe the Pinto one? What did AMC do wrong, or better yet, maybe, what did it ever do right to get it as far as it went.

    Who's the next corpse in the automotive world. I suspect anything associated with Renaut, Citron, Fiat, or Peugot. Where will these companies be in the next 10-20 years?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Well, I'd hazard a guess that Rambler forums die for the same reason that Ramblers died...lack of interest!

    Renault, Peugeot and Citroen are virgorously protected from competition by their government, so they may very well be around in 20 years. Actually, Renault is a huge company (one of the world's first auto manufacturers, with a glorious history and really, the perfectors of the early car) and they built many types of cars one never sees in the US. It's possible some of the smaller French companies could expire or merge, like the US ones did in the big "shakeout" of the 1950s, but France would no more let Renault die than England would let Rolls pass away. In the US, nobody cares who lives or dies in the auto's industrial darwinism...true, the US government bailed Chrysler out, but that was a loan and it got paid back...fortunately for Chrysler, the political climate was more favorable than it was for the "poor sisters" of the 1950s.

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  • I went to the Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance today and saw a pristine 64 Rambler Rebel with a factory 4 speed auto shift and tach. The car was great fun to inspect because I owned for a year or two a plebian 4 DR version of this two door rocket.

    The upholstery was restored in its original big check gingham grey plaid with the reclining front seats. I really should have gone up to speak with the owner since most everyone else at the event had not a clue as to what a gem he had brought to the show.

    I mean please what the hell does a modern 80's 25th Anniversary Addition Maserati Countach have that is more rare than a pristine 60's Rambler Rebel? You don't need to answer that but the show was a really fun eclectic mix of car from around the world.

    There was even an old bath tub hot rod from the forties that I'd swear was just pulled out of the barn. My wife was wondering why the heck it was there in such a sorry state but when I explained the fact that this car was completely original down to its bald tires she began to understand.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    About the only comment I can make is that yes, it's true, being rare doesn't make a car valuable, because of the supply and demand factor, (way more Rebels than people who want them) but it does make it unusual and a curiosity that some people would enjoy seeing for the first time. So that's a good thing.

    A 1989 Anniversary Lamborghini Countach IS quite valuable (about 20 times more than the Rebel) because it is REALLY rare--on 68 made--goes nearly 200 mph and, most important, there are probably more buyers than sellers.

    Actually, I'm just like you when it comes to cars...I'm more interested in the kinds of cars I like visually, perhaps have some experience in, and know something about. I don't care how much they're worth if I like them.

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  • I knew it was a Lamborghini, but all those marques look the same and come from the same dang city anyway. The Maserati owner with the pristine four door next to the Countach, or as my wife would say "Contact", would have been mortified by my blunder.

    While I was there looking at his car he was commiserating with a fellow Italian exotic owner about how he'd spoken with a spectator at the show for quite a while about his Maserati before the spectator realized that the car they were speaking about was not in fact a Ferrari.

    Back to the Rambler.

    I'd heard about the Rambler's reclining seats that converted into a bed, but the reclining seat I saw came no where near flat as a bed. You might be able to get some nooky in those seats but you'd never wake up with anything but a crook in your neck if you slept in them.
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