AMC Rambler Aficionados

alextalext Member 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.
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Comments

  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    And don't forget the "Flash-o-Matic" transmission with the square push buttons and the square "start" button...
  • ralph124cralph124c Member 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 Member Posts: 45,949
    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!

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD.

  • alextalext Member 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...
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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 Member 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 WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    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 WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    I meant REAR wheel bearing!

    Oh, and brake parts were the worst!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member 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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, like Volvo owners...a clever observation!
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    Shiftright-

    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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, you have a forgiving memory, and I guess that's good.

    So the "seven lost sisters"...care to name them for the class?
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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 OhioMember Posts: 864
    Tank Commander...mweeheeheehee...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    And I think it's nuts! You are right about the 8000 pounds.

    But...Why??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 biz...it'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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    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.
  • FREDERICKFREDERICK Member Posts: 228
    I "inherited" my first car. It was a 1962 Rambler
    Station Wagon with a flat 6 in it. It was a
    sickly green with a white top and luggage racks.
    It had the pushbutton automatic transmission. We
    used to call it the "flying brick"....especially
    when being driven downhill into the San Fernando
    Valley. The car that I bought from my mom's friend
    was a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. I was 19 at the
    time, and I didn't know that much about cars. It
    had a wood-grain steering wheel, and automatic
    transmission that actually looked like a manual
    with the shifter. All I knew was it was fast.
    Someone told me it had a 318 V8, but I'm not sure
    it was that size. I'm not even sure they put the
    318 in the Barracuda for that year...even as an
    option. Now I see those Barracudas restored and
    going for as much as $10,000. Everything I've seen
    on the Barracuda web-sites suggest I had a keeper,
    but I didn't keep her.
  • rayt2rayt2 Member Posts: 1,208
    I bought in 1971 and still own today a 1969 BIG BAD BLUE AMX, it's loaded and still turns heads to this day. 390 Go Pak, A/C, PS, PDB, 4 spd Hurst Comp Plus. The car was found on a dealers lot and had been traded in for a Ambassador Wagon, it seems the owner started to make his family & the wife said either the car goes or she does. I traded my 1963 Olds Cutlass F-85 & $2400 for this baby and never regretted it. Took it to Lime Rock Park racetrack in Conn. 1978 for a day of time trials and came in third place in my division. The car that took honors for the day was 1969 S/C Scrambler in race version and it had a lot of people talkin that day.
    I'm presently restoring and hope to bring to AMC East Coast National meet this June in Bristol Conn. RIP AMC gone but not forgotten !!!!!!!!!
  • hweinbergerhweinberger Member Posts: 2
    It was my first new car. Bought it off the dealers showroom floor. Yellow with the dual black stripes. 390 go package, fully loaded. put a 411 rear end. for a quarter mile it was great, but couldn't compete with the truly big blocks of the time. The 440 dodges and 426 fords with the big torque. But from a dead stop, it was deadly until the others started torqueing up. Still have it, but it needs major restoring. any clubs out there for the so. calif area
  • donaldthomasondonaldthomason Member Posts: 2
    I bought the above through the Base Exchange at RAF Lakenheath, England, and had it shipped over there. I drove it from Lakenheath to Dover, and cross the ferry to Ostend, Belgium and took the Autobahn to Basle, Switzerland, drove it around Switzerland and then back to Ostend, and across the ferry to Dover and back to Lakenheath. There was not a Mercedes Benz that could pass that car on the Autobahn, with me driving it 120+ all the way from Basle to Ostend. At gas stations they would pull in behind me and had to "check" the engine for an hour or so--those Krauts had never seen an American car like it!
    I brought it back to the States in 1970, and put a trailer hitch on it, and pulled my 16 foot outboard ski boat. At 70 mph with the boat on the back I got 30 mpg, that bigger 290 c.i. V-8 was really economical in that light car, with AT, PS, PB, Michelon ZX Tires. I had to sell it about 2 years later as I got an overseas assignment to Korea where I could not take it. The guy who bought it from me later sold it and will not tell me who he sold it to, so I've lost track of it. It was the best car I've ever owned.
  • sgaines1sgaines1 Member Posts: 44
    So I got curious and looked at some websites. I don't really see what's so bad about them. The Rebel and Ambassador are nice sedans, the AMX is cute, and the Javelin is pretty decent. Their small cars (Spirit, Hornet, Gremlin, Pacer)are a special kind of ugly though. The late 50's to early 60's styling is rather reminiscent of Eastern European cars, but not really ugly, just kind of missing the flair other cars had then. The Matador is kind of odd looking in some years, especially the ones where the grille is 10 inches out front of the rest, but not really much stranger than a Torino or something. Anyway, if I could get a decent large sedan, or a muscle car, I'd be proud to own one.
  • jeffbogjeffbog Member Posts: 63
    I thought I would try to get some info about a fair price, but since the last post is from last year, who knows.

    I have 65 Rambler Classic 550 which was left to me when my Grandmother passed about 10 years ago. I got it running after rebuilding the starter, replacing the brake lines, dropping the pan and cleaning out the sludge, etc. (it sat for at least 8 years without starting). It has only 65,000 miles and only a little rust behind the rear tires. It has three on the tree and an AM radio.

    I now only drive it a couple times a year and I am paying more for storage then it is worth.

    I live in the Chicago area. Does any one know if there is a Rambler club in Kenosha, WI. I've heard a few people refer to the car as a Kenosha Cadillac....

    I'll check back in a few days to see if this forum is resurrected. Any help would be appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Here's the list of officers for the AMC Rambler Club...I see that some of them live in your area.


    http://www.classicar.com/clubs/rambler/officers.htm




    Mr. Shiftright

    Host


  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,886
    My mom had a 1959 Rambler station wagon. She bought it in '65, and traded it in a year later when she bought a '66 Catalina convertible. I wish we had pics of it...it sounded like a little monstrosity...two-toned pink and black! Before that, she'd had a gray 1957 Plymouth. I guess the Rambler more than made up for the Plymouth's bland coloring!

    For some reason, the '87-91 generation Toyota Camry makes me think of a late 60's Rambler.

    -Andre
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Same adventurous styling.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    When I think of em I hear that old Stones song.

    I had 3 Rambler Americans in succession. Not because I admired the "marque" I assure you. My father got a deal on em cuz they were company cars that were retired.

    If somebody already mentioned the vacuum-powered windshield wipers I missed it. I used to enjoy driving home in a wet snowfall, choosing between moving and seeing where I was going. Had to decelerate every now and then to clear the windshield. A brilliant innovation.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    1920s technology for the 60s!

    Actually, American Motors was not the only American automaker guilty of keeping their level of technology as low as possible....I recall that Chrysler used flathead engines into the 1960s, and really, a 1965 Ford Mustang was not much different at all from a 1935 Buick once you removed the attractive body. In fact, you could say that a mechanic from around 1915 could have repaired just about any 1965 American car...at least tuned it up! Now of course, no 1965 mechanic could do much with a 2001 car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,886
    I think Chrylser's last flathead 6 was the Plymouth and Dodge inline from 1959. For 1960, all the sixes were replaced Slant-sixes, a 170 for the Valiant and a 225 for the base Plymouths and Dodge Darts (a full-size back then). The flathead may have persisted in truck lines, however. I don't know about their V-8's, though. I know the DeSoto Hemi came out for 1952, and I think Chrysler's 331 came out in either '50 or '51. I think Dodge came out with a Hemi for '53, and Plymouth got a poly-head V-8 for '55. Some of their stuff did carry on forever though. The 8.75 rear end made its debut in 1957, and lasted up through the early 70's when it was replaced by the 9.25. And I see brand new Durangos running around that look like they have the same rear end from my '89 Gran Fury.

    My grandfather used to do mechanic work part time, and once he retired. He'd get one of those big blue Motor's Repair manuals every year. He stopped at 1976, though. The catalytic converter, emissions controls, tighter engine bays, crude computer systems, etc, were what ended up doing him in. There was some stuff he could still do on the newer cars, but would mainly work on older ones. He was a GM guy, so I ended up learning just about every Ford slam of the time! He never had anything derogatory to say about Chrysler. Well, he did one day when I almost bought a '69 Dart parts car and wanted to keep it at his house (I was living there at the time ;-)

    -Andre
  • egkellyegkelly Member Posts: 17
    I don't remember the old vacuum-powered wipers, but my 1976 AMC Concord had some 1930's technology: the old Carter 1bbl carb-I rebuilt this in about 45 minutes, with a $5.00 rebuild kit! The plug wires cost $5.50, and the oild could be changed from the top of the engine-both the oil filter and the drain plug were accessable from the top of the engine! Try THAT with a modern car!. The AMC 232 cu-inch 6 was unkillable-it had 5 main bearings. So old was not necessarily bad!
  • jvirginiajvirginia Member Posts: 65
    The first new car I purchased was a 1980 AMC Eagle with 4WD. I loved that car. 4dr with reclining bucket seats, AM/FM cassette radio, A/C ... I drove that car for 135K miles and never had a major repair. Everything worked perfectly when I traded it in and I saw the car in a parking lot about 3 years later. The owner told me he picked it up at a used car lot and was elated with it. It drove well and still hadn't had any major problems only standard maintenance items (hoses, belts, brakes). The 4WD fluid transfer case worked well for me. I drove in two major blizzards with that car and never got stuck. If it was still available today, I would definitely do some serious shopping for one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It IS avaiable...it's called a Subaru Outback!

    The 4WD AMC Eagle was a sturdy car, but man, was it SLOWWWWWW.....
  • gitarzangitarzan Member Posts: 66
    My first car was a 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country Wagon. My Dad gave it to me in 1972. He bought it new and it had well over 100k miles on it. I drove it for a year and rebuilt the 195.6 CID engine in the summer of 72. It ran great for a year then lost compression. I had not heard of oversized rings and the OEM size rings didn't do the job in those old cylinders.

    I loved that car, it was red and I had polished the paint off of the eddges of the fenders. Sometimes I have dreams that I found someone selling it for $100 and I buy it back. It really was a very nice design. Very clean lines, something seldom seen in Ramblers.

    My second car was a 1968 AMC Ambassador DPL. I paid $700 for it in 1973. Mine had a rear roof/window treament that was different from any other I have ever seen. It was a nice car, with gold paint and interior. For some reason I thought it looked like a Road Runner. I don't think that now, but I did back then.

    I prepped, sanded and taped it and took it to MAACO for a paint job. It looked great. They could do a nice paint job, they just did a crappy prep job.

    It was reliable, but had a nylon timing gear that would not keep in time. The chain would slide and one moment it ran great, the next moment it knocked. It had 290 CID V8. Towards the end, the starter went bad and I carried a hammer with me and when it would not start I'd crawl under the car and rap the starter with the hammer and get back in the car and it would start right back up! The tranny started going out and I had to park in places where I either did not have to reverse the car or I could let gravity roll it back. Finally when the forward gears began to fail, I traded it in on a 68 Camaro convertible.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    Had a fuel efficiency problem as I recall. I forget exactly how many gallons per mile. Back in the pre-SUV era that was considered important.

    There might be a market for them today if they paid people enough money to take em. Not sure that that would be real profitable though.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I too owned a Rambler, a '69 AMC Hornet. Actually a nice little car but too much like the '61 Falcon that had embarassed me for years for me to really get comfortable with it. Three on the tree, 199 six and not enough moving parts to make much mechanical trouble. It was in primer most of the time I owned it, but I had it painted by Earl--I'm detecting a trend in this thread--just before I sold it and he made it look so good I almost regretted selling. Hosed out the interior, Armor All-ed the rubber floor mats and man it looked sharp. I sold it to a young woman who had never owned a car--I just felt a twinge of conscience at this but I was young myself and didn't know better.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,886
    Hey gang,

    I found a road test of a 1985 AMC Eagle in an old Consumer Guide auto book. It was pretty sad, really, even for back then. The car was an Eagle Limited 4wd wagon, with a 258 AMC-6 and a Chrysler 3-speed Torqueflite. It had a wheelbase of 109.3", and an overall length of only 180.9". For a 70's compact, this thing was small! In comparison, the '68 and '69 Dart hardtops I've owned were about 195" long, and by the 70's most compacts (Nova, Dart/Valiant, Granada, Aspen/Volare, etc) were around 200" long.

    They don't list the hp/torque of this car, for some reason, but it's a 2-bbl, so I'd guess about 110 hp, tops. It got 14.8 mpg in their test driving, while the EPA rating in the city was 16. 0-60 in...hold onto your hats...16.6 seconds!!

    And here's what Consumer Guide had to say about it in summary..."A clever but dated design, the Eagle can be an attractive alternative to less civilized truck-based 4x4's. However, our loaded test car carried a bottom line of nearly $17,000, which should make it easy prey for Mitsubishi, Honda, Toyota, and other makers entering the all-wheel-drive fray."

    I guess that this shows just how crude the truck-based SUV's were back then, if they're calling a 4x4 station wagon that dates back to 1970 or so a good alternative to them! But then again, back then, that list would include vehicles like the Ford Bronco II, Chevy S-10 Blazer, and Jeep Cherokee/Wagoneer. And of those, only Jeep's Wagoneer/Cherokee would've been available as a 4-door. This particular auto issue actually tested those other SUV's (a term not even used back then!) and, sadly, the Eagle handled as well or better than all of them, and only the Bronco II was faster from 0-60! In fact, Jeep's own Wagoneer did 0-60 in 17.2 seconds, with a Chevy 2.8 V-6. It did get better gas mileage, though...16.3 mpg (EPA city rated at 16)

    But I just can't get over that $17,000 sticker price! In comparison, my grandparents bought 2 vehicles that year...a fully loaded LeSabre Limited (don't laugh...the hood medallion says "Collector's Edition!) for about $16,000, and a Chevy Silverado 1/2 ton pickup, 305, regular cab, long bed, 2wd, pretty well-equipped, for $13,500. So even back in the 80's, these things weren't cheap!

    As for personal experience with an AMC product, I have some friends (a married couple) who used to have a 1976 AMC Hornet wagon, with the 258. They also had a 1978 Malibu with a speedometer that had rolled over a couple times...and the car looked it! In 1994, he got his Dad's '87 Nissan Sentra, and they also bought a 1994 Honda Civic. Someone at the Honda dealer gave them $70.00 for the Malibu! As for the AMC, they offered to give it to me, but I didn't want it. Back then, it would've cost me about $600-700 a year to insure it! We ended up taking it to a junkyard, and the guy gave them $90.00 for it. It was still running fine, although was leaking oil from the valve cover gasket like crazy. I don't think it had any rust on it, either, and the robin's-egg blue paint was still shiny. It was just an old car that nobody wanted.

    -Andre
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Thanks for the interesting post, Andre. I'd have to agree on this one. I drove an Eagle 4WD about two years ago...I was thinking of buying it (it was cheap) for a quickie type of snow car that I could leave up in the mountains.

    But after the test drive, I was so disappointed in handling, braking and acceleration, I realized I could never own a car like this anymore. It's too modern and ordinary to be a "classic" that anyone would notice, and too old fashioned for everyday use in the mountains.

    Which, I guess, is why they are so cheap (DOH!)
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