The RAMBLER AMERICAN is an automobile manufactured by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) between 1958 and 1969. The American was the second incarnation of AMC's forerunner Nash Motors second-generation Rambler compact that was sold under the Nash and Hudson Motors marques from 1954 and 1955.
The American can be classified in three distinct model year
generations: 1958 to 1960, 1961 to 1963, and 1964 to 1969. During the
entire length of its production, the car was sold under the RAMBLER
brand name, and was the last Rambler named automobile marketed in the
A special youth-oriented concept car , the 1964
Rambler Tarpon , was
built on an
The compact Rambler Americans were exported from the U.S. and Canada,
as well as produced in other markets by AMC subsidiaries or assembled
under license . It was manufactured in
* 1 Development
* 2 First generation
* 2.1 1958 * 2.2 1959 * 2.3 1960
* 3 Second generation
* 3.1 1961 * 3.2 1962 * 3.3 1963
* 4 Third generation
* 4.1 1964 * 4.2 1965 * 4.3 1966 * 4.4 1967 * 4.5 1968 * 4.6 1969
* 5 SC/Rambler
* 5.1 Equipment
* 6 IKA Torino * 7 Aria and Shahin * 8 Australian production * 9 Mexican production * 10 Rambler Tarpon
* 11 Records
* 12 Battery power experiments * 13 Legacy * 14 Collectibility * 15 Notes * 16 References * 17 External links
The genesis of the
The first proposals were to modify AMC's captive import by extending the Metropolitan with a station wagon type roof design to make room for four passengers. However the 85-inch (2,159 mm) wheelbase of the Metropolitan severely limited the necessary interior room, and costs of the overseas built model were harder to control. On the other hand, the company had retained the tooling from its 1955 model Rambler. The old model's 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase fit between its bigger family-sized 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase Ramblers and the small import. The old design could be slightly modified and then used for the basis of the "new" American.
American Motors' financial condition meant it could not afford to develop an entirely new model. The reintroduction of the old model leveraged the Rambler's renown for fuel economy and wins in the Mobil Economy Runs , with the consumer's need for a smaller and more efficient alternative to the standard-sized cars that were marketed by the domestic Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) at that time.
PRODUCTION 1958 – 1960
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door sedan * 2-door station wagon * 4-door sedan * 2-door sedan delivery
ENGINE 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6
WHEELBASE 100 in (2,540 mm)
LENGTH 178.25 in (4,528 mm)
WIDTH 73 in (1,854 mm)
HEIGHT 57.32 in (1,456 mm)
CURB WEIGHT 2,439–2,554 lb (1,106–1,158 kg)
American Motors' designers gave the car a new grille and more open rear fender wells, giving the car a lighter appearance than that of the earlier car, which had hidden its rear wheels behind deeply skirted fenders. The original taillights were turned upside down, saving money on retooling. This design was originally mandated by Nash's Airflyte styling motif, which sought to reach for the blinding optimism of post- World War II transportation. The car's seemingly narrow 55-inch (1,397 mm) track was not much different from the industry standard, but rather an illusion fostered by the bulbous bodywork.
Romney worried about cannibalizing sales of his larger, more profitable senior Ramblers, so for 1958, the American was available only as a two-door sedan (senior Ramblers came only in a variety of 4-door body styles.) The only engine was a 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) flathead six producing 90 hp (67 kW; 91 PS). The American went on sale late January 1958, with a minimum of marketing and promotion. It was available in two trims, a base DELUXE model priced at US$ 1,789 allowing AMC to claim the lowest-priced car made in America (adjusted only for inflation, equal to US$14,851 in 2016 dollars ) and as a SUPER trim version for $1,874 offering more "luxuries". The car was advertised as being the only small car with an automatic transmission. All Americans were completely dipped in rust proofing.
The automotive press was positive to the reintroduced model. Tom
McCahill wrote in _
Mechanix Illustrated _, "There isn't a better buy
in the world today." He continued, "The
Reports by owners praised the car's economy of operation, but ranked at the top its ease of handling. A "workhorse" priced at under $2,000 "it doesn't look as though every penny was pinched out of it", but retains a "chic look". The American found 30,640 buyers during the abbreviated 1958 model year and helped Rambler become the only domestic make to post an increase in sales that year.
A two-door station wagon was added to the line in 1959. With the larger Rambler Six wagons offered only as four-door models, AMC's management thought there would be little sales cannibalization from the American. The Deluxe wagon was priced at $2,060, while the $2,145 Super version included a standard cargo-area mat and roof rack. A DELIVERYMAN commercial wagon, with no rear seat and an extended cargo floor, was available, but found few takers. Self-adjusting brakes were added in 1959.
Rambler sales increased in 1959, and AMC struggled to keep up with demand as production tripled to 91,491 Americans, with 32,639 (almost 36 percent) made up by the new wagon. The two-door sedans each sold nearly as well, also, at 29,954 for the lower-priced Deluxe and 28,449 for the top-line Super.
For the 1960 model year, the
The new Custom model came standard with a new 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) overhead valve engine with a slightly higher compression ratio of 8.7:1 producing an additional 37 hp (28 kW; 38 PS), for a total output of 125 hp (93 kW; 127 PS), while the base models retained the flathead as the standard engine. The flathead six had no visible intake manifold since it was integrated within the cylinder head, while the exhaust manifold is a "log-type" that looks like a long tube. All models received an enlarged gas tank, now 22 US gal (83 L; 18 imp gal) capacity, while power steering was a new option.
Even in the face of the new competition from much larger automakers,
1963 American 440-H hardtop
PRODUCTION 1961 – 1963
DESIGNER Edmund E. Anderson
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door coupe 2-door convertible * 2-door hardtop (1963) * 4-door sedan * 2-door station wagon * 4-door station wagon
ENGINE 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6
WHEELBASE 100 in (2,540 mm)
LENGTH 173.1 in (4,397 mm)
WIDTH 70 in (1,778 mm)
HEIGHT 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
The second generation
For 1961 the American line added a four-door station wagon , as well as a two-door convertible for the first time since 1954. It featured a power-operated folding top with roll-down door glass, rather than the fixed side-window frames of the original design. Passenger room increased from five to six.
The straight six was modernized with an overhead-valve cylinder head for higher-grade models, but the base cars continued with the flathead engine.
American Motors built a new assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, for the production of Rambler Americans as well as the larger Rambler Classics .
_ The 1962
Setting new sales records,
American Motors continued its "policy of
making changes only when they truly benefited the customer." The 1962
A new "E-stick" option combined a manual 3-speed transmission with an automatic clutch as a low-cost alternative to the fully automatic transmission. The E-stick was also available in conjunction with an overdrive unit. The system cost $59.50, but offered stick-shift economy, performance, and driver control without a clutch pedal by using engine oil pressure and intake manifold vacuum to engage and disengage the clutch when shifting gears.
Although the "Big Three" domestic automakers had introduced
competitive compact models by 1962, the
The automaker's president, George W. Romney , appeared prominently in advertisements asking potential customers to "think hard" about new cars and describing "more than 100 improvements in the 1962 Ramblers" and why they are not available in competitive cars, as well as AMC "workers as progress-sharing partners" so that buyers can "expect superior craftsmanship."
For 1963, model designations were changed once again with the 400 now called 440. A new hardtop (no B-pillar ) coupe body design debuted, whose steel roof was designed to mimic the appearance of a closed convertible top. This was a one-model-year-only design with a thin profile, clean lines, stamped faux-convertible ribs, and a textured finish. A special top-of-the-line model called the 440-H was equipped with sports-type features including individually adjustable reclining front bucket seats and a center console, as well as a more powerful 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) version of Rambler's stalwart 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) inline-6 engine.
An optional console shifted "Twin-Stick" manual overdrive transmission was introduced. This transmission has a bigger gap between 2nd and 3rd gears compared to the regular three-speed transmissions with overdrive (that operated like a five-speed although the driver needed to know the governor cut-in speed, free-wheeling, as well as when to lock the overdrive in or out). This allowed the transmission to be shifted as a five-speed (1, 2, 2+OD, 3, and 3+OD). The Twin-Stick-shift had the kick-down button on top of the main shift-knob to facilitate five-speed shifting.
The entire product line from AMC earned the Motor Trend Car of the
Year award for 1963. The recognition was used by AMC to promote the
First as the Nash Rambler and then as two generations of the Rambler American, this automobile platform performed the rare feat of having two distinct and successful model runs, an almost unheard of phenomenon in automobile history. The convertible and hardtop were the sportiest of the final 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase Rambler Americans, and arguably the most desirable now.
PRODUCTION 1964 – 1969
DESIGNER Richard A. Teague
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door convertible * 2-door hardtop * 2-door coupe * 4-door sedan * 4-door station wagon
IKA Torino , (
* 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6 * 199 cu in (3.3 L) I6 * 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 * 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 2-bbl * 290 cu in (4.8 L) V8 4-bbl * 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 4-bbl * 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 4-bbl
* 3-speed manual * 3-speed with overdrive * 4-speed manual * 3-speed automatic
WHEELBASE 106 in (2,692 mm)
LENGTH 177.25 in (4,502 mm) (1964-65) 181 in (4,597 mm) (1966-69)
WIDTH 70.8 in (1,798 mm)
HEIGHT 54.5 in (1,384 mm) (approx)
CURB WEIGHT 2,504 lbs (1135.8 kg)
For its third generation, the American emerged with what would be its only completely new design. The entire line was treated to neat and trim lines with pleasing simplicity (compared to the more boxy predecessors) with characteristic tunneled headlights with a simple horizontal grille between them. The Rambler American's wheelbase grew by six-inches or 152 mm (to 106 in or 2692 mm) and the interiors were made more spacious. The station wagons in the restyled 1964 series came with four doors and gained 17% more cargo space compared to the previous design. They all featured a new roll-down disappearing rear window for the bottom-hinged tailgate . Full coil front springs along with soft rear leaf units, gave the new American an unusually smooth ride, better than many larger domestic cars. The new models also incorporated various parts and components (such as doors) that were interchangeable with AMC's larger cars. In essence, the new body was a shorter, narrower version of the previous years new Rambler Classic.
The new styling was the work of designer Richard A. Teague , who would go on to design the 1968 Javelin and AMX . Many viewed the newly designed station wagon as the best looking of any American wagon, with its new trim lines, with ample passenger, and cargo room. Led by the top-line 440-series convertible, they were arguably the 1964's most attractive Detroit compacts. _Car Life_ magazine titled its road test of the 1964 Rambler American: "The Original Plain Jane Compact Car Just Got Back From the Beauty Parlor".
1964 American 440 convertible 1964 American 220 Sedan
In addition to the top-of-the-line 440 models, the cheaper 330 and
220 models were also available, and
American Motors focused its marketing on the economy of the
new models, an advertising of a kind that was previously only popular
Great Depression . The company's series of "Love Letters
to Rambler" advertisements included "ordinary user testimonials" about
the economy and reliability of their Ramblers, rather than in pursuit
of buyers in the whole compact car market segment. This strategy was
copied ten years later by
1965 American 440 convertible
The 1965 Americans were little changed, but were advertised as "The
Sensible Spectaculars". This was part of
Roy Abernethy 's strategy
for AMC to shed its "economy car" reputation and take on the domestic
Big Three automakers in new market segments. There were few changes
to AMC's smallest models, as Abernethy pinned his hopes for recovery
not so much on the low-priced
The year also saw the introduction of an entirely new 232 cu in (3.8
L) overhead valve straight-6 engine that AMC would use through 1979,
with a smaller 199 cu in (3.3 L) version being used only during
1966-1970. The same engine was later available in a larger 258 cu in
(4.2 L) version (used from 1971 to 1989) and the fuel injected 242 cu
in (4.0 L) versions that debuted in 1987, known as the
The 1965 models were the last year for the venerable flathead six. It was the last flathead engine to be used in a domestic U.S. car.
1966 American 440 convertible
As the automobile marketplace in the U.S. was moving away from
economy towards performance and luxury vehicles,
American Motors began
removing the historic Rambler name from its larger models. However,
the American and Classic models retained their economy car marketing
image, as well as their traditional nameplate. To cement this image, a
The American models were facelifted for the 1966 model year with more squared-off front and rear styling. The front of the car was extended three inches (76 mm), that increase allowed the optional air conditioning to be installed with the new 199, and 232 in-line six-cylinder engines, which were longer than the previous 195.6 versions.
A completely new 290 cu in (4.8 L) "Typhoon" V8 engine was developed
by AMC, it was introduced in the special mid-1966 Rogue model.
Available in 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) two-barrel carburetor version or
producing 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS) with a 4-barrel carburetor and high
compression, the new engines utilized "thin-wall" casting technology
and weighed only 540 pounds (245 kg). The newly powered Rogue came
with a 3-speed automatic transmission or a floor mounted 4-speed
manual, and made the car "suitable for the Stoplight Grand Prix."
American Motors' new engine design would expand in power and
applications across the company's passenger cars, and eventually in
Jeeps. It continued to be assembled through 1991 for the
1967 Rambler Rogue 2-door hardtop 1967 Rambler Rogue convertible
The 1967 model year
For 1967 only, AMC's new high-compression (10.2:1), high (octane rating ) 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor that produced 280 hp (209 kW; 284 PS) and 365 pound force-feet (495 N·m) of torque @ 3000 rpm , was optional in Rogue and 440 models. Factory installations of this engine were in 58 Rogues and just 55 in the 440 models, with seven of them being in the convertible version. Out of the total production of 69,912 Rambler Americans for the 1967 model year, 921 were Rogue convertibles.
Rogues also received grille trim that wrapped around the fender sides. All Rambler Americans received a new grille insert with prominent chromed horizontal bars. The 1967 Rogue models were available in new two-tone paint schemes for the roof, trunk lid and hood that included border trim along the upper body line. The two-door hardtops were also available with a black or white vinyl roof cover. Taillight lenses were more sculptured into the rear panel.
The 1967 model year also saw the addition of the new safety standards for passenger cars mandated by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The regulations began with seat belts on automobiles produced after March 1, 1967. The 1967 Rambler Americans also included a collapsible, energy-absorbing steering column and steering wheel, more padding on interior surfaces, 4-way hazard flashers, and locking seat back latches for 2-door models. The instrument cluster was changed from the previous rectangular design to round gauges: The speedometer and odometer was center, with twin, smaller fuel and engine temperature gauges, with matching warning-light pods on both sides of the speedometer.
All 1967 Americans were covered by AMC's comprehensive warranty designed to increase customer confidence in their vehicles with the tagline : _quality built in, so the value stays in_. It was the strongest backing among all the automakers up to that time: 2-years or 25,000 miles (40,000 km) on the entire automobile, as well as 5-years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on the engine and power train. American Motors continued its industry exclusive ceramic-coated exhaust system as standard on Rambler Americans.
Newly appointed as AMC's new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Roy D. Chapin, Jr. began to promote and reposition the Rambler American, the automaker's least popular line. He bet on the Rambler American to improve the automaker's financial performance after George W. Romney . Chapin also saw a price gap between U.S. cars and inexpensive imports (primarily the Volkswagen) and lowered the price to make the Rambler American's "total value superior to the imports, as well as superior in both price and range of choice to U.S. compacts". The suggested retail price of the base two-door Rambler American sedan dropped to $1,839 (US$13,209 in 2016 dollars ) (its closest U.S. competitor was the $2,117 Plymouth Valiant ), making the larger and more powerful American only $200 more than the Volkswagen Beetle .
American Motors announced that it was forgoing the annual styling changeovers that were expected among the domestic firms, thus saving retooling costs and passing on the savings to consumers by keeping the car's price low. The automaker promised in a special $300,000 ($2,154,790 in 2016 dollars ) advertising campaign that future changes to the car will be to enhance the safety and reliability of these cars. The Rambler American's recent (1966) redesign was then continued mostly unchanged through the 1969 model year.
For 1968, the line was further simplified from nine to five models, with the 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan comprising the base line (with the 220 designation no longer used), 4-door sedan and station wagon being offered in uplevel 440 guise, and a lone hardtop coupe making up the top-line Rogue trim line. The American, along with "A-body" Chryslers , were the only domestics that came as a hardtop coupe model, the Ford Falcon and Chevy Nova being only available as pillared sedans (and a wagon in the Ford Falcon line).
All Americans received a new chrome horizontal grille bar that extended outboard to the headlights, while the grille sections got an attractive "blackout" treatment. The wraparound rear window on the sedans was modified to a flat unit, with a more squared-off "C" pillar, which changed the appearance from the earlier sedans with their overhanging rooflines. The overall effect was a more formal-looking car. The 440 and Rogue versions picked up a stainless steel trim piece running stem to stern on either body side, straight back between the wheel wells and the belt line. At each end of the strip were the newly safety-mandated body side reflectors, amber for the front fenders, red for the rear. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards for all passenger cars sold in America for 1968 also called for shoulder harness for the front seats and elimination of reflective interior trim. Other requirements for all cars manufactured after 1 January 1968, included exhaust control systems to help reduce unburned hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions.
However, the biggest change was the decision to keep the MSRP
(manufacturer\'s suggested retail price ) of the base two-door model
to within US$ 200 of the
Volkswagen Beetle . The domestic Big Three
automakers did not respond to this strategy , thus giving AMC a big
price differential over the competing domestic models. Sales of the
1969 Rambler sedan
Since its introduction "the
As a true compact-sized car on a 106 in (2,692 mm) wheelbase, the Rambler station wagon had no domestic competitors, and it offered interior space advantage compared to imported models with its 66 cubic feet (1,869 L) of cargo space. Available only in 440 trim, the wagons came with a roll down rear window with drop-down tailgate, as well as a roof rack .
In part to commemorate the impending passing of the Rambler name, American Motors added the Rogue-based SC/RAMBLER to the line (detailed separately).
A total production for the 1969 model year was 96,029. The last U.S.-made Rambler was assembled in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 30 June, making the production total of 4,204,925 units.
After the 1969 model year, a completely redesigned model, the AMC Hornet , replaced the American.
The SC/Rambler was purposefully promoted by AMC as a potent drag strip challenger SC/Rambler in "A" trim SC/Rambler in "B" trim
One of the muscle car era "most visually arresting examples" was a special model that was produced during 1969 in collaboration with Hurst Performance , the Hurst SC/Rambler. "Likely the most outrageous musclecar from AMC" with 1,512 built, it was probably the only production model made and promoted for a specific drag racing class, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) F/Stock class.
The SC/Rambler was a competent performer with quarter mile times in the low 14 second range." A true muscle car with zero options and a suggested retail price (MSRP) of less than US$ 3,000, it would take down some much more vaunted cars.
Each Hurst SC/Rambler came equipped with the 315 hp (235 kW; 319 PS) 390 cu in (6.4 L) AMC V8 engine from the AMX . There were no factory options to this package. Standard clutch was a 10.5-inch (267 mm) with a three finger long-style Borg and Beck pressure plate. The 390 engine was mated to a manual transmission four-speed T-10 with close gear ratios. A Hurst shifter came with a large metal "T" handle. The rear end was an AMC 3.54:1 "Twin-Grip" limited slip differential using Dana internals, with outer wheel hubs attached through a spline and keyway system. The hub attachment method was the only weak point in the rear end assembly.
Factory cast iron manifolds exited to a true dual exhaust with Thrush (a Tenneco brand) two-chamber oval mufflers with Woodpecker logos. These were standard baffled mufflers, not glass packs. Minimal baffeling gave a deep throaty sound, similar to modern Flowmasters. The exhaust exited through chrome tips attached with hose clamps.
While similar Rogue and American models had drum brakes, the SC package came with front discs, a heavier sway bar, as well as strengthened drive train and body components. These included connectors between the front and rear subframes. The rear end used staggered (fore and aft) rear shock absorbers to eliminate wheel hop (axle wrap) under extreme acceleration conditions with leaf spring suspensions. The staggered shocks required a special plate riveted in the trunk pan, as well as brackets for the subframe end of upper torque links. Other body modifications differentiating all Hurst SC Ramblers from regular hardtop Ramblers included rolling back front and rear wheel openings to allow for larger tires. American Motors called on Hurst to help develop a vehicle for the racing market. Because of stock class rules, a minimum of 500 identical vehicles had to be produced and sold. This led to the SC Hurst Rambler, (SC) meaning "Super Car". This vehicle is commonly referred to as a "Scrambler", although Jeeps later used the SCRAMBLER name.
Available only as a two-door hardtop, the interior came in standard gray charcoal vinyl upholstered reclining seats with a headliner embossed with small squares. The front seats reclined, and the newly safety mandated head restraints were upholstered in red, white, and blue stripes. The SC/Rambler included a standard 90-degree wide arc scale Sun tachometer . It was attached to the right side or top of the steering column with a stainless hose clamp. The only factory option was an AM radio.
The SC/Ramblers came with the wildest factory paint jobs ever put on a muscle car . All featured a forward-facing functioning box-type hood scoop with "390 CU. IN." and "AIR" in large letters on both sides of it. The hood scoop air flapper was vacuum operated, allowing higher pressure cool air to pressurize a Carter AFB carburetor. A blue arrow on the hood pointed towards the air intake. The Scrambler came only in two types of red, white, and blue color schemes ("A" or "B" trims) with no other options available, with the exception of an AM radio . These schemes appeared randomly through early production.
Some AMC historians incorrectly claim that American Motors built a lot of 500 "A" scheme SC/Ramblers before switching to the "B" scheme, with 500 "B" models were built before AMC switched the final lot of 512 SC/Ramblers back to the "A" pattern. However, there are "B" scheme cars in the Hurst SC/Rambler registry with very early build dates putting their manufacture among the "A" scheme versions. AMC used the same paint code for all special paint schemes, so there is no way to determine exactly how the cars rolled out of the factory.
Some of the other unique standard items on this model included racing mirrors, anti-hop rear axle links, and blue Magnum 500 steel wheels (common to Fords) with chrome beauty rings and AMC hub centers. Tires were E-70-14 fiberglass belted 4-ply tires with red stripe Goodyear Polyglas tires . American Motors priced the SC/Rambler at $2,998 (after adjusting for only inflation, equivalent to US$19,579 in 2016dollars ) a serious dragstrip contender because in its as-sold condition it could do the quarter mile in the low 14 seconds at about 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). For example, _Road Test_ magazine reported 14.4 at 100.44 mph and reached 109 miles per hour (175 km/h) without topping out. With a few simple bolt on modifications they would run low 12's. Modified SC/Ramblers have run the quarter-mile in the 9-second bracket.
The automaker provided AMC dealers with numerous "Group 19" parts and upgrades to make customer's SC/Ramblers even quicker. Well-tuned legal stock S/C's with allowable changes have run in the 12-second range. Charles Rauch set a D/S quarter mile record of 12.54 seconds at Detroit Dragway. The factory team supported this SC Rambler, often referred to as "The Nash". Modifications included a special cast iron manifold, advanced camshaft timing, heavier valve springs, factory supplied carburetor, six cylinder front springs with factory supplied bottom shims to restore stock height, 90/10 front shocks, lightened chassis components, exhaust system modifications, Chevrolet 10.5-inch diaphragm pressure plate, wide ratio transmission gear set, 4.44 rear axle ratio, as well as larger, softer, G70-15 rear tires on identical design Magnum 500 15" Ford wheels painted AMC blue. The manifold and some other parts were specially selected factory components for the stock 340 hp (254 kW; 345 PS) 1970 Rebel Machine engine, but legal for use in the big bore, short stroke 1969 AMC 390 engine.
Main article: IKA-Renault Torino IKA Torino TS sedan
From 1966 to 1982, Industrias Kaiser
The Torino's engine, transmission, and upgraded interior fittings
were unique to Argentina, and were not used on any of the U.S. market
Ramblers. The engine was the Kaiser 230 cu in (3.8 L) overhead cam
(OHC) six originally developed for the new 1963 Jeeps . The car was
actually a 1963-1964
Rambler Classic passenger compartment with
ARIA AND SHAHIN
From 1967 to 1974, the 1966 version of the AMC
The Aria and Shahin were assembled under the license of AMC by Pars
Khodro starting in 1967. The factory in
Production was continued by the
For 1961 the
In 1963, a fifth body style, a two-door hardtop, was introduced.
For 1964, the third generation
Along with the new engines, the
The 1967 models saw a new semiconcave squared tail light design and the five-dial instrument cluster with a round speedometer at the very center. The best change for the year appeared in the form of the fully synchronized 150-T model three-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, meaning the end of non-synchromesh units in VAM cars. The new transmission was joined by a 3.73:1 rear differential gear ratio. Hazard lights were added to the standard equipment list.
The 1968 models saw stronger changes in the form of the 232 cu in (3.8 L) engine as included standard equipment in the station wagon while becoming optional equipment in both sedan models. These two body styles also received an all-new rear glass without wraparound portions and all saw new larger side armrests. Front two-point seatbelts became standard for the first time. The rear differential was changed to 3.54:1 gear ratio.
The 1969 model year cars were almost the same as their immediate
predecessors with only minor changes. VAM developed its own
performance model in the form of an optional package for the two-door
sedan that was named
Main article: Rambler Tarpon
1962 American winning the Mobil Economy Run in an advertisement for Champion spark plugs
The American was introduced as the North American economy was in a recession and buyers were looking for smaller and more economical cars and the Rambler brand was known as a fuel miser. The Rambler American was a yearly winner of the best fuel economy in the Mobil Economy Run and the Pure Oil Company Economy Trials, even during later years when fuel efficiency was not a major factor in the purchase of automobiles.
For example, at the conclusion of the five-day event in 1959, that
covered 1,898 miles (3,055 km), a
In the 1960 Mobilgas Economy Run, a Custom two-door sedan returned 28.35 miles per US gallon (8.30 L/100 km; 34.05 mpg‑imp) over a route of more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km), finishing first in the compact class. Further proof of the American's exceptional fuel economy came when an overdrive-equipped car driven coast to coast under NASCAR's watchful eyes averaged 38.9 miles per US gallon (6.05 L/100 km; 46.7 mpg‑imp). However, the most astounding demonstration was the record set in the Pure Oil Economy Trials, another NASCAR-supervised event: 51.281 miles per US gallon (4.5868 L/100 km; 61.586 mpg‑imp), which AMC sagely noted, "No car owner should expect to approach in everyday driving."
In the 1964 run, a 6-cylinder
Economy claims for stock cars could be confirmed by these open and sanctioned trials. American Motors (as well as its OEM suppliers, such as the print advertisement for Champion spark plugs) promoted the results of this popular event in its advertising as a marketing technique that further emphasized the thriftiness of the Rambler Americans.
Rambler's emphasis on economy over performance can be observed through the example of automatic transmission use in a Rambler American where the 1959 owner's handbook describes leaving the gear selector in the D-2 position (1.47:1 gear ratio) blocks access to low gear (2.40 ratio) when starting out from a stop; therefore, given the car's 3.31 axle, this yields an initial 4.86:1 final drive ratio reducing crankshaft revolutions for maximum fuel economy.
In 1958, the Playmates recorded a novelty song called "Beep Beep " about a duel between a Cadillac driver who just cannot shake a "little Nash Rambler" following him. The song uses an accelerating (accelerando) tempo and ends with the Rambler passing the Cadillac "...in second gear!" The song was on _Billboard _ Top 40 charts for twelve weeks while also selling over one million copies, and it was awarded a gold disc . Concurrently with the popularity of this song, AMC was setting production and sales records for the Rambler models. This was also the same year the old Rambler reappeared as the new American, with the song popularizing the re-released car and making AMC the only automaker have increased sales during the recession of 1958 .
American Motors was not actively involved in auto racing during the early 1960s as not to glamorize corporate sponsorship of activities that promote dangerous speeds and driving. It continued to support the 1957 Automobile Manufacturers Association (AMA) prohibition on automobile racing. The automaker ran national advertisements: "Why don't we enter high-performance Rambler V-8s in racing? Because the only race Rambler cares about is the human race."
However, independent AMC dealerships began sponsoring cars in drag racing events. Preston Honea achieved fame with the 1964 "Bill Kraft Rambler" American from Norwalk, California . The car had a transplanted AMC V8 engine that was bored out to 418 cu in (6.8 L) with four carburetors on special intake manifold and featured a transistorized ignition system as well as an Isky 505-A camshaft . The big engine from an Ambassador added only 80 pounds (36.3 kg) more than the venerable 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) straight-6 normally found in the small two-door American. However, with its 8200 rpm redline , the Rambler ran 112 mph (180 km/h) at the Fontana dragstrip .
After the departure of
Roy Abernethy , AMC eagerly embraced
automobile competition and its effect on car sales. It sponsored
Rambler Americans in various motorsport venues and produced a
American Motors then got serious in this type of racing and signed up James Garner 's "American International Racers" (AIR) team to a three-year contract. Garner's shops prepared ten 1969 SC/Ramblers provided by AMC. The cars were modified for the punishing Baja 500 race. Raising the suspension and using Goodyear tires on 10x15-inch wheels increased ground clearance. All window glass was removed and roll cages were installed. The cars had 44 US gal (167 L; 37 imp gal) fuel tanks . Two cars were further modified with four-wheel drive . The AIR team built AMC's 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 engines to blueprint tolerances, thus increasing horsepower to 410 hp (306 kW; 416 PS) at the flywheel . The cars were capable of 140 mph (230 km/h) runs along smooth straights at about 7000 rpm in fourth gear.
On 11 June 1969, eight of the Ramblers were entered into the
passenger-car category and the two 4WD versions were in the
Experimental class. Garner did not drive in the race because of a film
Rambler Americans competed with good results in the Shell 4000 Rally
that was held in
BATTERY POWER EXPERIMENTS
In 1959, AMC and Sonotone Corporation announced work on a car to be
powered by a "self-charging" battery. It was to have sintered plate
nickel-cadmium batteries . During the 1960s, AMC partnered with
Gulton Industries to develop a new battery based on lithium and to use
an advanced speed controller designed by
Victor Wouk . However, the
actual running prototype was a 1969
_ Rambler '65_ album cover _ 3rd Rock from the Sun_ museum display
American Motors used the compact
In 1988 Ben Vaughn , a musician and a longtime Rambler automobile fan, released _El Rambler Dorado_ on his _Blows Your Mind_ album. He later recorded an entire album in his 1965 Rambler American. Released in 1997 by Rhino Records and titled _Rambler '65_, Vaughn turned his car into a makeshift studio. Putting the recording equipment inside his Rambler was a gimmick or an act of showmanship, but according to most reviews, the music he created inside his car is "timeless" rock roll. The _Rambler '65_ 24-minute music video also includes vintage AMC TV advertising clips.
Vaughn also achieved success in Hollywood as the composer for the hit
During his 2006-2007 campaign for U.S. president,
Mitt Romney sat in
At more than 50 years after it was produced, the mission of the first
Benefiting from network television exposure, the 1962 Rambler American convertible became "a hot ticket item" for collectors after it began to appear regularly on the sitcom _3rd Rock from the Sun_ with owners of rusty cars asking high prices and prime examples commanding upward of $14,000. A fully restored 1962 convertible was given to Mitt Romney on his 60th birthday by his son, Tagg , in 2008.
The "outlandishly adorned" limited-edition, mid-model year addition to the Rambler line "built under the aegis of the Hurst shifter people" is unique. The SC/Rambler has a strong collector following, with websites, clubs, and a registry.
The SC/Rambler has become a popular muscle car to replicate because of the ease of installing a powerful AMC V8 drivetrain into one of the large number of inexpensive 1966 through 1969 Rambler Americans. To identify a true SC/Rambler, it must be a hardtop and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) must have the letter M in the third digit and the engine code of X as the seventh digit.
Most SC/Ramblers took extensive abuse as they were raced hard, and there are stories of cars being sold with their time slips passing along with the vehicle. According to _Old Cars Weekly_ magazine, "a No. 1 condition example can still be had for mid five figures. A muscle devotee looking for a fun machine with lots of investment potential can't miss with a SC/Rambler."
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