The RAMBLER CLASSIC is an intermediate sized automobile that was
built and sold by
Introduced at first as only a six-passenger four-door sedan and station wagon versions, additional body styles were added with two-door models available as a "post " sedan and in 1964 as a sporty pillar-less hardtop , as well as a convertible for 1965 and 1966.
The Rambler Rebel name replaced Classic on AMC's completely redesigned large-line of cars in 1967, and for 1968 the Rebel was renamed the AMC Rebel as AMC began the process of phasing out the Rambler marque.
Throughout its life in the AMC model line-up, the Classic was the high-volume seller for the independent automaker .
* 1 First generation
* 1.1 1961
* 1.2 1962
* 1.2.1 Centaur
* 2 Second generation
* 2.1 1963
* 2.2 1964
* 2.2.1 Typhoon * 2.2.2 Cheyenne
* 3 Third generation
* 3.1 1965
* 3.1.1 Marlin
* 3.2 1966
* 3.2.1 Rambler Rebel * 3.2.2 Rambler St. Moritz
* 4 International markets
* 5 Owners * 6 Collectibility * 7 References * 8 External links
DESIGNER Edmund E. Anderson
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door sedan * 4-door sedan * 4-door station wagon
* 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6 * 250 cu in (4.1 L) V8 (1961)
* 3-speed manual * 3-speed with overdrive * 3-speed automatic
WHEELBASE 108 in (2,743 mm)
LENGTH 189.8 in (4,821 mm)
WIDTH 72.4 in (1,839 mm)
HEIGHT 57.3 in (1,455 mm)
* 2,915 lb (1,322 kg) I6 * 3,255 lb (1,476 kg) V8
The Rambler was the focus of AMC's management strategy under the
George W. Romney
Ramblers were available in two sizes and built on different automobile platforms . The larger-sized Rambler series was based on a 1956 design and was renamed as the CLASSIC for the 1961 model year to help create a stronger individual identity and contrast from the smaller Rambler American line. American Motors' Edmund E. Anderson designed the new 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase Ramblers "that looked new and fresh, but were in fact inexpensive reskinned models."
The 1961 Classic featured a new front end with a one-piece, rectangular extruded-aluminum grille, new fenders, hood, sculptured door panels, and side trim, as well as one-piece bumpers. Models included the DELUXE, the SUPER, and the CUSTOM (featuring bucket seats in a four-door sedan). The suggested retail price for the basic Deluxe four-door sedan was US$ 2,098 and was only $339 more for a station wagon.
In 1961, the Classic was available in either an I6 - 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) - or with a V8 - 250 cu in (4.1 L) - engine. A lighter by 80 pounds (36 kg) aluminum block version of the OHV I6 engine , sometimes referred to as the 196, was offered as an option on Deluxe and Super models. The die cast block features iron "sleeves" or cylinder liners with a cast iron alloy cylinder head and produces the same 127.5 horsepower (95 kW) as the cast iron version.
For the 1962 model year, the Super models were dropped and replaced
by a 400 model. Also for 1962, AMC's flagship Ambassador models were
shortened to the same 108-inch (2,700 mm) wheelbase as the Classic's
at the same time as the
The front grille was modified for 1962, but the free-standing Rambler lettering in the lower center remained. The revised rear end received new round tail lamps, while the previous tailfins were "shaved off". Rambler was one of the last cars to incorporate the tail fin design and became one of the first to "do away with them, and to build clean, simple, uncluttered cars." The back door upper window points were also rounded off for 1962.
Starting in 1962, AMC took a leadership role with safer brake systems in all Ramblers featuring twin-circuit brakes , a design offered by only a few cars at that time. Classics with an automatic transmission continued to use push-buttons mounted on the left side of the dashboard with a separate sliding pull tab for the "park" position. The cast-iron block six-cylinder engine was standard on Deluxe and Custom models with the aluminum version optional. The 400 received the aluminum block, but the cast-iron was a no cost option. Other improvements for 1962 included a price cut of $176 on the popular Custom Classic sedan.
The popularity of the compact-sized Classic continued in the face of a dozen new competitors. Sales of the 1962 model year Classics increased by over 56,000 in the first six months compared to the same period in 1961. A Popular Mechanics nationwide survey of owners that had driven a total of 1,227,553 miles (1,975,555 km) revealed that the Rambler is likeable, easy handling, providing stability and comfortable, roomy ride with low-cost operation. Flaws included inadequate power and poor workmanship.
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door sedan * 2-door hardtop (1964) * 4-door sedan * 5-door station wagon
* 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6 * 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 (Typhoon only) * 287 cu in (4.7 L) V8
* 3-speed manual * 3-speed with overdrive * 3-speed automatic * "Twin-Stick" on console * 3-speed “Shift-Command” on center console (1964)
WHEELBASE 112 in (2,845 mm)
LENGTH 188.8 in (4,796 mm)
WIDTH 71.3 in (1,811 mm)
HEIGHT 54.6 in (1,387 mm)
CURB WEIGHT 2,650 lb (1,200 kg) approximate
For the 1963 model year, the
Being of a suitable size for international markets, this Rambler was
assembled in a number of countries. In Europe,
The 1963 Classics were also the first all-new cars developed by AMC since 1956. Keeping the philosophy of the company, they were more compact – shorter and narrower by one inch (25 mm), as well as over two inches (56 mm) lower – than the preceding models; but lost none of their "family-sized" passenger room or luggage capacity featuring a longer 112-inch (2,845 mm) wheelbase.
American Motors' "senior" cars (Classic and Ambassador ) shared the same wheelbase and body parts, with only trim differences and standard equipment levels to distinguish the models. Classics came in pillared two- and four-door sedans , as well as four-door wagons. The model designations now became "a Mercedes -like three-number model designation" going from the lowest 550 (essentially fleet cars), 660, to highest 770 trims (replacing the Deluxe, Custom, and 400 versions).
As in 1962, the 1963 Classics were initially available only as 6-cylinder 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) models. The Ambassador's standard V8 power, featuring AMC's 327 cu in (5.4 L) engine, was the chief distinguishing feature from the Classic model line.
In mid-1963, a new 287 cu in (4.7 L) V8 option was announced for the Classic models. The 198 hp (148 kW; 201 PS) V8 equipped Rambler Classics combined good performance with good mileage; even with the optional "Flash-O-Matic" automatic transmission , they reached 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in about 10 seconds and returned fuel economy from 16 miles per US gallon (14.7 L/100 km; 19.2 mpg‑imp) to 20 miles per US gallon (11.8 L/100 km; 24.0 mpg‑imp).
The new AMC cars incorporated numerous engineering solutions. Among these was curved side glass, one of the earliest popular-priced cars with this feature. Another engineering breakthrough was combining separate parts in the monocoque (unit construction) body into single stampings. One example was the "uniside" door surround that was made from a single stamping of steel. Not only did it replace 52 parts and reduce weight and assembly costs, it also increased structural rigidity and provided for better fitting of the doors.
American Motors' imaginative engineering prompted Motor Trend magazine to give the Classic – and the similar Ambassador models – their Car of the Year award for 1963. Motor Trend's "award is based on pure progress in design, we like to make sure the car is also worthy of the title in the critical areas of performance, dependability, value, and potential buyer satisfaction."
The 1964 model year Classics, were refined with stainless steel rocker moldings, a flush single-plane aluminum grille replacing the previous year's deep concave design, and oval tail-lamps replacing the flush mounted lenses of the 1963's. Classics with bucket seats and V8 engine could be ordered with a new "Shift-Command" three-speed automatic transmission mounted on the center console that could be shifted manually.
A new two-door model joined the line only available in the top 770 trim. The pillar-less hardtop offered a large glass area, and "its sales were brisk." A sporty 770-H version featured individually adjustable reclining bucket seats , as well as center a console. Consumers continued to perceive Ramblers as economy cars and the six-cylinder models outsold V8-powered versions.
1964 Rambler Typhoon two-door hardtop
Production of this commemorative model was limited to 2,520 units and it was only available in a two-tone Solar Yellow body with a Classic Black roof, and a sporty all-vinyl interior for US$ 2,509. The car also featured a distinctive "Typhoon" script in place of the usual "Classic" name insignia, as well as a unique grille with black out accents. All other AMC options (except engine choices and colors) were available on the Typhoon.
The engine became the mainstay six-cylinder engine for AMC and Jeep vehicles. It was produced, albeit in a modified form, up until 2006. The 232 I6 engine's name was soon changed to "Torque Command", with Typhoon to describe AMC's new line of V8s introduced in 1966.
Chicago Auto Show
BODY AND CHASSIS
* 2-door sedan * 2-door hardtop * 2-door convertible * 4-door sedan * 4-door station wagon
* 199 cu in (3.3 L) I6 * 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6 * 258 cu in (4.2 L) I6 * 287 cu in (4.7 L) V8 * 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8
* 3-speed manual * 3-speed with overdrive * "Twin-Stick" on console (1965) * 4-speed manual (1966) * 3-speed automatic * 3-speed “Shift-Command” on center console
WHEELBASE 112 in (2,845 mm)
LENGTH 195 in (4,953 mm)
WIDTH 74.5 in (1,892 mm)
HEIGHT 55 in (1,397 mm)
CURB WEIGHT 2,980 lb (1,350 kg) V8 hardtop
The 1965 model year Classics underwent a major redesign of the new platform that was introduced in 1963; essentially the 1963–1964 design with a rectilinear reskin similar to that of concurrent Ambassadors. Fresh sheet metal design was applied to the original 112 in (2,800 mm) wheelbase and 195 in (5,000 mm) long integral body-frame with only the roof, doors, and windshield as carryovers. Unchanged was the suspension system including a torque tube with coil springs with a Panhard rod .
The 1965 Classic models were billed as the "Sensible Spectaculars," with emphasis on their new styling, powerful engines, and their expanded comfort and sports-type options, in contrast to the previous "economy car" image.
Popular Science magazine reported, "you can have a 1965 Classic as a penny-pinching economy car or a storming performance job." Additional performance options for 1965 included power front disk brakes with four-piston calipers that were supplied by Bendix . The standard 4-wheel drum brakes also continued to feature AMC's "Double-Safety" master cylinder system. The dual master cylinder was available in only one "Big Three " car: Cadillac.
At mid-model year, AMC introduced the 1965 Marlin , a halo car for the company. It was a mid-sized fastback design using the Rambler Classic platform. Marketed as a personal luxury car , the Marlin had unique styling and featured an exceptional array of standard equipment.
The 1966 model year Rambler Classics received minor trim changes and additional standard safety features, including padded dash and visors, left outside mirror, as well as seat belts for the front and rear passengers. The 660 mid-trim level was dropped leaving the 550 and 770 models for 1966. Available for the first time was a floor mounted four-speed manual transmission and a dash-mounted tachometer .
Classics received particular attention to the styling of the roofs for 1966. The two-door hardtop models received a rectangular rear window and more formal and angular "crisp-line" roofline that could be covered with vinyl trim. Sedans had an optional trim-outlined "halo" roof accent color. The station wagon's roof area over the cargo compartment was at the same level with the rest of the roof, no longer dipped down as in prior years. The wagons carried CROSS COUNTRY insignia and featured 83 cubic feet (2.35 m3) of cargo space, as well as a standard roof rack . Two wagon seating capacities were available: a standard six-passenger version with two-rows of seats with a drop-down bottom-hinged tailgate incorporating a fully retracting rear window for accessing cargo, or in an optional eight-passenger version with three-rows of seats (the third rear-facing) and a left-side hinged rear fifth door.
The name Classic was no longer considered a positive factor in the marketplace and AMC began reshuffling model names in 1966.
1966 Rambler Rebel 2-door hardtop
A top-of-the-line version of the two-door hardtop Classic was offered under the historic Rambler Rebel name. It replaced the 770-H and featured special badges and standard slim-type bucket seats with optional checked upholstery with two matching pillows. Public reaction to the tartan touch appearing in some of AMC's "Project IV" automobile show tour cars, was judged favorable enough to make the unique trim available on the Rebel hardtop.
Serving as one example to verify how AMC products were routinely derided by various automotive press, Popular Science magazine wrote that the new " Rambler Rebel reveals a sudden interest in performance," but its handling package cannot overcome the car's obsolete suspension design. However, AMC was reluctant to forfeit their Nash engineered suspension design which employed a strut type front and panhard rod controlled torque tube rear drive system, both having long coil springs to place the upper spring seats higher into the body of the car. This feature was to afford a softer ride quality and better handling by reducing the geometrical leverage of the car's center of gravity for less body roll "sway" in cornering. What was labeled as "obsolete" is juxtaposed by noting how General Motors employed a similar suspension system on their third generation Camaro and Firebird nearly twenty years later which had MacPherson strut front and a torque arm mounted rear drive axle.
Rambler St. Moritz
A customized show car was displayed along production models during the 1966 automobile show circuit, the snow- and ski-themed RAMBLER ST. MORITZ station wagon. The wagon with three rows of seats featured tinted rear side "observation" windows that curved up and over the roof. The less than half of the original metal roof remaining over the cargo area was finished by a polished metal band and equipped with special ski rack. The exterior was a light ice-blue pearlescent paint , while the car's dark blue interior featured Corfam upholstery with a metallic embroidered snowflake in each seat back.
1965 Rambler in India
In addition to outright exports from the U.S., AMC was involved in several overseas business ventures involving the production of Rambler Classics that were marketed in various international markets.
In 1963, the best-selling model in
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Right-hand-drive Rambler in
Rambler Classics were assembled by
Australian Motor Industries (AMI)
The Australian-assembled versions were identical in appearance to the
U.S. models through the three generations. The base prices of Rambler
Classics dropped with the introduction of the redesigned 1963 models
due to the elimination of some standard equipment such as the
reclining front seats and heater. Two four-door body styles were
available: sedan and station wagon. A Classic sedan was offered in
Starting in 1959, Purdy Motor, owned by Xavier Quirós Oreamuno,
distributed Rambler vehicles in
All three generations of the Rambler Classics were assembled from CKD
(Completely Knocked Down) kits in Renault's factory in Haren, Belgium
and sold through
The French coach builder,
Willys Mexicana S.A. had agreements with AMC to assemble the compact
Rambler American models and began preparing for the introduction of
The 1963 Rambler Classics were available only in two- and four-door
sedan body designs, both called
For 1964, the VAM
The 1965 model year underwent the styling changes of the U.S. cars.
The biggest change was AMC's new seven-main-bearing 232 cu in (3.8 L)
I6 engine in 145 hp (108 kW; 147 PS) version as standard equipment and
a double barrel 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS) version as optional. The new
engines were now manufactured in VAM's own factory that was built in
1964 at Lerma, State of
The cars saw a name change for 1966, from
Former U.S. presidential candidate,
Rambler Classics share numerous parts and components with other AMC models. New parts are somewhat plentiful and several vendors specialize in AMCs. There are also active AMC car clubs to assist owners. "Long admired for their simplicity, utilitarian design approach and servicing ease, Ramblers of the early-1960s are an inexpensive way to get into the collector-car hobby."
Among the most collectible models are the 1964 Typhoon hardtop and
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