Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Cruiser: 1965 AMC Rambler American

Happy Friday to all you readers out in cyber space. As winter fades away, and the weather starts to turn...I can't help but think of the Friday evening car shows that dot the landscape of this country...and the entire Northern hemisphere, for that matter.  Anyway, this next car looks just perfect for a cruise to a Friday night car show.  Find this 1965 AMC Rambler American offered for $4650 in Oxnard, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Sean S.

From the seller:

Had this station wagon as a cruiser but don't have time to enjoy it. Runs and drives 

Inline 6 engine with automatic trans. 

Extras not installed
Air bag suspension 
Disc front brake conversion

Gauges don't work
Paint isn't perfect

See a better way to rock flames?


  1. I had to buy a wagon yesterday, sadly not this one. The wife got a e350. Pretty nice driving car.

    I have a challenge for my fellow DTers. Can you find my car for sale on CL? I listed it yesterday. I can give more hints if needed.

  2. Nice wagon, at a nice price. Personally I would be glad that the air suspension is not yet installed (don't care for the slammed look).

    But DT, your comment about winter fading away! Up where I am, this is the time of year where all hope is suspended. We grasp at straws, telling ourselves "well, I am pretty sure there was no daylight at 4:30 a couple of weeks ago...". Our summer cars lay in continuing hibernation, without even a thought to peeling back the car cover as we pass them on the way to hop into the frozen, salt-encrusted lumps that are our daily drivers. We twist the key, wincing at the tortured sound of pistons responding to the starter sucking the last few remaining amps from the near-solid battery. Combustion initially happens only randomly, then more reliably as we creep out into the polar darkness. Finger-light in summer, the gear change demands not just guidance, but actual physical effort to move from gate to gate. Suspension? What suspension? Spring rates are approaching those normally only seen on locomotives, and shock fluid would not leak out if you punctured the barrel with an ice pick. Luckily the eight layers of clothing you are wearing provides the missing cushioning, but combined with the fact that the seats no longer compress, you drive with your head against the roof, neck twisted to the right. The blower motor is making a sound like an injured wolverine, but is still losing the fight to keep the windows clear. Not to worry, you are a veteran of these battles, so you drive with an ice scraper clasped between your caribou mitten and the shift knob. On through the blackness, you go and dream of seasons yet to come...

  3. The 1965 AMC Rambler American definitely has some character that can't be duplicated on any other car. The automobile industry has changed its marketing strategies so much since 1965, the product naming usually involves aggressive and fierce car names. The paint isn't perfect, but I still dig the blue flames.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. My first car was a '66 Rambler wagon. Light green, 232ci straight 6, 3-on-the-tree. Bought it for $200 in the spring of '80 with about 110k on it if I remember correctly. Two years and some later, when I sold it for scrap, it was pushing 140k and drank about as much oil, coolant, and brake fluid as gas. The front end was shot, the clutch slipped, the heater core was clogged, and the exhaust had more patches than my jeans. Not a great car, but a good one. Nothing much broke, it just kept going until it wore out.

      But I lived out of it for 2 long, epic summers. Something like 25k miles of exploring Canada and the western US. It turned out to be just about the perfect vehicle for me at the time. Great memories.

      The vacuum-powered wipers were pretty much worthless. On the highway, I'd have to take my foot off the gas to get a full cycle. Uphill in the mountains - forget about it. I eventually tied a cord to the left wiper and ran it through the wing window for a manual assist. That worked pretty well until the right side wiper broke off at the stub - after that the left side worked just fine on it's own. Wing windows and footwell vents - two features that are sorely missing from modern cars.

      Ten years later I bought an '85 Volvo wagon. Same basic concept as my old Rambler, but much better execution. Drove that car for about 10 years, giving it up at almost 200k only because of terminal rust.

      The ad for the featured Rambler doesn't give the buyer much to work with. No photos and no mention of the engine, interior, etc. Sounds like they started their customization project with the cosmetics but gave up on the mechanicals. The front wheels are splayed and the rear end is sagging. The body looks pretty good, as does the fresh paint. But I'm not sold on the flames and fancy wheels on a car that probably has the rather anemic straight 6. All show and no go? Maybe, if it has the V8...

      - John

      P.S. For those of us in the subarctic, Bobinott has it about right.

  5. Sad, but I know exactly where that top shot was taken - boat launch parking lot, Shelter Island, San Diego. We used to vacation there at least once a month until we moved to the midwest.


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