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Thread: Rambler American (2nd gen) 1961-1963

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    Rambler American (2nd gen) 1961-1963

    The Rambler American is a compact car that was 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 Canadian and United States markets.

    The compact Rambler American was most often the lowest priced car built in the U.S. It was popular for its economy in ownership, as was proven by numerous Mobilgas Economy Run championships. After an optional second-generation AMC V8 engine was added in 1966, it also became known as a powerful compact performance model that also included the 390 cu in (6.4 L) version built in conjunction with Hurst, the 1969 SC/Rambler.

    A special youth-oriented concept car, the 1964 Rambler Tarpon, was built on an Rambler American platform that foretold the fastback design of the 1965 Rambler Marlin, as well as future trends in sporty-type pony cars, including the 1968 AMC Javelin.

    Second generation
    The second generation Rambler American was achieved through a heavy restyling of the previous year's model under AMC's styling Vice President Edmund E. Anderson. While mechanically identical to the 1960 model, Anderson's restyle resulted in a car that was three inches (76 mm) narrower and shorter in its exterior dimensions with an overall length of 173.1 inches (4,397 mm), but increased in its cargo capacity. Continuing to ride on the 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase, the American's new styling was more square (sometimes described as "breadbox") instead of the round "roly-poly" shape (or "bathtub"), and the visual connection with the original 1950 Nash model had finally disappeared along with the last of the engineering compromises required to accommodate George Mason's favored skirted front wheels as the new skin, designed from the outset with open wheelarches in mind, reduced overall width a full three inches. Popular Mechanics wrote "seldom has a car been completely restyled as the 1961 Rambler American and yet retain the same engine, driveline, suspension on the same unit body". All outside sheet metal was changed, but the side window frames remained the same as previous models. Only the back glass changed to conform to the new roof line. The firewall and dash board were new stampings, with the clutch and brake pedals moved from under the floor to the firewall.

    1961
    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.

    1962
    Setting new sales records, American Motors continued its "policy of making changes only when they truly benefited the customer." The 1962 model year Rambler American lineup was essentially the same as 1961. Model designations changed with the Custom trim becoming a 400.

    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 Rambler American remained the oldest, smallest, "stubbornly unique" refusing "to conform to Detroit's standard pattern for scaled-down automobiles" and "free of gimmicky come-ons." A 10,000-mile (16,093 km) road test by Popular Science described the 1962 Rambler American as "sturdy, solid, dependable little automobile, comfortable to drive ... a good buy for what it's built for transportation, not a status symbol."

    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."

    1963
    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 carryover Rambler American models.
    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.

    Source: Wikipedia

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