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    AMC Ambassador (4th gen) 1963-1964

    The Ambassador was the top-of-the-line automobile produced by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1958 until 1974. The vehicle was known as the Ambassador V-8 by Rambler, Rambler Ambassador, and finally AMC Ambassador during its tenure in production. Previously, the name Ambassador had applied to Nash's "senior" full-size cars.

    The Ambassador nameplate was used continuously from 1927 until 1974 (the name being a top-level trim line between 1927 and 1931); at the time it was discontinued, Ambassador was the longest continuously used car nameplate in automotive history.

    Most Ambassador models were built in Kenosha, Wisconsin. They were also built at AMC's Brampton Assembly in Brampton, Ontario from 1963 to 1966. Australian Motor Industries (AMI) assembled Ambassadors from knock-down kits with right-hand drive from 1961 to 1963. The U.S. fifth generation Ambassadors were produced by Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) in Córdoba, Argentina from 1965 to 1972, as well as assembled by ECASA in Costa Rica from 1965 to 1970. Planta REO assembled first-generation Ambassadors in Mexico at its Monterrey, Nuevo León plant. Fifth and seventh generation Ambassadors were modified into custom stretch limousines in Argentina and the U.S.

    Fourth generation
    1963
    In 1962 Romney left AMC to run for Governor of Michigan, a position that he won. The automaker's new president, Roy Abernethy, who was responsible for the increasing sales under Romney, reacted to the mounting competition (in 1963 AMC built as many cars as they had in 1960, but overall total car sales had increased so much that it gave AMC only sixth place in production; the same output in 1960 had put them third) in a logical way: "Let's get rid of this Romney image."

    A completely redesigned larger Rambler lineup appeared. The new cars continued the philosophy in building smaller cars than its larger "Big Three" competitors that also had a high degree of interchangeability in parts to keep tooling costs and production complexity to a minimum. The company, which pioneered "styling continuity", introduced all-new styling for the 1963 model year Ambassadors and claimed that these were "functional changes .... not change just for the sake of change." The Ambassadors featured a 4-inch (102 mm) longer wheelbase, but were 1.2-inch (30 mm) shorter due to reduced front and rear body overhangs, as well as a 3-inch (76 mm) drop in overall height.

    Designed by Richard A. Teague, the 1963 Ambassador's shape was much tighter, cleaner, and smoother, with almost all of its parts interchangeable between it and the new Classic. All Ambassadors used unitized structure instead of the more rattl-prone, traditional body-on-frame construction which was still the industry standard. In 1963, AMC's new 112 in (2,845 mm) wheelbase cars (Ambassadors and Classics) used a revolutionary method of unit construction which has since been almost universally adopted by automobile manufacturers. AMC Ambassador and Classics used outerpanels stamped from single sheet metal panels which included both door frames and outer rocker panels. This resulted in an extremely rigid and rattle-free structure, better fit of doors into frames, production cost savings and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The "uniside" structure was superior to the conventional production methods in which multiple smaller pieces were welded together. There were 30% fewer parts and the result was greater structural rigidity, quieter car operation, and an overall weight reduction of about 150 pounds (68 kilograms).

    Curved side glass and push-button door handles were new and costly upgrades, but contributed to the new Rambler's handsome, elegant, and modern Mercedes-like bodyside styling, by adding greater elegance in detail. At the time, curved side glass was used only in much more expensive luxury cars, but increased interior room and visibility, as well as reducing wind noise and improved proportions and styling of the cars. The Ambassador also featured a squared-off Thunderbird-type roofline. The front end featured a forward-thrusting upper and lower ends with a vertical bar "electric shaver" chrome grille insert. The Ambassador's grille was differentiated from the Classic's grille by its use of the Ambassador name in script in the small horizontal bar between the upper and lower grille sections. Round quad headlights were slightly recessed in chrome bezels mounted side-by-side within the grille at its outermost edges. Overall, the new Ambassadors were described by the staff of Automotive Fleet magazine as "probably the finest looking cars ever produced by American Motors."

    Ambassadors once again came in 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and 4-door wagon body styles, but new trim lines debuted. A "Mercedes-like three-number model designation was developed" with the 800 as the Ambassador's base line (replacing the previous year's Super model) for the police, taxi, and fleet market, a 880 model (in place of the Custom), and the up level 990 trim (replacing the previous 400 models)

    The 1963 Ambassadors were offered only with the 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8, in either 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS) 2-barrel or 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS) 4-barrel versions. AMC's smaller 287 cu in (4.7 L) V8 engine was only offered in the Classic line. The automatic transmission was controlled by a steering column mounted lever, replacing the previous pushbutton system. Maintenance was reduced with service intervals of the front wheel bearings increased from 12,000–25,000 miles (19,312–40,234 kilometres), the recommended engine oil change was at 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometres), and all Ambassador models included an alternator and an electronic voltage regulator as standard equipment.

    Sales were brisk, and the redesign was billed a success, with Motor Trend Magazine bestowing Car of the Year status on the entire 1963 Rambler line, including the Ambassador. The marketing formula for the Ambassador generated record sales for the model with buyers favoring more luxury and features as evidenced by the Ambassador 990 models outselling the 880 versions by nearly 2-to-1, while the base 800 model had a total of only 43 two-door sedans built. The automaker did not have the resources of GM, Ford, and Chrysler, nor the sales volume to spread out its new model tooling and advertising costs over large production volumes; however, Richard Teague "turned these economical cars into smooth, streamlined beauties with tons of options and V-8 pep."

    1964
    The 1964 model year introduced minor trim changes and new options. The "electric-shaver" grille on the 1963 model was replaced with a flush-mounted design, and the engine and transmission options were widened. A two-door hardtop body style called 990-H was added for the first time since 1957. Base 880 and the 880 models were dropped from the line.
    The 1964 Ambassadors featured the 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS) 2-barrel 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 as standard, with the 4-barrel 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS) version as optional. The automaker did not offer a 4-speed manual transmission to compete with the sporty mid-size V8 offerings from Ford or GM. Instead, AMC offered its innovative “Twin-Stick” manual transmission. The "Twin stick" option consisted a three-speed manual transmission, operated by one of the two console mounted "sticks" in conjunction with an overdrive unit that was controlled by the second "stick" in both 2nd and 3rd gears. This gave the driver the option of using five forward gears. One magazine noted the Twin-Stick, 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS) Ambassador was heading for a sub 16-second quarter-mile when they blew up the clutch.

    Source: Wikipedia

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