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Thread: Rambler American (3rd gen) 1964-1969

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    Rambler American (3rd gen) 1964-1969

    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.

    Third generation
    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. Teague selected the front-end design developed by Bob Nixon, who would later be put in charge of AMC's small car studio.[38] 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
    In addition to the top-of-the-line 440 models, the cheaper 330 and 220 models were also available, and Rambler American sales soared to a record 160,000-plus. he old 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) I6 was a gas stingy champ in the Mobil Economy Runs and available in 90 hp (67 kW; 91 PS), 125 hp (93 kW; 127 PS), and 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) versions.

    However, American Motors focused its marketing on the economy of the new models, an advertising of a kind that was previously only popular during the Great Depression.

    1965
    The 1965 Americans were little changed, but were advertised as "The Sensible Spectaculars". his 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. here were few changes to AMC's smallest models, as Abernethy pinned his hopes for recovery not so much on the low-priced Rambler American as on the medium and higher-priced Classic and Ambassador lines.

    The 1965 models were the last year for the venerable flathead six available in 90 hp (67 kW; 91 PS) or 125 hp (93 kW; 127 PS) versions. It was the last flathead engine to be used in a domestic U.S. car.

    The year also saw the introduction of an entirely new 232 cu in (3.8 L) overhead valve straight-6 engine.[45] This 155 hp (116 kW; 157 PS) engine was available on any American model equipped with an automatic transmission. American Motors would use this modern straight-six design 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 Jeep 4.0, which Chrysler would continue their production after its purchase of AMC in 1987, all the way through 2006.

    The 440 trim was available as a convertible and it was the most affordable U.S.-made open body style with prices starting at $2,418. It was available with twin individually adjustable and reclining front seats or buckets with center console. It was one of the best convertibles on the market, but it lacked some of the sporty features that buyers wanted such as a V8 engine.

    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 Datsun.

    Rambler Carrousel
    The 1964 Chicago Auto Show featured a special version of a top-of-the-line American named the Rambler Carrousel on raised rotating platform. The 1965 show car exterior was finished in "Turquoise Fireflake" and a white leather interior with turquoise carpeting, instrument panel, and slim bucket seats. Other features included die-cast aluminum road wheels and AMC's console-mounted Twin-Stick manual transmission.

    American Motors made specially trimmed, production-based show cars and the Carrousel was one of three concepts displayed for 1965 at the Chicago Show: the Rambler Tarpon fastback and the Rambler Cheyenne station wagon.

    1966
    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 Rambler American was again the overall winner in the Mobil Economy Run. The mid-trim level 330 model was dropped, leaving the top 440 and base 220 models in the lineup for 1966. The top of the line model, available only as a two-door hardtop, saw its name changed from 440-H, to Rogue.

    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. The engine continued to be assembled through 1991 for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer; long after AMC had been sold to Chrysler in 1987.

    Source: Wikipedia

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    1967
    The 1967 model year Rambler American used the same body styling as the previous year's models, with only minor changes that included new taillamps and full-length body moldings on 440 and Rogue models that was now positioned lower on the sides. The last convertible available in the American series was in 1967, and it was moved up from 440 models to join the hardtop in the Rogue trim version. The American was available in nine models, and was the only U.S. compact to be available in "all" body styles (2-door, 4-door, sedan, wagon, pillar-less hardtop, and convertible).

    For 1967 only, AMC's new high-compression (10.2:1) 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.[57] 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 (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 advertising campaign future changes to the car would be to enhance safety and reliability. The American's 1966 design was then continued mostly unchanged through the 1969 model year.

    1968
    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 Rambler American increased and the showroom traffic boosted morale among AMC's independent dealerships. This was backed up by a marketing campaign stating, "Either we're charging too little for our cars or everyone else is charging too much." The promotion and lower prices were designed to rekindle the Rambler American as a practical and economical car in customers' minds. Advertisements by AMC's new agency, Wells, Rich, and Greene, headed by Mary Wells Lawrence violated the accepted rule of not attacking the competition.

    1969
    Since its introduction "the Rambler American has done well at American Motors." For its final model year, 1969, the "American" name was dropped as the car was now referred to as the "American Motors Rambler". Continuing the tradition of minimal changes, the models received a new "suspended" accelerator pedal and cable throttle linkage. Additional safety equipment for the 1969 models included front shoulder belts and headrests for both front outboard seating positions and the front parking lights stayed on with the headlights. On the exterior, the center horizontal chrome grille bar was deleted.
    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.[69] 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.

    Source: Wikipedia

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