Saturday, September 27, 2008

First, a little history . . .

Nash Kelvinator and Hudson Motors merged in 1954, becoming American Motors Corporation. For 1958, in a move of either sheer luck or enlightened genius, AMC resurrected the 1950 Nash Rambler, rebadged it as the Rambler American, and put it in their showrooms. To the amazement of all, the “bathtub” Americans sold quite well. For 1961, they put a new body on the ancient chassis and tried again. As before, the new “breadbox” Americans sold quite well. For 1964, the American was truly all new. The new American was based on a modified Rambler Classic chassis that was all new in 1963. The new Rambler American was shorter and narrower than the Classic and had a sporty new look designed by Richard Teague. The only misstep was that the narrowed engine bay was not wide enough for AMC’s eight cylinder power plant. Who would want a compact, sporty economy car with a big engine, anyway? Mustang answered that question mid-year and kicked the American’s butt. The 1964 restyle carried the American until 1969, when it was replace by the Hornet. It was the last car to carry the Rambler name.

My history with Rambler Americans goes back to 1968 when I acquired my first one; a 1960. While in the Army, my parents lent it out to a cousin and I never saw it again. In the Army, I had a 1962 while stationed in Georgia. It was sold and left behind. Columbia, SC saw me in another 1962 long about 19eighty-something. It died from old age and lack of resussitation funds.

This one brings me back into the Rambler fold for the first time in many years. I opted for a 1964 to get the sporty look and modern underpinnings. These are random pictures taken over the last year in the DC area.

If you are looking for navigation, cruise control, or power anything - you're in the wrong car. Even the steering and brakes are muscle operated. I also have vacuum windshield wiper - talk about intermitant! To be honest, the radio has been converted to AM/FM, the iPod connection is in the glove box, the amp in tucked away in the trunk, and I have four new speakers hidden front and back. I love the basic nature or the car, but I'm not about to give up my music.

This is one of the reasons you buy a car like this. My partner (that's his '65 Mercedes 230SL) had pretty much turned into couch potatoes. We now belong to the Straight Eights Car Club and have a good reason to get out of the house a couple of times a month.

We also make it out to a few shows - just for fun. This one is in Rockville, MD.

Even in a crowd, the Rambler stands out.

This was my first time around the block in my new Rambler. It's just keeps getting better and better. One of the first things I bought was a cover for it. The Rambler hasn't sat still long enough to put in on. The cover is still in its box.

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