Saturday, September 10, 2011
Car Of The Day: September 10, 2011
Today's car of the day is Johnny Lightning's 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler.
Rambler was an automobile brand name used by the Thomas B. Jeffery Company between 1900 and 1914, then by its successor, Nash Motors from 1950 to 1954, and finally by Nash's successor, American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1969. It was often nicknamed the "Kenosha Cadillac" after its place of manufacture.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Rambler SC/Rambler
The real vehicle is owned by a Hobby Talk member, and was at one point in time located in the Quaker Steak & Lube in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That would be he and his wife on the license plates (Matt & Val). The casting is among the earliest efforts from Playing Mantis and features cast wing windows, which are the only downside to the casting. But with the flat black tampos over them, they aren't nearly as distracting as they were on the original releases. Of course, AMC only offered two paint schemes on this car so the releases have been few and far inbetween over the years.
At the start of the 1960s George Romney made a marketing decision that more fully unified the various Rambler model names under the Rambler brand. In 1962, the Ambassador, a top-trim level model, was officially brought under the Rambler name (it had previously been named the "Ambassador by Rambler"), and the former Rambler Six and Rambler Rebel V8 were renamed the Rambler Classic. (Note: while the top-line models for 1958-1961 were advertised as the "Ambassador V-8 by Rambler", on the cars themselves, the nomenclature was "Rambler Ambassador".)
Romney also put into play his plan to slash production costs, which involved more common parts sharing between the Ambassador and Classic models. Beginning in 1962, all "senior" Rambler models would share the same automobile platform with identical wheelbase and body parts, but the engines, trims, and equipment levels distinguished the Classic from the Ambassador.
In 1963, the entire Rambler line received the Motor Trend Car of the Year award. However, Romney's departure to become Michigan governor opened the door for his successor, Roy Abernethy, to redirect the company towards a strategy of competing head to head with the Big Three (General Motors, Chrysler Corporation, and Ford Motor Company) with a variety of bodies and automobile platforms. This new plan also included marketing the various models apart from the Rambler brand name, which Abernethy felt would be a hindrance in the market segments he hoped to pursue.
One of the first moves in that direction was the creation of the 1965 line of Ramblers, which split the Classic from the Ambassador visually, while still sharing a significant number of parts. Once again the Ambassador had a unique, extended wheelbase. In addition, AMC introduced the Marlin, a hardtop coupe intended to give AMC a toe-hold in the sporty fastback market.
Backed by marketing reports, Abernethy next made a persuasive argument to the AMC board that the Rambler name had not only acquired a stodgy image and was a hindrance to increasing sales, but that consumers associated it with compact cars. In what hindsight would show to be an ill-conceived decision, American Motors began to phase it out in favor of an AMC marque beginning in 1966, as it attempted to become a multiplatform automobile manufacturer. Retention of the well-known Rambler brand name and its association with compact economy models could have served AMC well in the 1970s.
By 1968, the only vehicle produced by AMC to carry the Rambler marque, was the compact Rambler American. Although designed as a no-nonsense economy car, the American spawned the audacious SC/Rambler developed with Hurst Performance. While AMC planned to produce only 500 for the 1969 model year, the Scrambler proved so popular two more groups of about 500 each were built. All featured the same 390 cu in (6.4 l) V8, four-barrel carburetor, and close-ratio four-speed transmission of the AMX, plus Hurst shifter, Twin-Grip (limited slip) differential, and cold air hood. For the final year in 1969 the models were simply called Rambler.
The last U.S. built Rambler was produced on 30 June 1969, and it was one of over 4.2 million cars to carry the Rambler name that rolled off the assembly line in Kenosha.
The Rambler marque was continued in numerous international markets. Examples include AMC Hornets and AMC Matadors assembled by the Australian Motor Industries (AMI) from complete knock down (CKD) kits that continued to be badged as Ramblers until 1978. The Rambler nameplate was last used on automobiles in 1983 by Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos (VAM) in Mexico.
In Argentina, Rambler passenger cars were assembled by Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) starting 1962. A special model based on the third generation Rambler American became the IKA Torino in 1967. It later was named the Renault Torino and was offered until 1980. However, U.S. Rambler Classic and Ambassador models were also assembled in Argentina through 1972.