In a booming automotive market during the 1960’s, American Motors decided to diversify away from being the choice of spinster librarians and penny pinchers. They decided to broaden the scope of their offerings away from mere economy champs that racked up multiple wins at the MobilGas Economy run and high resale values based on stout construction.
The goal became to take on the Big 3 manufacturers on their own individual turfs. All 3 low priced brands would begin to offer Compact, Intermediate and Full Sized offerings and AMC was determined to go to war with equivalent models in each size segment.
The incredible bit of reality is that underneath it all, all 3 AMC lines were basically the same platform underneath. The basic 1963 Car Of The Year had been narrowed and shortened to become the “all new” American. For 1965 the Ambassador would go back to the tradition of extensions ahead of the cowl to make a more impressive “full sized” offering.
This left the Classic with the “classic” mid-sized portions to do battle with a bevy of choices for burgeoning families during 1965. The field had grown hysterically since 1963.
Not only was there a Ford Fairlane, but now there was the Chevelle/Malibu from Chevrolet, the Tempest/LeMans from Pontiac, the re-branded plucked chicken Belvedere/Satellite from Plymouth and Coronet from Dodge.
It’s also worth noting that Dodge’s “compact” Dart and Mercury’s “compact” Comet were nearly the same size as the Classic as well.
It was an insanely cramped place to market a product. It was an insanely difficult place to peddle a product that was seen as decidedly un-hip as an AMC/Rambler product had the misfortune to be seen as. It didn’t help matters that the emphasis on economy focused more on miserly sedans, leaving production figures of more profitable Hardtop and Convertible models at levels that left much to be desired where other manufactures did pretty decent business.
This makes the siting of a rather workaday trim level Classic in the more sporty Hardtop form a bit of a find. It’s the sort of car pretty much forgotten 50 years later. Quiet, unassuming, and ready for duty, here’s hoping this little Rambler has it a little bit easier being green for the next 50 years.