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'65 Rambler Classic

401 Power

1965 Rambler Classic 660 2-door Sedan (also known as a "post" car in other brands)

Built as a weekend warrior driven on the street (no drag strip duty).

Originally a base model 6 cylinder car, it has been through a transformation over 10 years.

I decided to do a mini-tub job on it followed by a repaint. Tiger Eye (Honda color) on top with the original Monterey Rose on the bottom but I added a pearl binder coat under the clear.

Wheels and tires Billet Specialties Streetlites

15x10 with 295/50R15 Hankook Ventus H101

15x6 with 205/70R15 Hankook Optimo H727

Eventually my affinity for V8 power overwhelmed me. I knew it had to be AMC power. My go-fast illness dictated that it would have to be the BIGGEST of AMC power. That meant nothing less than a 401 would suffice.

Some specifics: Venolia forged pistons 10.5:1, Edelbrock aluminum heads, Torker intake manifold, Pro Systems 950 carburetor, Mallory 140gph electric pump, Doug's headers 1-3/4" primaries, MSD programmable 6AL, 3000 stall converter, 2.5" exhaust with x-pipe and Hooker Aerochamber mufflers

This was a barn find from middle Tennessee. The original owner (97 years old) passed away and the family didn't want the car. They were going to give it to Goodwill, but the neighbor bought it instead and I bought the car from him.

The car was in really good original paint, with the original dealership sticker on the back. The manual, invoice, warrantee card, etc. were all in the glovebox. The interior was all original and in good condition.

The car WAS a low option Classic 660 model. It is radio delete ( no antenna hole in the body), vacuum wipers, manual steering and manual drum brakes, no headrests, or backup lights. It was a 232 L6 automatic.

First I drove it original for a couple of years except I HAD to install a set of wheels on it, so I polished up a set of old school slots 14x6 and 14x7 with Radial T/A's.

No more grandpa car!

Second set of wheels. Summit five spokes in 15x6 and 15x8.

At the same time I also lowered the front end 1-5/8" with lowering plates.

This is the interior since reupholstered. The door panels are still in excellent condition. The center strips in the seats and the piping is original NOS material. It is the last of this material in existence.

I also added head rests that I pulled from a highly optioned parts car I purchased.

This is the original interior. I only reupholstered because the fabric was splitting from age. 49 years of southern temperatures finally won the battle.

I refuse to cut original dashes for aftermarket gauges and modern stereos, so I built a nice console.

The completed console. With the B&M shifter.

Rear suspension setup.

Since the Classic is a torque tube suspension, the entire drivetrain had to be replaced. This included the differential to utilize an open drive shaft. It now has an 8.8 Ford differential from an Explorer narrowed 3" (3.73 gear trac-lock) suspended with ladder bars and coilovers. All the ends on the ladder bars are urethane to cut down on suspension noise.

This is the rendering that I worked from. I obviously changed the top color to a darker hue, but its the basic concept I was going for.

Finally pulled the trigger on EFI. Bought a FiTech 600hp rated throttle body system. The car has never run as good as it does now. It was easy to install even for an old Neanderthal like me. I will never go back to carburetors (unless an EMP fries all electronics). My exhaust is cleaner. My idle is dead stable. Most importantly, I can hop in and drive it with no warm up and feathering the throttle to keep it running when it's cold. Love . . . It!


More Cars of the 1960s
More AMC Coverage

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davester304 on Dec 2, 2014 said:

Great job on the resto, and keeping another AMC on the road. Awesome that you put the 401 in it to keep it AMC under the hood too. No more 'Grandpa" car for sure! See my Javelin if you get a chance.

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azmusclecar on Dec 26, 2014 said:

Amazing how a grandpa car turns in to a head turner with just a few "TASTEFUL" mods.

Nice work...not many tubbed Ramblers out there....

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