Up Against the Big Three, AMC Fought the Good Fight
For a comparatively small auto manufacturer, American Motors Corp. did an admirable job in trying to keep up with America's powerful "Big Three" (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) by offering a variety of models and sizes.
The smallest of AMC's 1960 offerings was the British-American Metropolitan subcompact, available as a tiny coupe or convertible, with a four-cylinder British Austin engine. Then came the Rambler American, a small six on a compact 100-inch wheelbase, available in Deluxe, Super or Custom models.
Next up the scale was the illustrated Rambler Six, also available as a Deluxe, Super or Custom. The V-8 powered Rebel looked quite similar to the Rambler Six in styling and was available in the same three editions.
Top of the AMC line for 1960 was the 117-inch-wheelbase Ambassador V-8: Deluxe, Super or Custom. The most expensive Ambassador Custom eight-passenger station wagon was priced at $3,151, plus extras (automatic transmission, power steering, overdrive, air conditioning, etc.)
The lowest-priced AMC models were the miniature Metropolitans, at $1,725 (coupe) or $1,749 (convertible). During 1960, American Motors carried on an appealing series of color magazine ads for the Rambler Six and Rebel V-8, employing the talents of several of America's leading panel cartoonists. Cartoons were mixed in with photos of the real cars and real people, and among the cartoonists engaged for the colorful displays were Whitney Darrow, Eldon Dedini, Syd Hoff, George Lichty, Willard Mullin, George Price and others.
Rambler was a pioneer in the low-priced field with modern single-unit body/frame construction - "stronger, longer-lasting, rattleproof." Front seats could be moved back and forth separately, with reclining seatbacks and adjustable headrests.
"Deep Dip" rustproofing, also pioneered by AMC, saved hundreds of dollars in depreciation costs. When people live in coastal areas with salt air and fog, or in states where roads are heavily salted in winter, they can appreciate this particular feature.
Originally, Rambler was an early-day ancestor of Nash and the AMC cars, until 1913. It was replaced by the 1914 Jeffery, which, in turn, was replaced by the 1917 Nash. Later, Nash revived the Rambler name in 1950 for an all-new compact-sized car, and the Rambler continued long after the 1954 merger of Nash and Hudson, which brought forth American Motors Corporation.
AMC Ramblers have never been "hot" items in the collector's car market, but they are respected for their dependability, longevity and fuel economy, and they have their loyal admirers.
In the early 1980s, France's Renault bought into AMC, and a few years later Chrysler Corporation bought AMC, mainly to get Jeep (which had become an AMC property in '69-'70). Both Jeep and Eagle vehicles continue today, acquistions from Chrysler's buyout of AMC.