The 1958 AMC Rambler was once a handsome mid-size car before that was even a category

By: Bruce Kunz

September 3rd, 2017

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Old Car Column

 

There we were, cruising around the I-255 loop, in Dupo, headed toward home, when I saw her resting there in what can best be described as a “junkyard.”

Lou and I had been dropping off fliers all day for the “Rollin’ With the FIN MAN St. Louis tour coming up this Saturday. I had to explain to him “junkyards” were what we called them back in “the day” before the age of political correctness set in and they became “salvage yards” or “automotive recycling centers.”

What you see here was once a handsome mid-size car, before mid-size cars were even recognized as a category. AMC marketing mavens were touting Rambler as “the best of both American big-car roomy luxury and European small-car handling ease and gasoline savings.”

Lucky was the teenage boy whose father owned a Rambler, because, while it may not have been the hottest-looking ride at Chuck-A-Burger on cruise nights, with it’s Airliner Reclining Seats and Twin Travel Beds, it was certainly a good choice for prom night!

This particular car has seen far better days, but when it rolled off the showroom floor, dressed up in Sierra Peach, some lucky new car buyer was mighty proud and ready to show it off.

Power was provided by either a 127 horsepower Rambler Economy 6 or the 215 hp Rebel V-8. And, AMC was not about to let the “Big 3” upstage them when it came to options, offering not only power steering, brakes and windows — but air conditioning as well.

The Rambler for 1958 came in three trim levels including, from bottom to top, Deluxe, Super and Custom. When fitted with the 250 cube V-8 (Super and Custom models only), “Rebel” was added to the vehicle model name. The stainless trim on the side of this car gives it away as being a Super.

Your last chance to roll with me

Tomorrow was supposed to be the last day for reserving your seat for “Rollin’ With the FIN MAN II — StL” … a tour of St. Louis, including stops at MotoeXotica, Precision Restorations, lunch at Miss Sheri’s Cafeteria and a visit to see George Randall’s private collection with wine tasting, coming up THIS Saturday, Sept. 9. Due to a number of big events this weekend, the turnout has been less than expected.

In order to maximize attendance, I am extending the deadline until this Friday, Sept. 8. I will also be holding a “Breakfast With the FIN MAN” at a new location, Courtesy Diner, a retro ’50s diner, replete with a chrome and neon façade, located at 8000 Laclede Station Road, at its intersection with Heege Road (and near Watson Road). The breakfast meet will commence at 8 a.m. and end around noon.

You may purchase tickets for Saturday’s tour at the Friday breakfast. Cash, credit/debit card or personal checks will be accepted. Our raffle will be a big one and, with fewer people than expected, that means the odds will be in your favor to win big! Please get your orders in ASAP, so I can let Vandalia Bus Lines know how many seats we will need come Saturday morning.

Remember, the first pick-up will be at 8 a.m. at the MoDOT commuter lot, in North County (at I-270 and Lilac Ave.). From there, we will travel to the MoDOT commuter lot, in South County (at I-270 and Gravois Rd.), for pick-up at 9 a.m.

Thanks for reading the Old Car Column and Keep on Cruisin’!


Bruce Kunz, a.k.a. “THE FIN MAN,” is a member of the Society of Automobile Historians. If you love old cars and care about kids, visit thefinman.com.