Car: Rambler American Convertible
What makes it special: The Rambler American was manufactured by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) between 1958 and 1969. The American can be classified in three distinct model year generations: 1958 to 1960, 1961 to 1963, and 1964 to 1969. During the entire length of its production, the car was sold under the Rambler brand name, and was the last Rambler named automobile marketed in the Canadian and United States markets.
What made it famous: For 1963, a new hardtop with no B-pillar coupe body design debuted, whose steel roof was designed to mimic the appearance of a closed convertible top. This was a one-model-year-only design with a thin profile, clean lines, stamped faux-convertible ribs, and a textured finish. A special top-of-the-line model called the 440-H was equipped with sports-type features including individually adjustable reclining front bucket seats and a center console, as well as a more powerful 138 hp version of Rambler’s 195.6 cu in inline-6 engine. An optional console shifted “Twin-Stick” manual overdrive transmission was introduced. This transmission has a bigger gap between 2nd and 3rd gears compared to the regular 3-speed transmissions with overdrive that operated like a 5-speed although the driver needed to know the governor cut-in speed, free-wheeling, as well as when to lock the overdrive in or out. This allowed the transmission to be shifted as a 5-speed (1, 2, 2+OD, 3, and 3+OD). The Twin-Stick-shift had the kick-down button on top of the main shift-knob to facilitate five-speed shifting.
Why I would want one: It’s so odd it’s appealing. They make great material for street rods and are not as common, for those like me who dare-to-be-different.
Fun fact: The compact Rambler American was most often the lowest priced car built in the U.S.