AJ’s Car of the Day: 1963 AMC Rambler Ambassador 990 Wagon

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1963 AMC Rambler Ambassador 990 Wagon

Car: AMC Rambler Ambassador 990 Wagon

Year: 1963

What makes it special: Ambassador was the top-of-the-line produced by the American Motors Corporation, or just AMC,  from 1958 until 1974. It was known as the AMC Ambassador, Ambassador V8 by Rambler, and Rambler Ambassador at various times during its tenure in production. A completely redesigned larger Rambler lineup appeared for the 1963 model year. The company, which pioneered “styling continuity”, introduced all-new styling for the 1963 model year Ambassadors and claimed that these were “functional changes.” All Ambassadors used unitized structure instead of the more rattle-prone, traditional body-on-frame construction which was still the industry standard. This resulted in an extremely rigid and rattle-free structure, better fit of doors into frames, production cost savings and reduced noise, vibration and harshness. The “uniside” structure was superior to the conventional production methods in which multiple smaller pieces were welded together.

What made it famous: Ambassadors once again came in 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and 4-door wagon body styles, but new trim lines debuted. Curved side glass and push-button door handles contributed to the new Rambler’s handsome, elegant, and modern Mercedes-like bodyside styling, by adding greater elegance in detail. The front end featured a forward-thrusting upper and lower ends with a vertical bar “electric shaver” chrome grille insert. The Ambassador’s grille was differentiated from the Classic’s grille by its use of the Ambassador name in script in the small horizontal bar between the upper and lower grille sections. Round quad headlights were slightly recessed in chrome bezels mounted side-by-side within the grille at its outermost edges. The 1963 Ambassadors were offered only with the 327 cu in V8, in either 250 hp 2-barrel or 270 hp 4-barrel versions. AMC’s smaller 287 cu in V8 engine was only offered in the Classic line. The automatic transmission was controlled by a steering column mounted lever, replacing the previous pushbutton system. 

Why I would want one: Love AMC’s. The fact they went out of business years ago make them very cool collectibles, and they make awesome “out-of-the-norm” street machines.

Fun fact: The new Ambassadors were described by the staff of Automotive Fleet magazine as “Probably the finest looking cars ever produced by American Motors.”
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