Car: AMC Rambler Marlin
What makes it special: American Motors billed the Marlin as a new addition to the company’s self-styled “Sensible Spectaculars” model line. The car was officially announced on February 10th,1965, and unveiled in Rambler dealer showrooms on March 19th. It was aimed at buyers wanting a sporty fastback that was also roomy and comfortable, contrasting it with the smaller Barracuda and Mustang fastbacks that had arrived a year earlier. The Marlin followed the signature design features of the Ford Galaxie “Sports Roof”, the Plymouth Barracuda, the Mustang 2+2, and the 1965 fastback models from General Motors, including the Chevrolet Impala “Sport Coupe” versions.
What made it famous: The Marlin emphasized the stretched-out hardtop pillar-less roofline that followed the contemporary styling vogue. Standard features included deluxe exterior trim, individual reclining front seats, front and rear center armrests when bucket seats were selected, and interiors from AMC’s two-door Ambassador model, including dashboard and instrument panel. On the Marlin, the dashboard was trimmed with engine-turned aluminum. 2,005 Marlins were built with the smallest engine option, a 145 hp, 232 inline-6. The AMC-designed 270 hp, 327 cu in 4-barrel V8, often paired with an automatic transmission that had the shifter in a floor console, accounted for 42% of total production, while less than 6% had the innovative “Twin-Stick” manual transmission with overdrive. The center console-mounted controls offered one longer stick for the regular gears, with a second shorter lever for overdrive selection. It can be shifted as a 5-speed: from 1st to 2nd, to 2nd+OD, to 3rd, to 3rd+OD. Other options included “Solex” tinted glass, power steering, heavy-duty suspension, “Twin-Grip” limited slip differential, a/c, adjustable steering wheel, power windows, and a choice of AM radio or an AM/FM monaural unit with “Duo Costic” rear speaker and “Vibra Tone” system to simulate stereophonic sound, since stereo broadcasting was not yet widely available in the U.S.
Why I would want one: I’ve always loved and wanted a Marlin. Trouble is, they’re not easy to find, and either expensive to buy, or expensive to restore.
Fun fact: In 1965, the car was marketed as “Rambler Marlin”. For 1966, the car featured “Marlin” identification only and was officially named “AMC Marlin”, as was the 1967 model. Its fastback roof design was previewed on the 1964 Rambler Tarpon show car, based on the compact Rambler American.