Flint's Ramblers

...some history...

My folks had Nash or Rambler cars the whole time I was growing up. It was in my blood.

My first car was a 1963 Rambler Classic 550. It had plain trim but was fitted with after market under dash air conditioning which was helpful living in Corpus Christi, Texas. My mother and I split the cost of $200 in 1969. It was a great first car to learn to drive in and got good gas mileage. It had the 196 six cylinder engine with "3 on the tree".

In 1968, we bought a 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990 Cross Country station wagon. It replaced the previous 1965 Ambassador 880 Cross Country station wagon that was totaled in a wreck on my dad's birthday that year. The 990 was well equipped for the day and had a 287 V8 and a "3 on the tree". It was our family truckster. My folks made a trip to Houston in 1969 and the nylon timing gear teeth flew apart at 90 mph. They managed to limp it home some 90 miles and it never ran again after my dad shut it off. He found a 1966 327 Vigilante with 4bbl manifold and Holley 600 in Wichita Falls and had it shipped down. A good friend of his rebuilt the 327 with new rings, bearings Mickey Thompson street grind cam and lifters. The Holley was rebuilt and the engine was installed in the 990 with a FSJ clutch and pressure plate. A cherry bomb glass pack was also installed on the single exhaust system. This turned the family truckster into a family cruiser!

The picture above was taken in early 1970 at a rest stop on I10 just inside Louisiana from Texas. We were moving to Albany, GA. The white Classic was my first car. The Ambassador was a great towing vehicle with the 327 and heavy duty Jeep clutch. The truck frame behind the Ambassador is a 1957 Dodge Power Wagon in it's second year of ground up restoration.

The picture above is my Classic with a new paint job in 1971. I learned how to sand, sand, sand on that thing. It had typical Texas Coastal Bend rust on it and there is some fiberglass and bondo under the 1971 AMC green. While I was working on the body, I test drove a new 1971 Hornet SC 360 and fell in love with the color and the car. Folks said NO. So, my Classic got the green.

The picture above is my hot rod Rambler after the Classic was sold in 1972. The paint was new in this picture. I had wrecked the car on my father's birthday. There was something about his birthday and our Ambassadors. I replaced the front bumper, grill and right fender myself. We put the original wheels from my father's 67 Charger 440 on the Rambler with some red line tires. By now, the exhaust system had been converted to dual exhaust system my father hand built out of used pipes he picked up behind a couple muffler shops. Had to watch those chrome tips getting in and out of the back seat when the engine was hot! My mother made some curtains for the back and I had me a fine 8 track player under the dash with 6 speakers in the car. I was cruising successfully!

To the right is the 1966 327 Vigilante engine in my hot rod Rambler. It loved to go fast on the open highway and lived up to it's Cross Country name! In 1974, I broke the 3 speed tailshaft housing getting too many RPMs up before dropping the clutch. OOOPS! So, we decided to find the infamous Borg Warner T10 4 speed from a 1965 or 66 Marlin. It was a direct swap. We were living back in Corpus Christi by this time. I found the much desired parts in a 1966 Marlin at a salvage yard in San Antonio and got it and the factory Hurst shifter for $125. Man-o-Man! What a sleeper I had now! I used to kick some butt on the likes of 350 Monte Carlos, 396 Chevelles, 390 Galaxies and even a 440 Charger once. The only time I ever got really embarrassed on the back roads racing was by a 340 Duster that just wouldn't slow down. Man that thing was smokin! I ran him three times, each time tweaking my carb and timing a little more to get the 327 cranked up. Those were the days...

In 1977, I traded this car in on a 1973 Triumph Spitfire and have regretted it ever since. Several months later, I found it in a wrecking yard all tore up. The engine was already gone. I sat down in the dirt and cried... I salvaged the seats, dash, 4 speed and rear end for a 1965 Marlin project that I had going at the time. The project never got finished and the Marlin was forfeited in a marital separation in 1989. :(