1961-1962 American Motors Rambler Classic Custom Six Hemmings Motor News

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1961-1962 American Motors Classic Custom Six

Feature from Hemmings Classic Car

American Motors technically in mid-1987, the love affair AMC’s automobiles is stronger ever. They designed and some of the most fuel-efficient, and well-made cars of the 1950s and If you’re a baby boomer, you well all those cute Ramblers running around or maybe your parents had one of station wagons with the seat.

Long admired for simplicity, utilitarian design and servicing ease, Ramblers of the 1960s are an inexpensive way to get into the hobby, and there are numerous outlets and support to keep car on the road.

Although the 1961 was based on the 1956 Rambler it was renamed the Rambler Classic and a new front end featuring a one-piece, extruded-aluminum grille with the RAMBLER underneath. There several series of the Rambler Six, including the Deluxe the Super Line and the Custom which featured bucket in a four-door sedan. Pricing at $2,098 for the four-door six-passenger

A station wagon cost $339 more.

In 1962, the had no major changes. The Super were dropped and replaced by a 400 had an overhead-valve engine. A new assembly was built in Brampton, Ontario, for the production of Americans and Classics. AMC a leadership role with safer brake systems they fitted all their with dual-circuit master something GM didn’t do for another years.

And according to Brian national president of the American Corporation Rambler Club, received an award from the Chiropractic Association for pioneering in the of postural seat design.

were several engines The base engine was the 195.6-cu.in. with 127 horsepower. With its block, it was quite ahead of its

The aluminum engine came in the 1961 Super and 1962 400 and the cast-iron engine was standard on the and Deluxe both years, aluminum optional. The 250-cu.in. V-8 was only in the 1961 Classic model 6120 only.

Despite the company’s claims, with six years of design and more than two million miles on proving grounds, and track, were not infallible, and were some problems the aluminum construction. The …-cast weighed only 60 pounds, an 80- savings over a cast-iron

AMC said a precision, high-pressure process assured uniformity and quality with centrifugally cylinder liners that mechanically and chemically bonded to the aluminum block. The cylinder was cast iron, and the connecting rod were steel-backed copper-lead for long life. The crankshaft, a steel design, rode in main bearings.

With its compression ratio, it produced of torque at 1,600 rpm. A version was also available.

optional engine was the 250-cu.in. which was available in two horsepower 200hp and 215hp, available in the 1961 Classic Eight. The 200hp version featured a two-barrel carburetor, while the V-8 had a four-barrel Holley and dual Both V-8s used lifters, five main a throw-away full-flow oil filter and cellulose-fiber air filter.

They had an 8.7:1 compression ratio, so leaded gasoline could be Speaking of gasoline, Ramblers stingy with a gallon of gas in the 1950s and early 1960s it really didn’t matter; a got more than 33 miles per on a trip from Canada to during the NASCAR Economy Run in the 1950s. Cars destined for had a special crankcase ventilation to comply with air pollution

Except for reliability problems the aluminum blocks, the cast-iron are durable and were as strong as Chevrolet, Ford or Chrysler was Longtime AMC mechanic Warren of Harrisville, Rhode Island, the problem with the aluminum-block generally surfaced when the drove only short They had a tendency to get severe buildup, said Patterson, who as a dealer mechanic from through 1966.

We had a customer who commuted daily to New City and was driving 40,000 a year with an aluminum in his car. He told me it was the best car he owned. Patterson said the were virtually bulletproof.

If the brought them in for regular we had no trouble at all with those A great, great engine.

The standard transmission was a three-speed that was full synchromesh and durable and quiet. The three-speed with mechanical shift and AMC had oil holes added to the main gear on the Classic Six transmission to lubrication. Parts are readily to rebuild these units.

The transmission came with a single clutch, and heavy-duty could be ordered. For better economy, buyers could an overdrive, which reduced speed by 30 percent. The optional the Borg-Warner Flash-O-Matic, had three speeds and featured a free-wheeling for smoother shifting, less and reduced noise.

The mechanical linkage consisted of two heavy-duty one cable operated Park and the worked the push-button gear Like many automatics, the featured a magnetic element to up metal shavings in the transmission

Rear Axle

The Rambler had a differential unit with axles. It also featured a tube that housed the which functioned to resist torque reaction. Several gear ratios could be up to 4.10:1.

Also optional on all was Twin-Grip, which was AMC’s of a limited-slip differential.


AMC its front suspension Deep Ride, which had direct-acting springs mounted on insulating pads mounted above the wheels, thus leading to a ride. The sea-leg (inverted V) hydraulic Monroe shock were designed for a smooth Gabriel shocks were on V-8-equipped models. Heavy-duty and springs could be ordered.

In the rear, there were springs mounted on rubber top and bottom, as were the shocks.

For the models, AMC redesigned their suspension, replacing the lower with a longer lasting joint. Patterson said the problems on these cars the trunnions, which work like ball joints. in those days, cars to be greased, especially the trunnions. I if they weren’t greased, come apart at, say, miles.

The customers who came in for oil changes and kept them could get about 80,000 from a set of trunnions. The problem was would not accept as much as a ball joint, and needed every 1,000 miles.

tires were either Super-Cushion Goodyears or B.F.Goodrich 6.50 x 15 four-ply tires. 6.70 x 15 tires were while all V-8 models were with 7.50 x 14 four-plies; were optional.

Standard on the station wagons, but optional on all were Goodyear Captive-Air tires, which had an extra of inner lining material to protect against punctures, allowing the driver to continue at up to 50 mph for than 100 miles. The wheels heavy-gauge steel, and full-wheel were stainless steel.

The drum braking system nine-inch bonded Wagner linings on the Classic Six models totaled 153.8 inches of area; the 10-inch brake on V-8 models resulted in 167.5 of lining area, and also a cooling flange on their drums. Self-adjusting and power were optional. An optional red brake lamp stayed warning the driver if the parking remained on.

Body and Frame

The was engineered with unitized construction. In fact, Rambler proclaimed the strong, silent referring to the body. AMC claimed to be the American manufacturer to successfully the unibody concept to passenger when pioneered by Nash in

The Rambler featured an all-steel body that included a structural angular brace joined the forward section of the wheelhouse to the underbody floor for torsional rigidity. The windshield had a double-box inner section for strength to support a wrap-around

Even 45 years ago, AMC to prevent rust in the rear by installing a steel covering which helped prevent mud, water and snow getting trapped up inside. undercoating was a low-cost option.

could choose from 15 colors and 26 two-tone color AMC called their paint enamel, and said it retains luster, and resists dulling, chipping and marring. Before each body was treated to a Dip primer process, in which the body structure was submerged a tank of chromate primer.

The chromate primer provided an and lasting anchor for the bodies. AMC the first U.S. carmaker to this process in 1958. All the paint process included steps: the Deep Dip phosphate paint bond, rustproofing, a primer and surface coat, and two coats of baked enamel.

these precautions, unless you buy a or Western State car, for rust around the sub-frame and the front door, where the meets the floor, says Yacino, president of both the Motors Corporation Rambler and 4 Seasons Rambler Club. If the gets into the sub-frame, you have some trouble. are no reproduction parts available to this that I know of, he

The exhaust system, for many a high-wear item on many featured a Ceramic-Armored muffler. The and tailpipe were dipped at the in a liquid ceramic material and fired at a higher temperature. that, the muffler was wrapped in today would be illegal-asbestos—followed by a steel shield.

So sure was AMC that the muffler and were ironclad, they guaranteed against rusting as long as the original owner had the


Although they not be called luxurious, Rambler were well-made using a of porous vinyl for added Underneath that vinyl was coil spring construction inner springs, rather the cheaper zig-zag springs in many other cars at the The front and rear seat and rear-seat-back spring assemblies coated with rubber as the Acoustacoil process, which and stabilized the coils.

The front were supported by a rigid frame, adjustable fore and aft six on curved tracks.

A unique feature was the Airliner Reclining and Twin Travel Beds. The front seat could be put all the way into a chaise lounge or bed. It was quite novel at the and is used on almost every new car Also available were air mattresses and insect window

New for 1961, the headliners were acoustical molded fiberglass, the conventional fabric type. The was effective in deadening road and insulated against summer and winter cold. One-piece covered the roof of sedans, and two were used for station they were available in colors.

Instruments were in an elliptical cluster, centered and in front of the driver. The steering measured 17 inches in diameter and a deep recessed hub for better in the event of a crash. A two-tone grip was used on the Custom steering wheel.

Each featured twin ashtrays in two in the rear, except on the Deluxe A cigarette lighter was standard on all And unlike other carmakers of the AMC stressed safety when didn’t sell. For example, the of the front seat backs designed with extended around the edges, sun visors built for greater sun glare and the full length of the dash was including the lower edges.

To further emphasize safety, the latch striker plate was with a spring-loaded device to keep doors from opening if not closed securely. were made of long-wearing webbing and a vacuum-powered four-door system called Lock-O-Matic was it operated via a switch below the With the switch on, all doors locked once the engine

The clock was high quality and wound, and featured jeweled movement. This feature less sensitive to voltage than a regular electric which resulted in greater and also eliminated ticking into the radio. For comfort in hot AMC offered air conditioning that an aluminum compressor that just 15.5 pounds, of a comparable cast-iron unit.

ordering AC, the buyer also heavy-duty cooling and a heavy-duty system.

Restoration Parts

New are somewhat plentiful and, other collector cars, not out of reach of the common man. interiors can be found at SMS Fabrics in Oregon, and Galvin’s AMC Rambler in Lodi, California, has an extensive supply. Other suppliers are Parts Depot in Manchester, and Blaser Auto Nash, AMC in Moline, Illinois.

Galvin’s AMC Parts

Lodi, California

Texas AMC

American Classic Motors Road
American Classic Motors Road

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