BODACIOUS BEATERS-and Road-going Derelicts: RAMBLE ON!

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis
bodacious beaters em and road going derelicts em ramble on

Even though I was just a mere boy growing up during the ‘60’s in SoCal, I have no problem recalling the variety of impressions motor vehicles of all stripes made on me back then. Of course, I was especially into the noisier and flashier examples, be they airplanes, auto, boats, motorcycles, or trucks.

I distinctly recall the “Rambler” nameplate, but not because they were noisy or flashy—nor, did it seem, were their drivers. (There were a few exceptions to this—the most noteworthy being the SC/Rambler, AMX, and first production Javelin.)

n their stodgy quirkiness, they were memorable, nevertheless; and I have come to appreciate such qualities as actual attributes. I mean, they did indeed have a distinctive character—personality, if you will—that, while not exactly one I wanted to emulate, certainly gave me “cause for pause”.

Looking at the featured example—what appears to be a 1965 Classic Cross-Country Station Wagon, in mid-level “660” trim—tends to emphasize my point. Granted, the ’65 model received a redesign that helped update and integrate the styling a bit over the previous generation; but still, I find that the visual impact is less than the sum of its parts. By this, I mean that if you view a separate section of the vehicle, that section might indeed appear artsy (as the photos bear out). But when connected together, well, something gets lost in the translation.

Stodgy? Maybe. Quirky? For DEFINITES. Cool? Well, that’s still a subjective matter—but I say, at this point, YES!

That roof rack! The tailgate wind deflectors (Did those things actually WORK?)! The BADGING! Whoa, baby!

Added to all of that designed and manufactured funkiness, there’s always the “antiquing process” that each individual vehicle has been subject to.

The damage to the leading edge of the driver’s door speaks of inattention that would have, no doubt, resulted in much more extensive damage on any modern production car. On this unit, it resulted in something more akin to a “character line”.

I’m really digging the broken-out left side rear view mirror, though: “…becoss whass behind ees no importaunt!”.


Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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  • Fordson Fordson on Apr 05, 2013

    I had a '64 Classic 770 hardtop with a silver roof, red vinyl interior, the full console, buckets, the 287 V8 with "Flash-O-Matic" 3-speed auto, radio, heater, PS, PB...and the vacuum wipers. Pretty loaded car. Very well put together.

  • Andy D Andy D on Apr 07, 2013

    My AMCs were Jeep Wagoneers. They have a very devoted following. Jeeps and AMCs were slammed for poor build quality. I found them to be better in some things and worse in others. Certainly no worse than Big 3 cars of the 60s and 70s.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂