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

Phil Coconis
by Phil Coconis

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

Phil Coconis
Phil Coconis

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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.

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.