Junkyard Find: 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1966 rambler classic 770 coupe

I went back to Martin’s Salvage, located midway between Denver and Cheyenne, earlier this week. The last time I’d been there was in 2011, and the place is still full of so many staggeringly great 1930-1970 vehicles that I get overwhelmed and can’t shoot individual cars for this series. This trip, though, I held still long enough to shoot this crazy-rare example from the final years of the Rambler marque.

This Classic has the optional V8, but I’m not enough of an AMC expert to tell a 287 from a 327 at a glance.

I like the little orange ball used as the AM radio’s tuning indicator.

The interior has not benefited from years in the High Plains sun.

The Weather Eye name goes all the way back to prewar Nashes.

Keeping true to the penny-pinching nature of AMC buyers, this car’s last owner wasn’t the type to squander money on top-shelf hooch.

What better car is there for showing the benefits of “localized” fuel?

The 1966 Classic 770 hardtop coupe (yes, I know, this is an ad for the ’65) with 287-cubic-inch V8 engine and automatic transmission listed for $2,656. If you went across the street to your Chevy dealer, you could get a Malibu coupe with 283 V8 and Powerglide automatic for $2,668; the Ford salesman would put you in a Fairlane 500 coupe with 289 and Cruise-O-Matic automatic for an identical $2,668. With that kind of competition at roughly the same price, American Motors didn’t sell many Classic 770s.

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  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Feb 21, 2015

    Compared to our 66 Citroen DS in Brussells at the time. This Rambler looks prehistoric.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Feb 23, 2015

    My friend currently has the Rebel version of this car but oddly lacks the floor shifter and V8 of this example despite being a sportier model. It is a neat but miserable driving car, especially the fade after one stop non power disk brakes and the leaning onto it's sidewalls handling. The later 60's Comets and Nova's seem to drive much better in comparison. The replaced 232 six, that came out of a 1969 model, runs with it's characteristic lumpy rattly idle and water puddles sometimes stall it out in traffic despite a new cap and rotor and wires etc. This car truly defines the term "labor of love". The points require periodic adjustment and yearly replacement. The carburetor has been rebuilt umpteen times probably due to today's gas and finally last year an ethonal resistant kit became available. Both front springs have been replaced several times in the past 8 years and we fear the passenger side just broke again because she is leaning quite a bit on that side and clunks mercilessly on turns. The interior was decent when he got it 10 years ago but it pretty shot now due to use with ripped seat material, shot door seals and windows that rattle relentlessly. The radiator is also leaking again after several re-cores and weld repairs so that will probably need replacing. The exhaust loosens up on a monthly basis. When it rains out I cringe. Those rebuilt vacuum wipers barely keep up with the rain, especially in a downpour. We are always messing around with the brakes or have the hood popped for some reason or other. The 232 and Flashomatic are very unremarkable with 15 second 0-60 times and 17-18 overall MPG, even on highway trips. This setup is best when you ease it up to speed instead of expect a burst of power that isn't there. Worse the engine is racing when your doing 65 making for a noisy tiresome ride. The transmission is slowly losing 2nd gear and it takes a long time for it to shift to high gear. I know what we'll be doing this Summer. The best feature of this car- the seat recliners. But even those have a catch. The adjustments are few and far between meaning you are either sitting bolt upright or too reclined or flat into the back seat which does make spending the night at Hershey car show a lot cheaper than getting a hotel. This car reminds me why I don't care for AMC products and drive something from the 60's as a classic today. There is just not enough time in the day to keep up with it.

    • Mjp1961 Mjp1961 on Jan 26, 2018

      You must have something really wrong with your engine. The AMC is the best 6 ever produced and is known worldwide to be extremely smooth and powerful. Sorry

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?