Rare Rides: Ultimate Americana Via the 1970 AMC Rebel, The Machine

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides ultimate americana via the 1970 amc rebel the machine

With Independence Day nearly upon us, it seems fitting that Rare Rides take a look at a car wearing its red, white, and blue theme very proudly. It’s a rare version of the AMC Rebel: The Machine. Get your sparklers ready.

The Rebel was a short-lived lineup for Wisconsin-based AMC. Introduced for the 1967 model year, the Rebel replaced the dated looking Rambler Classic, which was sold as the company’s midsize volume model between 1961 and 1966. AMC grafted the Rebel name onto its new model after the Rambler Classic wore it in its final as a trim level.

The new Rebel had some big shoes to fill, and rode on the company’s largest “Senior Cars” platform with the flagship Ambassador. During its development, AMC underwent a management change. The new guy in charge, Roy Chapin Junior, wanted to get rid of the dusty image AMC had gathered. He made sure advertising promoted the Rebel’s high performance and modernity. To that end, eight different engines were offered in inline-six or V8 configuration. Displacement ranged between 232 (3.8L) and 390 (6.4L) cubic inches. Six cylinder power plants were a continuation of those offered in the Rambler Classic, but the V8s were brand new. Transmissions were three- or four-speeds and manual or automatic. Body styles included a two-door sedan, convertible, and hardtop, as well as a four-door sedan and wagon.

AMC’s desire to spur customer interest in the brand lead to several special versions of the Rebel. In 1967, wagon variants (called Cross Country) were sold in limited special editions according to region. Coastal areas had the Mariner nautical themed wagon, while the south and east had the Briarcliff brougham version. Areas west of the Mississippi had the Westerner, with wood plank exterior trim paired to white paint.

Meanwhile, AMC was working on a bit of collaboration with Hurst Performance, to develop a new high performance halo Rebel. In 1970, The Machine was new for the Rebel’s final model year. The most patriotic examples were painted red, white, and blue, and had reflective stripes manufactured by a small US-based company called 3M. The Machine debuted at the National Hod Rod Association’s drag race finals in 1969. AMC sent 10 cars to Dallas, and drove them directly from the parking lot onto the drag strip.

All examples of The Machine came with the largest 390 V8, and were rated at 340 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. The four-barrel carb had an high compression of 10:1, and required high-octane fuel. All this meant zero to 60 in a zippy 6.4 seconds. A total of 2,326 The Machines were built for 1970, as Rebel leapt aside for the new Matador.

Today’s striped Rare Ride is for sale in the very patriotic state of Texas. Already restored to original glory, it asks $48,000.

[Images: seller]

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5 of 38 comments
  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Jul 02, 2019

    Considering their lack of resources, AMC's engineers and designers did indeed 'work wonders'. Sure they had some misfires but also did some good work.

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    • Rudiger Rudiger on Jul 02, 2019

      Weirdly, AMC got in on the sixties musclecar craze right at the end with three separate models: 1969 SC/Rambler, 1970 Rebel 'Machine', and 1971 Hornet SC/360. It's also worth noting that the original concept 'Machine' was an even more bare bones strippo musclecar than the 1968 Road Runner with a matte-black, primer paint job and bare steelies.

  • Dirty Dingus McGee Dirty Dingus McGee on Jul 03, 2019

    Slight correction; The Rebel name was first used in 1957 on a high performance 4 door sedan with a 4 barrel 327 V8 rated at 255 hp.

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