Monday, December 7, 2009

1962 Rambler Classic Cross-Country Station Wagon - "The coolest of the un-cool."

"The ultimate '60s high-school science teacher car. The coolest of the un-cool." Those are the first 2 sentences in the seller's description. Boy, did he nail it. A perfect description.

Take a look at this car. This is what the middle class American family drove in 1962. According to the seller, it came with the following options - "3-speed push button 'Flashmatic' transmission, HD cooling system, back-up lights, 'Weather-Eye' ventilation system, full reclining seats, blue tinted glass, oil bath air cleaner, oil filter, padded dash, HD springs, twin circuit brakes and the 'Custom' trim level." Yes, 47 years ago back-up lights and a padded dash were were options. Also optional in 1962 were seat belts and a radio. The original owner opted not to buy them. (The seller installed an NOS AM radio and is offering to install seat belts.)

This car was repainted 20 years ago, but nothing has been done to the body since. The seller has cleaned up the entire car and repaired what needed to be repaired, but wisely preserved most of the original car.

It's pretty amazing to see a car like this in this type of condition. Ramblers are a piece of American auto industry history. Rambler CEO George Romney saw a need for American built compact cars. He dumped the Nash and Hudson brands and carved a niche with the Rambler line which, at one point, passed Plymouth for third place in sales. That was no small feat for the tiny, underfunded Rambler Corporation.

No one thought about the historic value of a car like this back in the 1960s. Like all 1960s American "family cars", the Rambler was a "throw away" car. You ran it until it died and then you junked it. A 50,000 mile car like this one is an amazing find.

Honestly, this is not the type of car I'd buy, but I'm writing about it for a couple of reasons. First of all, I'm impressed by the way the seller handled the restoration. It's not over done. Too many people spend too much time these days trying to make an old car "new". This is a car that doesn't need to look new. (I would argue that no old car needs to look "new", but that's for another post.) This car looks like what a well taken car of 1962 Rambler would have looked like on the street in 1964 or 1965. That's cool.

Secondly, while I love looking at old Jags, Healeys, Triumphs, Alfas, Ferraris, etc., let's face it, the average American family didn't own one of those. This is the type of car they drove. (And drove without seat belts... It's a wonder anybody survived the 60s.) This is a glimpse of what life was really like back in the early 1960s. We've come a long way since then.

Located in Calabasas, CA, click here to see the eBay listing for this car.

1 comment:

Max Power said...

I remember as a kid seeing some of these era Ramblers and was confounded by the speedometer. For whatever reason, Rambler dropped the '0' in various markings for speed so their 120 mph speedometer was a 0-12 speedometer...odd