NOTE: This is the final article in a three part series about Rambler Ranch and American Motor’s Cars. The first two articles and slide shows can be found at the following links:
For over thirty years, the story of American Motors was a series of successes and failures but in hindsight, there was a define pattern to it. When AMC stuck to its original model of producing practical and deliberately different compact cars using a shared chassis, it made money and prospered. Every time AMC tried to do business like the “Big 3” American automobile manufacturers by offering a full range of small economy to large luxury models, each on its own platform that was not easily updated, it lost money and failed.
The early and mid 1960s under the Rambler brand were good years. A highpoint was in 1963 when the entire Rambler line was named “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend magazine. But in their typical pattern of "what goes up must come down", this period was followed by slumping sales. Arriving late to the muscle car era, AMC found a winning combination with its light-weight uni-body cars powered by big block high horsepower engines. The Javelin, AMX and S/C Rambler were popular and sold well until the fuel crisis and resultant economic slump of 1973/74 hit. In the 1970s, the Gremlin, Hornet , Jeep line and the the AM General branch kept AMC afloat. But in the later 1970s with the introduction of the Pacer and Matador, which were costly to design and did not resulted in sales the company needed, yet another slump occurred. The Concord and Eagle models were a return to AMC original philosophy of small but well appointed cars, but funds weren’t available to keep the models updated. The “French Connection” partnership with Renault turned out to be more about allowing the French manufacturer to reintroduce its cars to America, than provide needed cash to revive AMC. In 1987 Chrsyler bought AMC in order to acquire the Jeep line, with no interest in AMC cars, which was the final curtain call.
Attached is a slide show of AMC cars on display at Rambler Ranch that represent the final two decades of American Motors Corporation.
Trivia Question: What AMC car was first sketched on an airline motion sickness bag and introduced to the public on April Fools Day?
Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: VW first imported cars in 1949 and only sold two Bugs that year
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