Alright everyone, I know AMC week ended a little while back, but I will confess–I just didn’t want it to end. When Tom Klockau brought us an Ambassador, he reminded me of what is perhaps my favorite AMC “What If”: the 1975-79 Ambassador. You know, the one that never was. Let us consider the possibilities.
We all know that the Ambassador had been Nash’s top model going back to the 1930s. We also know by now that after a 1970 re-style, the last attention given to the Ambassador sedan was for 1974. We have spent much time bemoaning the outsized schnoz on the shorter wheelbase Matador, but the front of the Ambassador was actually quite nicely done, with a much more modest frontal protrusion. We also know that after a(nother) dismal sales year, AMC pulled the plug on the 122 inch wheelbase Ambassador at the end of the 1974 model year. As nice as the front was, those 1970 hips did the car no favors. Soooooo, I have some other alternatives to offer.
The formal look, with its straight beltlines and upright shapes, was back by the mid 1970s. It would seem that new rear door stampings, window surrounds and window glass could have given us a look something like this. I also dropped the vinyl roof line a bit lower, so a couple of stainless trim pieces would be needed as well. The straight beltline does not work badly with the upright C pillar, and I see this as an improvement on the official 1974 version. The only weakness I see is the back of the C pillar which still has too much slope to go with the more formal lines. This would have been fine for a fleet-special Matador, but not for AMC’s top model. So…
…how about a little Chrysler Fifth Avenue-style extension to the back of the sedan’s roof? A quick extension welded to the back of the existing sedan body and covered with padded vinyl would be just the trick, especially with a slightly smaller rear window. Vinyl roofs were a 1970s staple, so a standard vinyl roof would have been appropriately luxurious. With a properly squared-up C pillar, I think the Ambassador achieves the kind of sensibly sized luxury that was a hot commodity in the second half of the 1970s. With AMC’s 304 or 360 providing the power, this would not have been a bad choice for someone looking for luxury with a smaller footprint.
Of course, the party would have ended by 1979 or 80 due to CAFE requirements, but maybe AMC could have found a way around this too. This car could have given the post 1978 Panther or the GM B body a straight-up competitor that was undoubtedly better than what Chrysler fielded with its R body. So, my fellow AMC believers, what say ye? Would this have been the Ambassador to serve us traditionalists through the 1980s? Or perhaps you have a better idea (or better photo editing skills) for how AMC could have saved the Ambassador.