Junkyard Classic: 1966-69 Rambler American – A Sad End


There it sits, moldering in the California sun: a 1966-69 Rambler American.

I see cars like this in the junkyard all the time. Straight, complete cars with no obvious accident damage. Cars that went through life unscathed, but still have reached the end of the line. Perhaps someone forgot to keep the oil topped off, or the transmission lost a gear. It could be that the owner passed on, and their children simply auctioned the car off for scrap value. Or the owner may have listed it on Craiglist, and received no inquiries. We’ll never know the whole story, but we are witnessing the final chapter.

A chapter I’m sorry to see arrive. Nothing about this car screams, “I’m special,” but any clean survivor from this era deserves respect. In addition, it appears this two door sedan could clean up with very little effort.


In this fender close-up, you can see paint discoloration caused by an “American” badge in the 1966/67 location. The interior lacks headrests and the engine is red, which also helps confirm that it’s from one of those two model years.

Update- Based on the comments, the clues identified here may be red herrings. Based on the greenhouse (specifically the rear window glass), this car may be a ’68.


Based on the up-turned chrome on the bottom edge of that head light opening, I’m going with 1966. The bottom edge of the grille ran beneath the headlights uninterrupted for 1967. I’d have more confidence if the grille remained in place, but I’ll stand by the evidence I see.


Looking in the engine bay, there’s no evidence of catastrophic failure. Give a patient mechanic time with this motor, and it could return to life. The simplicity of all the components represents one of the virtues of this car. Like the Falcon and Valiant/Dart sixes, this AMC engine is simple, cheap, and durable. Resurrection only requires time and parts.


On the other hand, interiors from the sixties are not as easy to deal with as engines. While there are exceptions, you generally can’t order interior parts from your local Pep Boys. However, it appears all the critical pieces remain on this car, and a restoration project would only involve some clean up, along with new upholstery and carpet.

Alas, a restoration will never occur, given this car’s current death sentence. At this point, the only thing we can do is provide this eulogy: may it crush in peace.