Yes, it looks like an AMC Concord, but it really is a Rambler American, by virtue of having been built in Mexico, where VAM kept the Rambler names (Classic, American) going right until the end of production in 1983. RiveraNotario found this one in Mexico City, a two door with the 4.6 L (282 cubic in) version of the AMC six that VAM had been building there for some years.
I’m not 100% certain of the year, as the grilles deviated from the US versions some years. But that’s my guess.
If you think this is a bit unusual, wait ’till you see the VAM Lerma.
Before we do that, let’s look at this a bit more. The “4.6” badge on the rear fender is definitely an eye catcher. VAM also made a 252 cubic inch version too. And because they didn’t have to deal with US emission regulations, they carbs and a more aggressive cam. I can just imagine the torque these made.
The interior looks pretty much the same as the concord, but then I’m not exactly an expert on these.
The Lerma was created by VAM, something of a cross between the Concord (American) and the Spirit. It came in both 4-door and 2-door versions.
Here’s the 2-door. There’s not many of these to be found via a Google Image search, so I suspect few were made in the first place and fewer have survived. We do have a post on the Lerma here.
Cross An AMC Concord With A Spirit: The Lerma
Really like those Mexican versions, wish that AMC had mede them in the US, their 6s were some of the ll time greats.
I thought that was a Mazda 121L for a second!
I find the Rambler to be as misshapen and ghastly with the toupee as I did the equivalent Concord yet somehow am quite intrigued by the Lerma, especially the five-door. Lots of Rover SD1 vibes there.
Rover SD1 was what I was thinking as well, which I don’t think I ever would have associated with the Concord before. I definitely like it!
X2 on the toupee, worst part is the steel roof underneath it looked fine, but AMC(oops Rambler here!) was trying their most half assedly to mask the Hornet roots. They should have just updated it with the C pillar window the 4 doors used instead.
FWIU the 4 door C pillar windows were cut by hand on the line and the padded vinyl top was needed to cover the crudeness of it. That’s why retail buyers couldn’t get a Concord sedan (or coupe) without one and the few fleet Concord sedans built without a vinyl top had the original Hornet wide C-pillars.
You see SD1, I see Honda Accord Crosstour. Which is not a good thing.
Just like the Nova hatchback of that era ( not the gm corolla clone ) the high differential tunnel must make the trunk floor very high and the folding of the seat must be at its simplest, ie without raising the buttocks first .
At least the rear overhang is not trunked like all modern hb versions of fwd current sedan
Cool looking cars. That’s a pretty big 6. (282)
These Mexican Americans are really neat. I know no details about them, but was able to find a bunch of brochures about these, and it seems likely to me that the grille on the featured car isn’t original – doesn’t seem to match any of the years (though there could easily have been a special edition with another grille that I didn’t see).
Anyway, the image below contains pictures (l to r) of the 1979, ’80 and ’81 Rambler Americans.
And here’s a 1980 TV commercial too:
Nice ad! The song implies that the Rambler was more like Rocinante than Quixote.
The grille on the featured car looks almost like it was constructed out of bar stock, and has a couple of big screws near the bottom that don’t look like factory work. But then I saw a 1982 Lerma that had a grille that, while not the same as this one, looked like it was constructed similarly. It stood a bit proud from the car, and looked a bit like bar stock… but not homemade. The featured car has the hood with the little “power dome” that was used on 1977-78 Gremlins, Spirits, and later Eagles, as well as the amber lens parking lights that were used on Eagles (and the 1982 Lerma I found). But then some other VAM cars I spotted have the clear parking light lenses associated with 2wd US models, and used what looked like US production grilles, but not necessarily in the years we saw them in the States. And here’s one we definitely didn’t see!- a 1983 VAM American:
I agree, though initially I was thrown off because the 1980 grille (the center picture above) looks sort of similar.
And I love that 1983 front clip!
I really like the looks of the 4 door Lerma above. I think that it benefits from some optimal lighting that makes it look longer and sleeker than it is. Still a nice looking car.
I don’t know the particulars of cams and carbs for these motors (does anyone?), but I don’t imagine these made particularly enviable torque. Keep in mind the extremely poor gasoline quality in Mexico at the time. It was more or less very dirty paint thinner with a giant dose of lead to crank the octane all the way up to a RON of 81 (approximately 78 octane on the US/Canada AKI scale). And that was in 1988; it was even worse than that in the 1970 and earlier ’80s. Lower-than-US/Canada compression and slow/short ignition advance curves were the norm, because how else are you going to run an engine on that rotgut without massive detonation? And how are you going to make a car this size and weight get out of its own way on that kind of fuel way up at Mexico City’s elevation? Bigger displacement would’ve been one of the few ways.
When Mexico’s first unleaded gasoline, “Magna Sin” (“Big Without”) came out in late 1990, in that country’s first go at cutting exhaust emissions, its 87 AKI (91 RON), same as US/Canada Regular, was hailed as the highest-octane gasoline ever offered in Mexico.
For whatever it’s worth, Wikipedia says, without attribution, The 1981 VAM Lerma […] carried a VAM 282 cu in (4.6 L) I6 engine with Motorcraft two-barrel carburetor, 8.0:1 compression ratio, and 266-degree camshaft designed by VAM’s engineering department. It was rated at 132 hp at 3900 rpm and 216 pound·feet at 2200 rpm. No indication whether these figures are SAE Net, SAE Gross, Totally Made Up, or something else.
This Mexican article cites an output of 129 net hp:
AMC offering very modern-looking wheel and wheel cover design choices on the Concords, Spirits, and Eagles, was a valuable integral part of distancing them from their Hornet and Gremlin exterior design roots. Including some attractive turbine styles. In spite of the quad rectangular headlights, modern ’80s bumper style, and Concord-style half vinyl roof, the early 70s-style wheel covers in the lead photos, lend a strong Hornet feel to the overall look to the subject car.
This basic car was available in no less than nine distinct body styles! I can’t think of any other design from this era (’70s-’80s) that was built in this many variations:
– 2 door coupe/sedan
– short wheelbase 2 door hatchback (Spirit)
– 2 door hatchback (early AMC Hornet/Concord)
– 2 door hatchback (later Lerma as shown here, distinctly different shape than Hornet hatch)
– short wheelbase 2 door kammback (Gremlin, some Spirits with larger rear side window)
– 2 door Sundancer convertible (AMC authorized conversion)
– 4 door sedan
– 4 door hatchback (Lerma)
– 4 door wagon
The four-door Lerna is a legitimate stunner.
There were some interesting Mexican offshoots of several American cars, as such was the case with hardtop Valiant Acapulcos when after their ’67 redesign in the US, hardtops were actually killed. They even sported the 4-on-the-floor stick coupled to the Slant Six as opposed to their Valiant Signet counterparts which only had it on the V8 versions.
The identification guide from el Club Rambler México suggests this is indeed an ’81, based on the grille and the chrome taillight surrounds.
I own 2 Vam Lermas, a 2 door 1981 and a 4 door 1982 and a 1978 American. The Lermas both have 283s and the American has a 258. The featured car is an American GFS, similar to a Concord Limited and was the only American with the 282. The GFS came with the same wheels as the Lerma 2 door above, the white 4 door wearing incorrect Turbo Cast wheels.
My 1978 American