I have a real love for the 1965 Ambassadors. Part of that may be due to my chance encounter with a lilac 1965 880 sedan back in the late ’90s, but the plain truth is I find them very clean and elegant. It was 1965, the Big Three were at the top of their game, and even little Wisconsin-based AMC fielded an attractive line. The luxury Ambassador convertible was the top of the heap. And if you happened to have one in Woodside Light Green with a white top and green interior?
It was only a few years ago that I discovered the 1965 Ambassador and Classic were not all-new, but heavily facelifted 1963-64 models. While it can be seen in the rooflines–particularly the two-door hardtops, the Classic and Amby both looked new, modern and attractive. I especially like the Ambassador’s stacked headlights and peaked fenders.
Yes, the stacked lights introduced on the 1963 Pontiacs was having quite a run by ’65: The AMC Ambassador, full-size Ford, full-size Plymouth and Cadillac all had them, and they all looked good! It was actually quite a novel feature on a Rambler, as just a few years prior their lineup had been rather vanilla.
Ambassadors were available as a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, two-door hardtop, wagon (with or without Di-Noc, at your pleasure), and the convertible. Two series, the 880 and 990, made up the Ambassador’s trim choices, but if you wanted a drop top you were just going to have to fork out the dough for a flossy 990, the sole choice for al fresco motoring. If the $2955 base price was a bit too dear, you could always get the very similar Classic convertible, but you’d lose those most excellent stacked headlights.
The 990 convertible was the flashiest Ambassador, but the station wagon actually had a higher price–$2970 compared to $2955. You must really have needed the extra space to spend fifteen bucks above this beauty for the longroof! And this one not only has a green interior, but also the optional Flash-O-Matic Shift Command automatic transmission with bucket seats and a center console. It cost $227.30 with the 155-hp 232 Six and $234.50 with the 250-hp 327 V8. It was only available with the console and buckets; non Shift-Command Ambassadors with the automatic got a column shift.
Only 3,499 1965 990 convertibles were built, and I imagine those with the buckets and console were probably in the hundreds at most. This car, on display at the AACA Grand National in downtown Moline (the 1961 Chrysler Town & Country, 1960 Valiant V-200 and 1931 Pierce-Arrow were also at this event), caught my eye immediately, with that lovely color. When I peered inside and saw the buckets and floor shift, I was in love. What a beautiful car! Were the redesigned 1967 Ambassadors really necessary? I think this car was clean and attractive enough to last at least into 1970 with only minor changes.
And how might this car have done when the gas crisis hit? The exaggerated Coke-bottle 1970-78 Rebel/Matador were bigger, and certainly bulkier looking compared to this car. It is so clean and elegant. Don’t you agree?