Car Show Classic: 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990 Convertible – Green and White Is Good!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?