My Curbside Classic: 1972 AMC Ambassador Brougham Station Wagon

Now here is one of 5256 Ambassador Brougham Station Wagons produced and I now own it. Eleven cars. I must be out of my mind.

So let me explain. This car showed up on Facebook’s Marketplace near the end of December 2023 and it immediately caught my attention. First, I don’t think I had ever seen one, and second, I thought it was an attractive car. Third, it was up in Napa which was 37 miles north of me. Yikes, things were not looking good for me…

What I usually do is delay and by then the car has sold. Of course that didn’t work with the Parklane or the Polara and it didn’t work this time. Turns out, the car was still up at the end of January. I hemmed and hawed but finally caved and had user Mercury 6768 meet me at the car’s location. Of course, it was raining.

This is how I first saw the Ambassador when I drove up the long driveway past a couple of Model T’s on lifts. The owner was out and I introduced myself; at that time Mercury 6768 arrived from Santa Rosa. He was actually all over the car more than me and studied it up. He checked out lights, radio, seats and so forth (I also took a look in case you are wondering). No test drive because of the rain.

Turns out the owner has a large property with four warehouses for cars and parts. He professionally restores cars for a museum in Austria. If I had to guess there were 40-50 cars on the property awaiting restoration. All vintage such as Packard, Hudson, Cadillac, Mercury, Mopars, and on and on. There was some amazing stuff there along with auto memorabilia. He gave us a tour of the place which was nice of him. I didn’t take any pictures out of respect for his privacy (I know Mercury 6768 will chime in on all that he saw). It was like Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, except cars instead of chocolate. Yummy! Oh, and there were his restored personal cars like a 57 Bel Air, 1957 Cadillac, 1961 Rambler, and some others I forgot as I was overloaded.

I came up with the listed amount and then negotiated from there. Since I inherited a large sum of money I thought I could treat myself and spend just a little of it. The owner told me he turned down a few who he thought were the wrong fit for the car. Obviously, I was a car guy who was going to take care of it. He signed the title over to me, I gave him the cash and said I would pick it up one and a half weeks later. He did offer to drive it down in a trailer for me but that was OK. When the time came, Mercury 6768 met me again and he drove the car down for me, after which I drove him back to Napa.

Having shown all the Ambassador’s sides I’ll go into a few things. First, you can see a rust hole in the fuel door. I found a door on eBay for the car and when it arrived there was some rust on the back. I disassembled the door from the hinge. There was rust between the door and the hinge, which I had media blasted and primed at a local shop I once used in 2103 (This fellow also restores cars for a living. His shop had about nine cars but two were his: One a 1966 Chevelle 396 convertible with 70,000+ miles in a beautiful burgundy.)

The replacement door went in as soon as I painted it snow-white. Then, the license plates are history as I have a YOM pair in blue and yellow to put on. Last, the Di-noc has seen better days but I have five sample pieces now to match grain and color. Mercury 6768 has done a set on a friend’s 72 Country Squire.


Here are some closer details of the car. The paint is in amazing condition. Some rock nicks here and there but zero fading or chalking. It will compound and polish up nicely. Chrome is in fabulous condition and all there. What is truly amazing is no nicks in the trim around the wheel wells.

Today, February 21st, is actually the first day with the car since it was driven down almost three weeks ago. Rain at the most inopportune times. I was able to take it out to a car wash to use the power spray around the body trim to blow out all the hidden debris accumulated over the years. The car is originally from Port Townsend Washington and a little green can be seen in the caulking along the top of the window trim in the channel.

Oh, and that is one tiny side-view mirror when driving.

Fake wood trim behind the speedometer. Gotta love that. The AMC vertical AM radio is off to the right.

That floor mat is actually for a Lincoln Continental and the emblem is barely visible on the hump. Ironically, when I bought my 67 Parklane, it too had a green floor mat from a Lincoln Continental. So I have two Lincoln mats but no Lincoln.

The seats and door panels are in excellent condition as is the plastic-like headliner. The carpet is also in decent condition and just needs a vacuum. Unfortunately, the vacuum at the car wash took my $2 coins and didn’t give me anything. There is a lot of flaky debris in the back from what was once a floor mat that I threw away. That is a 21 gallon fuel tank under there, and I learned there is a slow leak from the rubber fuel line under that rear end. Now I’ll have to drain a bunch of fuel in order to change that hose out.

The underside of the hood is in nice condition. One of the few I have seen where the car battery didn’t leave its mark on it. Some obvious parts there like the Autolite 2100, the Ford solenoid, the Delco distributor, and power steering have a Mopar look to them along with the 727 Torqueflite automatic. The battery is dated 03/20 so off my list. Tires dated 38/19 so off my list too for the time being.

The carburetor definitely needs a rebuild as the car at idle is iffy. Died at least six times on me. Idle speed was also low at 500 rpm which didn’t help. I added coolant flush in the radiator so I can later drain, refill, and put in a new thermostat and hoses all around. Oil and filter changes for both the engine and transmission to be done soon. More than likely put in a Pertronix II working off a relay along with new plugs and wires in the garage. After that a run through the brakes.

I did have time to take a short 20 mile drive before the afternoon commute (At least I thought I had the time, till the return leg when things clogged up in the blink of an eye.) The steering has no slop at all. Typically light feel, as per power steering in the day. Acceleration was a pleasant surprise. The 360-2V is quick off the line as compared to the 360-2V in the Polara. The car probably needs new shocks given how it went up and over a couple of speed bumps at slow speed. However, on the freeway, the car was really smooth at 65-70. I was surprised and it drove solidly with no wandering. Transmission shifted well.

So that is it for now. I put the car away, under a new cover, a block from me, where I can store it and walk 5 minutes to home. Oh, and at the car wash, two people came up and said their parents had a wagon just like this. Probably meant just a wagon and not an AMC wagon.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1970 AMC Ambassador SST – The Patriarch Of Kenosha

Vintage Review: 1971 Ambassador SST – Road Test Magazine Evaluates AMC’s Biggest Sedan