As CC has accumulated finds over time, I’m always surprised when a particular model year hasn’t yet appeared. So seems to be the case with the 1966 Rambler Classic, especially in the Rebel version (two door hardtop), now found by nifticus392 at the Cohort. Not that a ’66 Rambler is completely alien to these pages, as it appeared in far less ‘rebellious’ form once. As a humble 4-door Classic 550, in its most ‘Sensibly Spectacular’ version.
Instead, today we got the spicier ’66 Rambler Classic model, the 2-door hardtop sensible Rebel.
For those new to the brand’s lore, the adjective is linked to the Rambler name thanks to its period advertising: ‘Sensible Spectaculars.’
A very telling message. After all, the company knew itself more ‘sensible’ than ‘spectacular’ in the public’s mind. A tough act to play in the youthful-oriented 1960s, even if not a completely fair assessment. The early Rambler Rebel had actually been one of Detroit’s hottest models back in 1957; at least when it came to performance specs.
How spectacular was this ’66 Rebel? It all depended on what was under the hood. Engine choices were wide; starting with the 232 CID inline six in two states of tune. Then, there were three options of V-8s; the 287 CID unit with 198 hp, and the 327 CID with either 250 or 270 hp. Disc brakes were standard on the Rebel, and additional performance options included power discs, a limited-slip differential, and an electric tachometer. Among other enhancements.
Of course, in keeping with Rambler tradition, the ’66 Rebel’s tie-wearing styling forever outweighs whatever ‘youthful’ intentions it may have. But such was the spirit of AMC at the time. It was something the company would soon try to change with the upcoming Javelin and AMX. In the meantime, sales for the Rebel numbered 7592 units for 1966.
Not that I mind our Cohort Rebel find. Indeed, I find it rather charming and pleasant enough. If it carries one of the hot engines under the hood, it may just have the right amount of rebellion I could handle in my adult age.