Cohort Sighting: 1969 AMC Ambassador DPL – “I’ll Try To Try”


This 1969 Ambassador DPL, spotted by ActuallyMike, is remarkably basic for a proto-Brougham in plain white with no vinyl top (speaking of which, do white cars survive longer?).  Typical for AMC, in terms of its restrained look, this rather austere DPL was no longer the top dog Ambassador in 1969.  That position was taken by the more sport-themed SST the prior year, coinciding with the DPL’s availability as a four-door sedan and the introduction of the bigger 390 V8.


For 1969, the Ambassador received a four-inch wheelbase extension ahead of the A-pillar, as well as the addition of an even larger 401 CID V8 (which I doubt this rather basic-looking car has).  The lack of gingerbread serves the owner of this car well since trim pieces for a 45 year old Ambassador are likely hard enough to find as it is.  And thankfully, it looks like the workers at Kenosha did a fine job of affixing what trim exists to this car, which has all four of its handsome wheelcovers present and accounted for.


Not visible in these pictures, uploaded to the cohort by ActuallyMike, is the new-for-’69 front end with quad horizontal headlights, which belatedly took the car out of the mid ’60s.


If the outside of this DPL was kept rather plain, more money was spent inside where it counted, with individually adjustable seats with cloth surfaces and standard air conditioning.  If there was one good thing to come out of the Great Brougham Epoch, it was that more buyers expected cloth upholstery in their cars, not that AMC’s ability to deliver in this regard influenced too many people to buy this stretched Rebel.  There would be no more Ambassador after 1974, by which point its clean lines were nipped and tucked beyond the limits of good taste, and it wouldn’t be until the Concord was introduced in 1978 that Dick Teague’s work would show the proper degree of deference to buyers’ demand for ornamentation and convention.  His work tended to edge toward the clean and sporty (think AMX, Hornet and XJ Cherokee), and nowhere is this more visible than in this car’s well-integrated and timeless door releases which say, “I can’t promise I’ll try to be fancy, but I’ll try to try.”  So many years later, the disconnect between its maker’s modest legacy and management’s upmarket ambitions remains apparent on this sedan’s unadorned flanks.


Related reading:

1969 Ambassador DPL: Not-So-Bravely Stretching Forward & 1968 Ambassador SST: When Borrowing Is A Deadly Sin