Car Life apparently had been getting razzed by its readers for focusing on high performance cars, so they decided to test four big “family cars” with their base V8s to see how they compared on the test track and drag strip as well as in ordinary driving. All of them did well enough, although there was an overall “winner” as well a bit of a surprise at the drag strip.
Having sworn off supercars and ponycars for this test, Car Life specified the best selling versions of the best selling full-size coupes: small, base V8s, automatic transmissions, power brakes and power steering. The Fury came with optional a/c, and the Ambassador had standard a/c. Getting cars with these specs was easier said than done.
They ended up coming not from the manufacturers, but from…Hertz! These were exactly the way full-size rental cars were specified, and Hertz was able to find them in their vast pool.
Test weights (curb plus 310 lbs) ranged from 3870 lbs (Ambassador) to 4180 (Fury). The Impala had the 200 hp 307 V8 and Powerglide, although the THM was also available. The Galaxie came with the 210 hp 302 V8 and Cruisomatic; The Fury had the 230 hp 318 V8 and TF, and the Amby had the 200 hp 290 V8 and the BW automatic.
The test track was first, and not surprisingly, all four exhibited various degrees of understeer.
The Fury was deemed to be the best handler, despite a fairly soft suspension and lots of lean. On the freeway, though, the Fury felt the least stable. The Impala had the best weight distribution, higher than average cornering speeds, and the best high-speed stability. The Ambassador had the worst weight balance and lots of understeer, yet it was controllable. The Galaxie had the worst understeer, and was hampered by slow and heavy steering.
The Amby came with disc brakes, and not surprisingly, had the best brake test results. Unlike the others, its front wheels locked first, which tends to make the car slide in a straight line, unlike when the rears lock first. The Impala’s drum brakes “stopped well”, and still came to a stop in a straight line after six hard stops, although with fade. The Fury locked its rear brakes first, causing it to swerve. Braking power was also not good. The Galaxie’s brakes overpowered its suspension, causing it to tilt forward and the rear axle to twist and bounce, with the rear wheels hopping.
Next up was the drag strip. The surprise “winner” was the Impala, given that it was short an intermediate gear with its 2-speed Powerglide. This is one more of a number of surprising outcomes with Powerglide Chevys we’ve documented here lately in these vintage reviews. It’s 1/4 mile time of 18.56 seconds was nothing to write home about, and its speed of 71.2 mph in the traps was actually the slowest of the bunch, so it confirms that the PG has a real knack for launching cars quickly. Given the lack of an intermediate gear, “the Impala did better than we expected”.
But the PG “was also a handicap in traffic”, due to the lack of that intermediate gear. The light Ambassador came in second at the drag strip with an 18.6 second run @ 75.2 mph. The Fury came in third with 18.7 seconds @ 74.0 mph, and the Galaxie was a bit behind with 18.90 seconds @ 74.0 mph.
The Ambassador’s standard a/c wouldn’t shut off, so that handicapped its performance a bit.
The Ambassador’s engine also heated up after several runs, causing fuel starvation, and had “excessive intake manifold and fuel pump and line temperatures”. The Fury “took the tests calmly and quietly”, while the Ford had the highest engine noise and “sounded like it was working harder than the others”.
CL got a wide variety of employees to drive these cars, and they picked a winner: the Fury. It was the biggest and had the most interior room, and its body felt “taut and solid”. It drove well and was put together well.
The Amby had “some niggling little flaws”, and was of course not as roomy, as it really was more like an intermediate with a long front end. The Impala’s main drawback was not in design but components, as it would have been more harmonious with the optional 3-speed THM.
The Galaxie “won the unhappy distinction of being both heavy and loose. The car rattled…all the Ford products tested by CL this year have jangled and thumped.”
Although there was a “winner”, CL deemed them all to be “acceptable” being driven the way they were intended to be driven.
This test seems to confirm my beliefs about the Powerglide’s strengths and weaknesses – it was really good at standing-start acceleration, but not so great at the 20 or 30 to 70 mph sprints we see with freeway merging or passing on a 2-lane highway. Curiously, the test data looked better than the testers’ seat-of-the-pants experience here. One curiosity, why does that graph show what looks to be a 2-3 shift for the PG-equipped car?
The Fury feeling less secure on the highway seems off from my experience, so I wonder if there was something with tires or alignment of the samples that was a factor. Chevy was certainly upping its handling/driving game from earlier in the decade.
I love that 230 horsepower figure on the 318. That was the same number Chrysler advertised on the 1959 2 bbl version, which was a significantly different engine. I think they stuck with that number until they switched to net from gross. I would love to know what these engines actually put out (as opposed to the numbers that the sales people told us they put out).
Was Chrysler Corporation still using its “full-time” power steering in 1968? The corporation used to boast in advertisements that its power steering provided a constant level of assist, which didn’t do much for road feel at highway speeds.
They did – they continued to use that really light steering into the 70s.
You’ve mistaken the meaning of “full-time power steering”. That was a marketing term coined in the late ’50s, intended to differentiate Chrysler’s system from earlier, more primitive power assists. This was not why you could just about spin the steering wheel with one finger on a Chrysler car with power steering, but you couldn’t feel the road with all ten fingers and all ten toes on the wheel. That was entirely down to the calibration of the reaction springs inside the steering gear. Thicker/stiffer reaction springs = vast improvement in self-centring and road feel, and the car feels much more stable and surefooted, and your shoulders no longer knot themselves up on a long trip from constantly gripping the wheel trying to keep the car in lane…but then you needed four or five fingers to turn the wheel, and Chrysler decided only cops wanted or got that.
Outfits like Firm Feel and Steer & Gear rebuild Chrysler steering boxes to (and beyond) the cop specs all day, every day, and it fixes that problem all the way fixed, even as the “full-time power steering” system carries right on being what it is.
Thanks for explaining this Daniel. I have noticed that this fallacy of “full time power steering” vs “power assisted” has come up a few times. Like you said, it all comes down to tuning of the power steering system. I have played with this over the years and it’s amazing how much more road feel you can get by a simply changing a few parts in the steering box, while all else remains the same.
It was my understanding that there was a patent on ps systems that provided boost only when the steering wheel starts to be turned. That patent was to expire in time for 1952 models and this was the system GM introduced that year.
Chrysler got around the patent by employing a system that was boosted all the time instead of on demand, thus eliminating on-center road feel. They got their system out in 1951 and had the feature to themselves for a year, and made this simpler system sound superior by calling it “full time”.
But the Chrysler system isn’t boosted all the time, it just doesn’t have to wake up and start from zero when the wheel is turned—that is what is meant by ‘full-time’, which is why it’s a bit of a fib. The hydraulic control valve atop the steering gearbox is configured so as to detect when there’s a torque input (i.e., you turn the wheel), then it routes pressurised steering fluid to the applicable path to help move the parts in the intended direction. When there’s no input torque, the control valve routes the steering fluid in a U-turn whence it came, to the power steering pump reservoir, without first doing any work.
The reason for the lack of road feel and self-centring, I already explained. 🙂
One curiosity, why does that graph show what looks to be a 2-3 shift for the PG-equipped car?
Operator error. I transposed the Ford’s stats to the Chevy. Fixed now.
Ah, now it makes sense. This is what I had suspected in that there is no need for an upshift on a 0-60 run with a PG. All of the 3 speed autos upshift once around 45-50. That ability to make the entire run in one gear has to help the Chevy, even with the 307 that was reputed to be a bit of a dog as SBCs go.
Also, the figures now show that the 30-70 time was the worst for the Chevy, which is where the intermediate gear the others have would have been helpful.
All of the three speed transmission here upshift at 50 mph or more. The power glide is slower but keeps up to 60 mph.
I have also been hunting for a comparable PowerGlide test to compare with the 1961 TurboGlide test. I found a 1964 M/T test with a 327 and PowerGlide. The 64 does 0-60 in 9.3 secs and the quarter mile in 17.1 with the end speed of 81. This is quicker that the 61 with the 348 engine and TurboGlide.
So I think the triple turbine performance is less than the TurboHydramatic.
Higher shift point. The data panel says the Powerglide wound out to 70 mph, so it stayed in low gear almost the full length of the quarter mile, whereas the three-speed cars shifted to second at around 50 mph.
Thank you. Nice article! These are the kind of comparison tests that were rarely found in car mags in later years, they largely gave that market up to Consumer Reports.
About the Ambassador “Car’s cornering power exceeds driver’s enthusiasm.” Now that’s funny. Sounds like the main complaint with the Ambassador was it wasn’t big enough, which sounds strange from this day-and-age. But I see that the Ambassador was stretched 4 inches the following year, so that may have been a general complaint.
I would have thought I would have taken the Fury, but it sounded like the testers would have taken the Impala if it had been equipped with the 3-speed.
But I see that the Ambassador was stretched 4 inches the following year,
That stretch was all in the front end, to give it an even longer nose. No change to the actual passenger compartment.
To me it seems the Ambassador was the winner hands down. I liked the styling better, it was not so huge, had good handling, had disc brakes, had the smallest displacement. And if they would have shut the A/C off, it surely would have beat the Chevrolet in quarter mile time. If it were 1968 and I was looking for a family car, I surely would have purchased the Ambassador.
The Ambassador’s power disc brakes were optional equipment (and only available on the V-8 models). Power discs were optional on the other cars…and with the Ford, ordering power brakes meant an automatic upgrade to disc brakes, too.
The problem with the Ambassador was that it shared the Rebel’s body. It wasn’t any roomier than its smaller sibling (the extra length was in the hood). They shared the same drive trains, and the Rebel could be optioned to the Ambassador’s level. So why not just buy the Rebel?
The fact that’s interesting to see here is that 2-door hardtops were outselling 4-door sedans even in the full-size class, to the point that at least daily-rental fleet customers were buying them presumably for resale value.
Being around then I was dubious from my own experience and memory that 2 drs predominated, so checked my Standard Catalog 1946-75:
’68 Galaxie 500 fastback and 2 dr coupe combined: 154,492.
’68 Galaxie 4 dr sedan + 4 dr hrdtp combined: 173,338
LTD, Custom 500 and Custom 4 drs dominated 2 dr coupes/sedans by larger #s.
’68 Chev: no breakdown: 710,900 Impalas all body styles, certainly BelAir and Biscayne 4 dr sedans certainly dominated.
’68 Ply Fury III; 105,460 4 dr sedan + hardtop, 60,472 Notchback, Fastops were not broken out, in ’67 NB and FT #s were combined, assume same in ’68.
’68 Ambassador (all trim level) 4 dr 35,440, 2 dr coupe 14 ,742.
So don’t know where they got their info, not the first time Car Life was inaccurate.
That bastion of objective evaluation, Consumer Reports, tested a similar group of cars in their January 1968 issue of the magazine. In their summary they ranked the Ford Galaxie first. CR wrote the Ford Galaxie “resumes top ranking this year on the strength of its good ride, brakes and handling qualities, with no outstanding deficiencies.”
As far as Car Life experiencing rattles in MY68 Fords, it should be noted that FoMoCo was the UAW’s strike target to negotiate a new 3 year contract in the Fall of ’67 and called a strike that lasted approximately two months. It can probably be assumed that in order to make up for lost production that assembly quality suffered.
Consumer Reports tested a 1968 Thunderbird and Buick Riviera. They reviewers found a laundry list of things wrong with the Thunderbird, which was surprising, as the Wixom plant had a good reputation for quality in those days. The Riviera was better in that regard. Perhaps the Thunderbird had been hastily assembled after the end of the strike, too?
Car Life tested a 1969 Ford Fairlane fastback and specifically noted that it was much better assembled than the 1968 Ford products it had tested.
Something to keep in mind is that all these cars were rentals. Well into the 70s, it was common practice for rental fleet orders to be fulfilled early in the model year production cycle.
This allowed rental companies to always have the latest MY cars – a renter expectation in those days. It also allowed manufacturers to deal with sophisticated fleet buyers to resolve any early assembly glitches.
The other factor to consider was that while most renters drive the cars as intended, some renters revel in abusing a car they will likely never see again.
Those kind of renters can often tell you more about a car’s limits than magazine car test writers. Who knows what any of these cars might have been subjected to prior to being the subject of this article.
I subscribe to a few car magazines that always test vehicles I’ll never drive or buy, so I’m sympathetic to Car Life’s readers, 55 years ago.
The angle of going to Hertz delights me–but I guess it helped Car Life get exactly what they were looking for. Thanks for posting this, Paul!
How different things were in 1968. The one thing that jumped out in the interior photos was the lack of front headrests. Seems like this (or 1969) was the last year they were not standard equipment across the board.
Frankly, although nice to get performance figures, in typical fashion back then, the choice would boil down to whichever brand the buyer was most loyal to. Nothing in the article indicates there was a truly bad choice among the four.
Without that caveat, I’d take the Impala, mainly because GM was still the styling king of the time, and it was the final year for the swoopy fastback. On top of that, the performance metrics were acceptable (even with the Powerglide), certainly the equal of the other cars in the field. With the Turbo-Hydramatic, I dare say it would have been the clear winner.
Sadly, the stated quality of the Plymouth can only be an anamoly. Chrysler products were notorious for being either really good or really bad. I guess they got one of the good ones.
When did Ford go to light and numb power steering?
The Elwood Engle 1965-68 Furys are my favorite Mopars. Family had a wagon, and went on two crow country trips, with ease. Only once in while temperamental starting. In my opinion was like a large, tough as nails, A body Valiant.
1969 + Fuselage cars had quality bugs, and then lower sales. When tried to make them ‘formal’ again, for ’74, gas crisis 1 occurred, and Dodge/Plymouth C bodies died off.
It would be hard to quantify, but I have a sense there was a lot more brand loyalty in that era, up to sometime in the mid-70s. Anecdotally, a guy like my Pop wouldn’t have bothered to read this test, because the only question for him would be which GM full-size did he want. I’m certain there were Ford and Chrysler dads, too. I literally knew no one who was an AMC loyalist, but I’m sure they existed.
The “AMC” entry should be the “Rebel” here.
This is extra-fun because Chrysler knew what to do about this, and the parts were right there on the shelf for a $0.00 fix, but despite Consumer Reports and every car mag squawking about premature rear lockup, Chrysler stared at the sky and said “Huh, looks like rain” and kept putting the too-big 15/16″ rear wheel cylinders on non-cop cars.
Every time I swapped the smaller 13/16″ rear wheel cylinders onto a ’60s Mopar with 10″ or 11″ rear drums, the brakes got vastly better balanced and it grew much more difficult to induce rear lockup.
Did they spec the rear brakes for 3 passengers and a full trunk?
My personal pick is the Impala, but then my opinion was biased towards the Chevy at the time. Others have mentioned brand loyalty was likely the biggest factor back then in choosing between these cars, and my Dad was no different. He picked the Impala.
His ’68 was pretty much set up like this one, only he had the Custom’s more formal roofline and the THM transmission. I suppose that the PG may’ve been the reason he traded in his ’66 Impala at the time (that one was a fastback). The ’66 had the 283/PG set-up, and he raved about the improvement that extra gear made in the newer Impala’s drivability, even with the lackluster 307 under the hood.
Ford wouldn’t be on his radar until 1973, when he bought the LTD. In that year, he was less than impressed with the ’73 Impala, and I suppose he wanted to try something different. He had done that in 1960 with a Dodge, but eventually went back to GM. He would do that again after the Ford. Now he’s a Honda guy… I suppose many have made that switch including me, but I digress….
Wow – not a fan of any of them.
I really don’t know what I would select.
Regardless of whether two doors outsold four doors or not, I think it’s yet another example of how things have changed over the years, that CL picked two door vehicles for this “family car” test – and that they were apparently so prevalent in rental fleets. Of course the non-use of child seats then has a lot to do with this; not only no need for access to load that big hunk of plastic, but no back doors for your unsecured kid to fall out of. Of these cars, I like the Chevy best but in hindsight the AMC should have been much more successful. Except for the Javelins and AMX’s that were just coming to market then, I think most people would have called the Ambassador a “Rambler” and that was not a good image by 1968. In fact, I think until about 1970 people of my Mom’s generation still sometimes called them “Nash Ramblers”.
I have seen this test before and there was nothing too unexpected from the results. If anything it shows how these fatter late sixties cars were no longer well suited to the small engines, unlike that ’62 Plymouth test we saw earlier this week.
I don’t think that the PG Chevy performed well though. 0-60 in 13.8 seconds! It is significantly slower than the early 60s Impalas with a 283 PG combo. In this test, it was by far the slowest for any of the timed acceleration runs. Undoubtedly the PG hampered its overall performance significantly. A TH350 would have significantly improved the performance all round and certainly made it much better in everyday traffic. In the early 60s, the high winding SBC and the lighter cars meant the PG was comparable in performance to the competition. But by 1968, weight had increased and Mopar had its LA small-block while Ford had the Windsor small-block, both of which were combined with good three-speed autos, and the SBC PG combo in full-size car just couldn’t compete anymore.
The test results are a little wonky though. How is that the Impala was slowest to accelerate to every speed from 10 mph to 90 mph, yet it had a faster ET in the quarter mile? It’s not like it was faster off the line and then petered out, it was slower all the time than the other cars. There could be a few explanations. Maybe the 1/4 mile runs were done separately and the Impala ran stronger off the line for those runs. Maybe the others cars had some wheel spin which slowed their ET. Maybe they just recorded the numbers incorrectly, or the test methodology was questionable. In any case, something is up with those numbers.
While I do really like the ’68 Impala styling, especially the fastback, with these engine and trans combos, give me the dowdier Plymouth.
It didn’t, though. The data panel said its quarter mile trap speed was 71.2 mph, slowest of the bunch, even though its ET is mid-pack.
Ack, you said ET, not trap speed, my mistake.
It’s not the quickest, though — the Ambassador shades it by a fraction of a second.
It was also my typo, I said “faster ET” but meant “quicker ET.” The text and data panel show different results. The text says the Chevy ran a 18.56 and the AMC an 18.6, but the data panel shows the AMC at 18.5 secs. Regardless, the AMC has a faster rate of acceleration through out the timed results and has a faster trap speed of 75.2 mph vs 71.2 mph. Yet, somehow it comes out at the nearly identical ET through the 1/4 mile as the Chevy which has a slower acceleration rate and trap speed. How do they cover the same distance in the same time when the AMC is always running faster? That 18.56 time for the Chevy also seems to be on the quick side for a 71.2 mph trap speed, I’d think it’d be closer to 19 secs. In any case, it just seems something is a little wonky on the numbers, but like I said maybe there is something else at play like wheel spin that is lengthening the ET on the other cars.
Vince, it has been my experience that “Real World” driving conditions do not always mirror the published zero to sixty and quarter miles numbers in car magazine’s road tests.
Having spent a lot of time in all of these cars in suburban and urban driving conditions; I found the Chevy the slowest and the Plymouth the fastest in normal driving conditions. The Ford was somewhere between the two; the Rambler was a noisy slow slug.
I would take the Plymouth, I have experienced the joys of a 318 and Torqueflite, and a set of Magnum 500s would take care of the boxy styling.
I’m really surprised at the straight line performance results and them being so close. I always thought of Ramblers as pretty gutless, I know the Jeep I had with a Rambler 327 sure was, but it was rated at and performed about the same as the proverbial big 3. I also thought the Chrysler and Ford would romp, but they did not. I noticed the Chevy had a lot more cam, amazed they listed it but I wonder if it was measured at the same point, .050 or what? If .050 that Chevy has a lot of whole lot of cam.
At the end of the day really, they looked pretty similar. Makes sense in a way, similar design and spec, but I’m still surprised.
The cam specs for the Chevy are factory advertised specs, not at 0.050. This is a mild cam, with very gentle ramp rates. This 280/288 cam was the standard mild cam for SBCs for many years, and was even used in the smog era. This 307 was rated at 200 gross hp with this cam, but based on the performance it’s probably actually making about 130-135 net hp at most
The 307 was rated at 130 net hp in 1972. Same basic engine.
Yes, it was the same basic engine, but the advertised compression was dropped by half a point by 1972. It was 9.0:1 compression from 1968-1970 then dropped to 8.5:1 in 1971. However, Chevrolet advertised specs aren’t always very accurate, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the compression wasn’t accurate for either. I know the 70’s 350s were advertised at 8.5:1 but most who measured them found them to be actually less than 8:1, around 7.8:1.
Further, the 1971 the 307 was rated at the same 200 hp gross despite the reduction in compression. Net was listed at 140 hp for 1971 but In 1972 they dropped it to 130 hp despite no changes. So Chevrolet was definitely not the most accurate with their specs. 130 hp definitely seems to be closer to reality based on this performance. In fact, other than the weird 1/4 mile time, this ’68 Impala runs nearly identical performance to a ’64 Chevelle 230 six PG that Car Life previously tested.
“I noticed the Chevy had a lot more cam, amazed they listed it but I wonder if it was measured at the same point, .050 or what? If .050 that Chevy has a lot of whole lot of cam.”
Factory cam duration numbers weren’t measured at .050 lift (would that 307 be able to idle?); they measured at a much lower lift, which therefore was much closer to a seat-to-seat measurement. I found this comment on an AMC forum, and it sounds plausible:
That is .006″ on the camshaft, which was supposed to approximately equal to .001″ lift at the valve taking into consideration the compression of slack in the valve train components, the deflection of rocker arms and pivot mechanisms, and the assumption that most US manufacturers used rocker arms with ratios in the 1.5 to 1.7 range. It was an agreed upon standard and written up in an SAE paper in 1963 or 1964 IIRC. Interestingly, NHRA adopted this as their base standard of camshaft specifications and checking clearances for Stock Eliminator cars in 1966 (.001″ at the valve for hydraulic camshafts) and Chevrolet immediately sent letters revising their camshaft specifications for all their engines. The camshaft specs for their common 283 and 327 engines jumped from 250 degrees advertised duration to 300 degrees design duration and set the stage for a huge advantage for sportsman racers with Chevrolet race cars. The other GM brands followed suit and MoPar picked up on it by 1967 when they also threw their chips into that pot. Ford for some reason only thought it was important for their factory hot rod engines, so the common 289s, 352s and 390s missed the shot (289 Ford advertised camshft was 244 degrees) and AMC either chose to not play the game or was ignorant. So all the AMC camshaft specs back in the day were limited to the 266 degree advertised spec and put them at a serious disadvantage. Had they joined the crowd and submitted their 293 degree engineering spec to NHRA, it may have been a different history of AMC in NHRA Stock class racing.
A bit of trivia and useless information.
Just something else to add, factory camshafts tended to have slow ramps, especially compared to modern performance camshafts. The difference between the “advertised” duration and the duration at .050 lift on a modern cam is a decent indicator of how quickly a cam will open and close a valve.
The hydraulic cam I installed in my Mustang has 280/290 advertised duration, which sounds like a lot, but the .050 duration is 204/214, which is not that much. There are some cam lines out there that open the valve much more quickly, so my 204/214 cam might be advertised at something like 255/265 or something like that.
I’m in no way an expert on camshaft design, but the factory’s ratings included some of those slow ramps where there was little air flowing during much of the “curve.”
Aaron is right on with the ramp rates and advertised specs. As his quote above shows, advertised specs are not all equal, which is why the aftermarket industry favors specs at 0.050″. Like I mentioned above, this is a mild cam with gentle ramp rates, especially compared to aftermarket cams. Even old aftermarket cams had more aggressive ramp rates, but modern ones such as Comps XE series have very aggressive ramp rates. The full advertised cam specs for this cam in the Chevy are as follows:
Lob Lift: .2600″ / .2733″
Rocker Arm Ratio: 1.5:1
Valve Lift: .390″ / .410″
Intake Opens: 28 degrees BTC
Intake Closes: 72 degrees ABC
Intake Duration: 280 degrees
Exhaust Opens: 78 degrees BBC
Exhaust Closes: 30 degrees ATC
Exhaust Duration: 288 degrees
Overlap: 58 degrees
To my surprise, Chevrolet’s official specs give cam timing both with and without ramps. The camshaft specs VinceC notes above are quoted as excluding ramps (https://www.gm.com/content/dam/company/no_search/heritage-archive-docs/vehicle-information-kits/chevrolet/1968-Chevrolet.pdf, page 54).
At the end of the day really, they looked pretty similar. Makes sense in a way, similar design and spec,
That’s the key line. These engines were all in a very similar mild state of tune, to idle and run smoothly and give good torque low down. It’s pretty predictable that the results would be so similar, with the somewhat larger Dodge engine taking the lead overall.
I didn’t know the Ambassador had standard A/C that early (before Lincoln?). It probably made production and dealer-stocking a little easier, but did it really help sales when the base price had to be higher?
This was a big part of their television commercials.
Having spent considerable amounts of “driving time” in all of these cars in the early/mid 1970’s; my choice would be: The power steering system and power front disc brakes of the Chevy, the quietness & smooth ride of the Ford with the powertrain, interior space and fold down armrest bench seat of the Plymouth.
The Rambler just didn’t overly impress me in any way.
It’s funny that they called the folding armrest a gimmick. Soon to be a necessity for many people. I wish modern bucket seats had big, fat armrests like those old bench seats.
The TH350 would not be introduced until the following year, 1969. So was the optional 3 speed the TH400? An extra gear, but much heavier and adds ALOT of drag to spin. Even the more modern 4L80E is a TH400 with overdrive, and is known to add drag to whatever is bolted in front of it. The Rambler front discs were solid-non vented. I had a ’70 Ambassador wagon in 1979. Yellow with (vinyl) wood and a VERY peppy 360 2bbl. It would do 0-60 in 9 seconds, but easily overwhelmed those solid front discs. It was the first car I ever bot. The seller was asking $125 with a dead battery, but when I showed up with my ’67 Parisienne 2+2 convertible, (originally) 283pg, but I upgraded to the simple bolt in TH350 and 3x2s Edelbrock intake, she wasn’t around. So I went shopping, and when I returned and met with her, I only had $92 left, and she accepted it. I jumped the battery and left my VERY rusty ’67 2+2 at her business, and the Ambassador died a few blocks later. My mother wouldn’t come out to get me, so I discovered the advantage of CAA roadside assistance auto club. (I was in Montreal Quebec Canada). The TH350 REALLY woke the slug of a burdened 283 in my full size Cheviac, (3.36 rear gear), but the 3x2s just dumped way too much fuel, but sure looked kool!! 44 year later, I own dozens of cars, and usually find favor with my el cheapo survivors vs my body off restored gems…
Why wasn’t the Rambler AC simply unplugged?
The 307 was a 327 crank in a 283 block. Long stroke-small piston, reportedly the leftovers of the short stroke-big bore hi winding 302 offered in the Z28. I’m not sure what a 307 would rev to, but I seem to recall my 283 spinning the tach needle past 6000rpms, and hitting 80 in lo gear with 3.36 gears. I’m sure I’m accurately recalling my street racing(???) days, but embellishing 🤣
The power glide was dreadful on initial pull away especially bigger car with tall gears, but it could accelerate nice from 30-60 as the engine would be in it’s power wheelhouse.The 350 turbo was a God send, 2:52 first gear vs the glides 1:76.
My dad bought a new ’68 Fury ll sedan with the 318 and factory air. He traded in a ’61 Chevrolet for the Plymouth. That Fury was a fantastic car. In the mid-seventies I learned how to drive in that car. I wish I had that Plymouth now. While in high school I worked at a Chevron service station. I drove many GM’s, Ford’s, and foreign car’s. For my money, Chrysler product’s were superior then and now.
From this article, I would choose the Plymouth first, AMC/Ford second, and Chevrolet last.