Vintage Road Test: Car & Driver Tests The New 1964 Rambler American, Rather Unhappily

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(first posted 1/22/2014)    A not uncommon accusation around these parts is that folks who haven’t driven a certain car have no right to write articles or comment on them. There’s some validity in that, but then owners of certain cars are all-too often lacking in any objectivity too, especially when it comes to their beloved older cars. Of course, the criticism can go the other way too.

I happen to have an intrinsic soft spot for Ramblers, but don’t have a lot of seat time in them. Whereas the earlier Ramblers from the late 50s were generally considered to be decent to good handling cars compared to the wallowing Big Three cars of the times, by the mid sixties, they were generally being left behind. The few I have driven from that era felt clumsy, with very slow steering and general dullness. Were my perceptions colored by Rambler’s frumpy image? When I stumbled unto this old Road Test from my April 1964 Car and Driver, it gave me a reality check: Apparently not.

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Postscript: The so-called “new ohv six-cylinder engines in iron or aluminum” are anything but new, as 1964 was the last year for this very elderly long-stroke design that dates back to the thirties, updated with an ohv head along the way. But even the excellent new sixes that arrived to replace it didn’t fix the other dynamic shortcomings of the American. There really was a reason Ramblers got the rep back then for being old ladies’ cars, even when they were trying hard not to be, appearance wise, like this very attractive  ’64 American coupe, Dick Teague’s first assignment at AMC.