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Old 01-12-2008, 11:56 PM
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Rambler Classic Hotrod

I have the chance to buy a 1963 AMC Rambler Classic 660 2 door Hardtop for a grand...running engine and working tranny....straight body and everything. I was wondering #1 is this worth it and #2 what would be a good V8/tranny combo to swap into this car if I choose to do so? thanks a bunch

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Old 01-13-2008, 01:13 AM
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Rambler Classic Hotrod

What can you buy for $100 now a days? Not a whole lot. If it is in good condition, go for it. If it is rough, than consider how much to bring it to the condition you want. It is more expensive to repair because body parts are harder to find & no new body parts are available for it.
We did a 65 Rambler a few years back, it had plenty of room in the engine bay to put in a small block Chev. The drive-train we used was a stock 350 Chev with a 4 speed automatic and a 373 locker diff out of a 97 Explorer. If you change the tranny, you will need to change the differential, it is connected together with the tranny & you can't run it apart. That's the draw back.
Disc brake upgrades are easy on them. Any newer AMC front disc brake bolts directly onto the spindle. These parts are readily available.
If you use a 97 or newer Explorer diff, it comes with disc brakes already on it. Just swap the master & you've got 4 wheel disc brakes.
I can't post the website of the build we did but if you check my personal profile you'll find the site. Go to completed projects and click on the link. We fabricated the motor mounts & the tranny cross-member. Swapped the mounts on the diff & away it went.
A light car, a cheap price & a relatively easy swap. These cars are so light that even a stock 350 gives them quite a bit of get up & go.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:32 AM
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Grab it and run. If it is a 2dr ht and in reasonable condition it is well worth the grand. These are nice looking cars and you will surely be noticed at shows as the only one there . As for engine choice,many have had SBCs installed ,they fit well. But you could also put a 289 or 302 they will fit also except possible oil pan clearance issues .But either way you can find them at reasonable prices or maybe even find a small block AMC,I think they made 301 or 304 versions. Go for it.And post some pics.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:07 AM
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Grab it! What a sleeper that would make. If it was me, I'd keep it all Mopar and stick in a 340-360 with an overdrive auto. Keeping a Mopar all Mopar is important, especially if you want to be accepted by the of the rest of the AMC community.

Sticking in a SBC would IMHO lower the overall appeal of the car as well as hurt resale value. Guys who buy AMC's (its kind of like a cult following) either want an original AMC power plant or Mopar. Which reminds me, there are several AMC V8's that can crank out very respectable HP and pretty much bolt right in, including the 390.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:45 AM
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Buy it, have some fun with it and get rid of it once you lose interest. Cars are getting more scarce, and getting silly$$, so why not have fun with something cheap and different. Enjoy the hobby!
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:09 AM
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What engine is in it now? This could have been equipped with AMC's own 327 4 barrel and they weren't bad runners at all. Although speed parts wouldn't be widely available, for a mild build you could likely do the basics w/o too much hunting. I'm not sure how much if any these had in common with the later AMC V8s. But if they're in the same engine family with the 290, 343, 360, 390 and 401s then there should be plenty available and installation of any of these engines would be a virtual bolt-in. The AMC V8s, like their six cylinders, are rugged and well designed engines. I think keeping it all AMC would be the coolest way to go.
If it's currently an automatic, I think back then they used a transmission made by Borg-Warner. Later AMC cars (by the early 70s at least) with automatics used the Chrysler Torqueflite, a very good unit. If you'd like I'll see if I can find out more from an AMC die-hard I know.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:12 AM
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It's got a small straight 6 in it...prolly the 195.6...not for sure tho
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:51 AM
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That car should have a 401 torque flite. Maybe a little harder to come by than a Chevy or Ford but worth it in the long run. The 401 AMC is a stout engine and I think Edelbrock might even make aluminum heads for it. Don't bastardize that nice classic with an off brand engine. You might even juice up the engine it already has (287, 327?) but the Borg-Warner automatic tranny would have to go bye bye.
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:47 PM
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as I've stated it's a straight six, not a V8
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:03 PM
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Are you going to buy it? Sounds pretty sweet.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:08 PM
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I would like to buy it but I need to figure out when our shop will be ready and a few other things....I called a local junkyard/auto parts store and they said they had no AMC V8's so I guess i'll keep lookin for another one
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:07 PM
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And just as a side note I would not mind one bit if this car ate imports for breakfast
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:42 AM
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Take a look at my photo album -- 63 Classic wagon. Those cars have a torque tube drive, so you have to install a different rear axle and suspension. If you're not going wild with power, a Granada/Mustang 8" fits (and of course a 9" from a Mustang). An Explorer 8.8" will fit also, and is a great axle to use -- especially if you get one with disc brakes. I dropped the torque tube the expensive way -- with a Jag rear axle. Had to use deep wheels to keep from narrowing the thing though. I'd use an Explorer disc axle with a "truck arm" kit from Hot Rods to Hell. Their G-body kit would be easy to use -- just modify the crossmember to fit the Rambler body. Much less trouble than a four link!

As for engines the Jeep 4.0L is just a modification of the later AMC six. I'd use one of those along with a 2WD AW4 auto or five speed if I wanted to keep it all AMC. You could also use the V-8 from a late model Grand Wagoneer, but would have a hard time finding a 2WD transmission. The best idea for a V-8 would be to use a 4.7L Chrysler V-8. That engine was largely designed by the Jeep team. It takes a lot of design cues form the last AMC V-8, more so than from previous Chrysler engines. It could have been on the drawing boards when Chrysler bought AMC, but I have no concrete evidence of that. It's displacement is 287 cubic inches, and Rambler had a 287 from 63-66. Put that engine in and get some old Rambler 287 fender badges! Any late model small block will fit easy enough, so you can stick anything in. I prefer to see something AMC in an AMC, but would rather see something else in it than see it crushed to become some Chinese crap in Wal-Mart. It just isn't always practical to keep it AMC. I'm a big AMC nut, but can still see the truth of the matter!

The 195.6 you have now is reliable and adequate, but will never be a power house. You just can't do much to a long stroke small bore engine (4.25" stroke, 3.125" bore). Not only that, but parts are harder to find and expensive -- it costs as much to build as a typical small block V-8. I ran one in the smaller American for years, and wouldn't run one in anything but a restored car now.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:07 PM
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AMC Enthusiast

The 196.6 inline six was AMC's OHV redesign of their flathead six. AMC marketed the engine as their "economy six"; more efficient than the flathead. This engine has a historical value as it was this design that was used for a die cast aluminum version ('61-'63). See http://amcrc.com/oct05feature.html for a picture of how AMC marketed the all new '63 Classic. This was AMC's bread and butter car, embracing thrift, economy and useful utility. As usual, non-enthusiasts are usually attracted to AMC cars for the way it looks, and then they dream about doing an engine swap after they open the hood, finding an inline six. To swap in a V8, using AMC parts, one would need to find a '63-'66 V8 model in a junkyard (Classic, Marlin or Ambassador) and get the engine, crossmember and transmission. This will bolt in and bolt up to the stock drive system. AMC's torque tube drive system provides excellent traction by acting as an extra long ladder bar applying the torque reaction of the drive wheels very near to the car's center of gravity. Not respecting the car for it's merits, and considering all the work it would take to convert it to a home spun hodge podge engine and drive system, the initially interested person will probably do better to consider another car.
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:46 PM
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I'd still be tempted to get it, barring the above. Either drive it as is, or plan on spending some bucks to go to a different drivetrain. It's going to be a unique piece; not your typical "everyman's car".

I'd be thinking seriously about a 327 out of an Ambassador, with the 4 bbl. It had 270 horses, and ran pretty good. Years ago, my parents had a 60 Ambassador, and I put the shame on some small blocks. It had a 4.10 posi rear end. The good part was, it didn't need premium fuel and would get 20+ mpg on the road. I believe it will work with your driveline.

Other than that, I'd get rid of the closed driveline and go to a Chevy. I know, everybody has 'em. But, you could put in a whole open driveline with all GM parts for probably half what the AMC would cost. I'd rather you did a 401 AMC, but parts are at a premium.
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