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The world is your oyster here. Way to many choices to list. Here is the means to narrow down your choices. What is your final goal (daily driver, street/strip, etc)? Funds for the build? Place to do the swap? Your ability? Your tools?
 

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The issue with any of the 63-66 AMC big cars (Ambassador, Classic, Marlin... 66 Rebel) is that they have a torque tube drive setup in the rear. For those who don't know, that means the driveshaft is inside a tube that is rigidly bolted to the rear axle and has a flex joint at the rear of the transmission. The tube is the locator arm for the rear axle, so it's part of the rear suspension as well. There is a panhard rod at the rear, and that's it -- other than springs and shocks. Weight of car and length of shocks holds the rear coils springs (other makes used leafs with torque tubes in the 50s) and axle in place vertically.

Because of the joint at the rear of the trans you have to remove the rear axles and torque tube to use a modern engine and trans. The only engine that will bolt to the existing trans is the 63-66 AMC V-8 (287 or 327) or a 63-71 199/232/258 six if it's a six cylinder. Can't bolt a V-8 to a six trans and vice-versa. So you need a rear axles (late 90s/2000s Ranger works great, Explorer with stock Explorer offset wheels) and a rear suspension. Truck arms are what I like for this, but a universal four link works just as good. Ladder bars work also.

Once the rear suspension is sorted, just about anything will fit under the hood. I would shy away from big blocks, but that's about it. If this is a six cylinder model and you just want a little more umph for a cruiser, hop up the 232 six. Easy to find a better cam (Isky 256 or 262 Supercam), intake (Offy DP 4V or AMC 1981-86 2V) and carb (390-450 4V, or Motorcraft 2100 1.08/287 cfm). You will need a 81-86 exhaust manifold also. I'd shy away from a header as they are expensive. If you truly wnat a header use a 4.0L head and factory header with a 81-86 or 4V intake.
 

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X2 what 39 master says. I'd go with a complete LS swap with OD trans and the whole 9 yards. IFS MII aftermarket front suspension with coil overs and parallel or triangulated rear suspension with coil overs. Frame connectors at minimum since the car is a unibody. Depending on your ability, tools, and what level car you want in the end, you're talking $20,000 to $50,000 or more.
 

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What you DON"T need to do is replace the front suspension. While the 66 Marlin still uses an upper trunnion, the lower is a ball joint. The front suspension is very similar to a Mustang II, except that the coil spring is above the upper control arm. That's actually a better location for handling and ride. I'd rebuild the stock front suspension, including replacing the springs with 10% stiffer than stock (order from www.coilsprings.com -- they will make them to your specs, and they have factory specs) for a slight improvement in handling. The old Rambler V-8s were about 600 lbs, so consider the weight of the new engine. If you have a V-8 in the Rambler the stock springs are probably great for a lighter weight LS as is. You can get front disc brake kits for AMC from Scarebird, Aerospace Components, or Willwood. Don't let the model and year worry you -- ANY model AMC kit will work on ANY 1952+ Nash/Rambler/AMC. Spindles are all pretty much the same EXCEPT for the thickness of the base where they bolt to the steering knuckle (upright -- all AMC spindles bolt on/off, not one piece like GM/Ford/Chrysler). That can be taken care of with different length grade 8 bolts and washers as spacers, or by machining down a thick spindle (71-83 disc brake spindles are thickest). If the brake setup comes with a spindle you're all set! The bearings on all AMCs are the same and the spindle is made the same where the hub bolts on EXCEPT for 75-78 models. Those four years used a bigger bearing spindle. All other disc and drum spnidles use the same bearings and spacing between the bearings.

The Marlin unibody is pretty stiff. If you're using a stock LS in it and building a cruiser, you won't need "subframe connectors" (the front and rear "frame" sections are actually called sills). If you're building a high power car that will see some hard strip use they are a very good idea, and might be considered a requirement. All depends on what you intend to do. A swap can be done for far less than $20K, but it all depnds on how much work you can do yourself, condition of car, and the end results you want. I've seen them done on a budget, and well done, with the owner doing most of the work and looking for bargains. Even then you're going to be $5K or more.
 

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Show us pictures of what you're starting with. Give us an idea of your skills, experience, tools, garage facility, etc. What do want in the end? Rat Rod, driver, pristine show car? Cost to build can vary dramatically.
 

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I have a 65 Marlin with a 454 Chevy in it. It's been on the road for 30 years this way. I changed the whole drivetrain, but it can be done with the original drivetrain.

The automatic transmission used was a Borg Warner M65 version of a FMX. This was also used by Studebaker behind a 230 Chevy six or 283 V8 for several years. With a Studebaker bell housing any 63 and up Chevy engine besides a LS will bolt right up. It was also used by Ford Australia behind Windsor V8s The later AMC Shift command bell housing will also fit the Flashomatic case, but some internal parts may be different.

The manual three speed transmission actually had a Ford bolt pattern at the bell housing. There are a ton of adapters for multiple engines for that transmission bolt pattern.

The biggest problem with installing a different make engine is sway bar interference because it goes under the back of the engine. A Javelin sway bar fits in the front and nearly bolts in place
 

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Actually, the FMX is a version of the Borg Warner... as are all earlier Ford auto trannys until the C4 and C6. In the mid 50s Ford entered an agreement with BW to license the BW design and for BW to build 50% of Fords transmissions for a five year period. The Ford-O-Matic and Cruise-O-Matic are virtual copies of the BW M-8, with some differences. They share rotating parts, but the Ford valve body and case is slightly different from the BW models sold to others. Ford took the best features of the two early M and X models and developed the FMX, but it was still made under the BW license (though the production agreement had run out -- I don't know if BW made any auto trannys for Ford after those five years). The FMX shares more with the BW M-8 than the later M-11. The M65 is a later version of the M-11/M12, nothing like an FMX.

The main issue here is that the Marlin used a BW "M-10" in 65 and 66. I have M-10 in quotes because that isn't an officail BW or AMC designation. Us AMC hobbyists call it that becuase it's the only cast iron body (V-8) BW that uses a TV cable instead of vacuum modulator for pressure control. It's just a different version of the M-8 in reality.

That said, I don't know that it will bolt to a M65. Furthermore, I don't think the M65 came out until the 70s. The Studebaker most likely used an M-11 or M-12. I think those will bolt to the same bell as the M-8, but I'm not 100% certain, as I haven't' tried it. I have been told by others that it will. BW used a separate bell so the trans would be easy to adapt to any engine, and several manufacturers used them - just had to make their own bell (or order from BW). It sure would be nice if the M-65 uses the same trans to bell bolt pattern -- and it very well might. Would save manufacturing and acquisition cost if some manufacturer wanted to upgrade the trans.
 
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