1964 AMC Rambler Ambassador Cross Country 990

Just under 3,000 of the 1964 AMC Ambassador Cross Country 990 Station Wagons were produced. Built with a 327 cubic inch V-8, the Ambassador Station Wagon featured in this article has plenty of power.

rambler ambassador

64 Rambler Ambassador 990

A word about AMC...The company itself came from the ashes of Hudson and Nash. American Motors Corporation represented a last, desperate attempt at survival for an American independent automobile company.

The Top of the Line Ambassador

The Ambassador line of vehicles were AMC's top of the line from 1958 to 1974. The Ambassador nameplate was also the longest continuously used nameplate in American automobile history.

The Rambler Brand

The Rambler automobile brand was used by a succession of automakers beginning in 1900 with the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Kenosha, Wisconsin. This lasted until 1914 shortly before the company was taken over by Nash Motors. Nash used the Rambler brand from 1950 to 1954. Nash was acquired by American Motors in 1954 and the Rambler brand was continued by them from 1954 to 1969.

1964 rambler ambassador station wagon

Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon interior and dash

The Rambler Ambassador and Richard A. Teague

Richard A. Teague was an automobile designer whose career in Detroit had him working for General Motors, Chrysler, Packard and eventually AMC. At AMC he became Vice-President of Design and had notable success.

The Cross Country Station Wagon appeared in 1954 and initially rode on a 108-inch wheelbase. In 1959, Car Life magazine named the Rambler wagon “one of the most attractive cars on the road.” By 1963, the cars were selling well; Motor Trend magazine named the entire Rambler line its “Car of the Year.”

The 1963 AMC Ambassador went through an entire redesign. Teague along with Edmund Anderson gave the Ambassador a cleaner and smoother look. This was much needed as the Ambassador carried the same body from the 50's. Many believe the Cross Country had cleaner lines than its Big Three competitors—and there’s no question it was very popular with buyers.

Going into 1964, the AMC Ambassador had minor trim changes along with some new options. The "electric-shaver" grille on the 1963 model was replaced with a flush-mounted design, and the engine and transmission options were widened. A two-door hardtop body style called 990-H was added for the first time since 1957. Base 880 models were dropped from the line, and the Ambassador took on the trusty 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 as its standard engine again.

1964 Rambler Ambassador Cross Country 990 Specifications

As mentioned above, the featured 1964 Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon was built with a 327 cubic inch V-8 engine delivering 250 HP.

Gearbox was a three speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel drum. Front suspension is independent with rear suspension live axle.

Dimensions for the 64 Ambassador Station wagon included a 112.0 inch wheelbase, an outside length of 189.3 inches, a width of 71.3 inches and a height of 55.6 inches.

Rambler wagons are sometimes affectionately called “Kenosha Cadillacs,” after the Kenosha, Wisconsin plant where they were manufactured.

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rambler station wagon

Rambler Ambassador Station Wagons as Collector Vehicles

One of the biggest challenges for those wishing to find an AMC Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon is locating one that's intact. Because of this, the cost of acquiring one will vary greatly depending on condition.

There are some fully restored models that do come up for sale from time to time. It also appears that these Rambler wagons are gaining in collector popularity. This also holds true for several classic station wagons which represent an era of automobile design we're likely not to see again, at least for quite some time.

As of this writing, Ambassador 990 Station Wagons have a published value of between $6,000 and $9,000 for excellent original show quality condition. This is an average and prices of course will vary. The relatively reasonable cost of the Rambler 990 Ambassador Wagon bodes well for the chance of decent appreciation going forward.

ambassador station wagon

The story of AMC is quite interesting in as much as it arose from the troubled Hudson and Nash brands. It's downfall appeared to have much to do with their competitors and the American public's focus on performance of which AMC really wasn't in a position to match. In addition, a few of their later models didn't resonate well with the buying public.

One excellent book regarding the story of the American Motors Corporation is ...American Motors Corporation: The Rise and Fall of America's Last Independent Automaker by author Patrick R. Foster.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1959 Rambler American

The 1959 Rambler American featured in this article was a product of the American Motors Corporation. The compact Rambler American was considered one of the lowest priced automobiles in the United States. This car model was manufactured from 1958 to 1969.

1959 Rambler American

1959 Rambler American

The 1959 Rambler American by all means was a compact car. It was among the first generation of the new American Motors Ramblers. The 1959 Rambler American was not really changed much at all from the 1958 model aside from some cosmetic touches.

Building the Compact Four Seater

American Motors Corporation understood that a lot of money was spent on smaller foreign imports during the 1950's and one answer to that was their imported Metropolitan. The British built Metropolitan was a two seater and the Rambler American, while a small car, was a four seater.

The first idea from American Motors on where to start with the compact four seater was to make the imported Metropolitan into a four seat car but the extremely small wheelbase of the Met made that difficult. The small Metropolitan itself, the car that Lois Lane drove on TV's old Superman television series, was produced until 1962.

Rambler American

Rambler American

The Rambler Name in History

The Rambler automobile actually first came upon the scene in 1900 produced by the Thomas B. Jeffery Company of Chicago. This was the same company that manufactured the Rambler Bicycle. Charles Nash acquired the Thomas B. Jeffery Company when he left General Motors in 1919.

The Rambler name was then used again from 1950 to 1954 by Nash Motors and then was reintroduced in 1954 by the American Motors Corporation after the Hudson Motor Car merger with the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. This was one of the largest mergers up to that time, valued at about $200 million. When Nash produced the new Rambler in 1950 the car was very well received. The 1950 Nash Rambler cost about $1,800. About 11,500 Ramblers were built by Nash in 1950.

American Motors Corporation and Hudson Cars and Competition

As mentioned above, the creation of American Motors Corporation was one of the largest mergers up to that time.

Rambler American dashboard

Rambler American dashboard

After the merger the Hudson brand started to fade. Hudson's problems were economic. The Hudson mid to high priced big cars which were their real sales strength suffered from lack of redesigning to keep up with the competition. The lack of adequate redesigning was due to their poor cash position in the early 1950's.

The real problems of American Motors was it's competition from the Big Three in Detroit. The recession that hit in 1957 made matters a bit worse. American Motors strategy turned to compact cars like the Rambler American. The company had the tooling in place from the earlier Nash models so the reintroduction of the Rambler was not near as costly as it could have been.

Rambler Becomes a Marquee Name

Starting in 1958 the Rambler became a marquee name itself where prior it had been models under both the Nash and Hudson brands. Many motorists who had a Rambler American would likely say that while the car was very plain, it ran good and was dependable with no major problems. The major selling points promoted by American Motors for the compact new Rambler were it's low price, great fuel mileage and it's relatively low maintenance costs. It was also touted as an alternative to foreign imports, in other words, a made in America car.

1959 Rambler interior

1959 Rambler interior

Rambler Models

The Rambler automobile models offered during the late 1950's were the shorter wheelbase Rambler American, the 108.0 inch wheelbase Rambler Six and Rebel V-8 and the 117.0 inch Rambler Ambassador. Among the American models was a two door station wagon which was added in 1959. A four door station wagon was offered with the Rambler Six line. In all, there was a variety of eleven different Rambler models offered for the 1959 model year.

1959 Rambler American Specifications

The 1959 Rambler American came with a 195.6 cubic inch six cylinder L-head engine.The engine would deliver 90 horsepower with the car's top speed at about 85 MPH.

The 1959 Rambler was a very close match to the 1955 Nash Rambler with it's 100.0 inch wheelbase.

1959 Rambler American grille

1959 Rambler American grille

A three speed manual transmission was offered along with an automatic.

Both front and rear brakes were drum.

Changes in this model from the 1955 Nash included a new grille design, a larger rear window, rear wheel wells were cut out rather than skirted and the trunk lid was flattened. In general, the new generation of Ramblers were modernized a bit with more chrome and quad headlights. The 1959 Rambler was of the first generation. Second generation Ramblers would be introduced in 1960.

During 1959 a total of just over 91,000 Ramblers were produced. This included all models and was a big increase over 1958 numbers. The two door sedan models totaled about 30,000 units.

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1959 Rambler American

1959 Rambler American

Ramblers as Collector Cars

rambler automobiles are excellent collector automobiles and probably the most popular model is the V-8 powered Rambler Rebel. You might find the Rambler Rebel with a 250 cubic inch, 215 hp four barrel V8.

Recent asking prices for the 1959 Rambler American in excellent condition is in the $13,000 to $17,000 range. The 1959 Rambler Station Wagons are in the $19,000 to $28,000 range depending on original parts and degree of restoration. All of these prices are theoretical asking prices. As with all collector cars, what a final sales price is depends on the exact model and finding the right buyer.

The Ramblers also can be fun restoration projects. Non restored chassis and body's in a variety of conditions are very possible to locate and at usually cheap prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)