$2,000: 1962 Rambler American Deluxe

This nice l’il car is a 1962 Rambler American Deluxe and it looks like a solid one. It’s advertised on Craigslist for a nice price of $2,000. Two grand for this car seems like a good deal to me if you don’t have to have it shipped clear across the country, or continent, or globe, from Grants Pass, Oregon.

This is a second-generation Rambler American and it was quite a departure from the first-generation models. But, they still had the wacky wheelbase mash-up with the rear wheel opening that didn’t quite line up. Rambler moved the rear wheel up a couple of inches so they could put the spare in the trunk, from what I understand, and it gave an odd profile look. They continued the look when they freshened up the design for these second-generation models. Ahhh.. the good ol’ days.. I can’t imagine anything like that happening with the overly-engineered and designed cars of today.

Ok, the first two photos showed a great-looking car with a nice, soft, original, faded finish and no rust, dings, or dents to speak of, other than a small crease along the rear edge of the passenger door and onto the right quarter panel. The driver’s side tells another tale. But, I’m not sure if that’s rust damage or a dent that was repaired. There doesn’t appear to be any rust to speak of, other than surface rust, so I’m guessing it’s something else. NADA lists a 1962 Rambler American Deluxe with a “low retail” value of $3,308 (deducting 10% for a 6-cylinder? Which makes no sense because a V8 wasn’t offered in this car in 1962), so if you don’t care about having a big, black splotch/repair on the left quarter panel, this could be a nice find for two grand.

Here’s where it gets sticky. There are only two interior photos, the one above, and this one showing the non-padded dash. The seller says that the interior and seats are in rough condition so you’ll be spending some hard-earned money on the interior. Here’s what it probably looked like in there at one time, other than this car has an automatic transmission instead of a column-shifted 3-speed manual. This Rambler also has the $74 Weather Eye option. These front seats fold down creating a better-than-nothing “bed” for travelers of yore. I think it would be cool to part in a big-box-retailer’s parking lot next to a group of motorhomes with one of these and spend the night. Hey, the store is open 24 hours a day for restroom breaks and you can’t beat the price of the room; $0.00. You can see surface rust on the turn signal stalk and steering wheel so there may be more hiding in the cracks and crevasses of this 54-year old car. I had better not get the age of this car wrong since it’s the same age as I am.

This is AMC’s 195.6 (usually called the 196) cubic-inch inline-six; the flathead version, not the OHV version, and it should have had around 90 hp. They were very reliable with high-quality internals but could be prone to overheating. As the temperature hovers at 15-below-zero-straight-temperature here right now, overheating isn’t even on my radar at the moment. The seller says that this one runs good and you can see some new parts there, and what you can’t see is the new gas tank. I have always liked these cars and although I would prefer a three-on-the-tree manual, for two-grand this seems like a nice project. Have any of you owned this generation Rambler American?

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Comments

  1. Dovi65

    I love it!
    At one time my Pops had several Ramblers in the yard, among them a baby blue 62 Classic or American.This was back in the early 70s when these cars were just about given away. I’d love to get my paws on this one [even if it ONLY has two doors!]

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  2. Mike Caplan

    Great car for the price. I have a 60 , 2 door ,L Head 196. 3 on the tree. All original ,Calif. car, have owned it for 25 years. Gets a lot of attention and stories at summer car shows up here in Maine.

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  3. Donald Teifke

    My dad bought a 62 Rambler Classic station wagon 3 speed with overdrive in California in 1965. Shipped it to Germany (He was Air Force) and we traveled all over Europe with that car. Through the Alps and into almost every country. That car would hit 110 on the Autobahn with the overdrive. Still had to get out of the way of the Porches. LOL! Great camper when you folded the seats down. Had a small Coleman stove and a couple boxes of MRE’s and we were good.
    Moved back to the States for a couple years. Then we were shipped to the Philippines. He had it repainted and re-upholstered in the Philippines. Gold with gold interior. (Was baby blue with blue silver interior) Still running strong. Moved back to the States once again. I was 13 then. The Rambler was the first engine and transmission I ever rebuilt. I learned how to drive with that car. 3 on the tree with a switch wired to make the overdrive work again. (Clutch pedal switch broke in Germany) We sold the car in 1978 and it was still running great. I wish I had it now. Lot’s of great memories.

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  4. Howard A Member

    Man, this is one basic car. It makes the Studebaker Scotsman look fancy. It appears, the only options were the automatic, and the oil filter ( that was extra) I don’t even see sun visors. ( sorry, that’s extra too) I think the highway would be a bit much for this, but a great “under 50” car. The guy across the alley had a 1st gen American, with this drive train. Man, that thing was slow. Great find. Wouldn’t it be great if we could buy brand new cars like this,,,in my dreams, I guess. Very cool find!

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    • Howard A Member

      Oops, ran out of time, if this was the Deluxe, I wonder what the standard one was?

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    • Dovi65

      Yes, it is unfortunate that we can’t buy new cars like this .. basic, no frills, reliable & sturdy.
      Today’s equivalent would be the Chevy Sonic/Spark, Ford Festiva. None of which have the charm, or cute factor, of this little Rambler

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  5. Big Kahuna

    I inherited one just like this when I was in high school. Just barely a upgrade from walking. 60 mph top speed with a tailwind. Overheated constantly. Woud not take another as a gift

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  6. Ben T. Spanner

    My future mother-in -law had a 1962 convertible. Automatic. One cold winter weekend, in a snow storm, we drove it from Columbus Ohio to Toledo to visit a Fraternity brother. Of course it was spur of the moment, and late at night.

    Passing on a two lane took a lot of planning. I remember vacuum wipers which would slow or stop. We called it Rusty Rambler, but there was little or no rust; and it was 4 years old.

    It was gone by the time Got back from Nam. Still have the wife.

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  7. James

    I had one of those in a convertible that was a pink metallic with a white top. But its most interesting feature was its original SILVER interior. Like shiny space suit silver! It was truly beautiful and at shows people were always sticking their head in the windows to look at it. Corvettes also offered Silver interiors in the mid 60’s, but this was the only other car I had ever seen like that.

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  8. Car Guy

    Love how easy it is to change the oil filter. Judging from the incorrect size, correct air filters must be hard to come by now………… Honest officer, I was only doing 8. See right here……

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  9. Kevin

    Reminds me of my Nanny!

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  10. snerd

    Bad news, they blow head gaskets good news only takes about 1/2 hr to do the job! Just have to find the gaskets…..owned one for a season.

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  11. Ed Jack

    I had a 62 American! Real metal chrome grill! Hit the passing gear in a rainstorm and the wipers stall. Painted the valve cover bright orange to customize it! Put a “Surfers Foot” gas pedal cover on it to look cool but it idled too fast. Also had an AHOOGAH horn installed. That was fun. Was inspired by Ed Roth to customize, but customized like Ed Wood. (50’s film director)!!

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  12. Bob C.

    I always had a soft spot for ramblers because my grandfather loved them, along with studebakers.Both makes made do for a lot of years with existing components and came out smelling like roses. God bless the independents.

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  13. chad

    “…Have any of you owned this generation Rambler American…”
    yes a convertable Pretty sure it wuz a 6. So quiet when I came to a stop lght in my town (the only 1) any of my buddies on the corner would laugh, thou8ht it stalled…it wuz so smooooth’n quiet.
    I wuz a kid and U know how they can B (didn’t appreciate it) I’d run up the back & vault into the driver’s seat as if I wuz a cowboy mountin his horse…

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