Twin-Stick Action Survivor: 1965 Rambler Marlin

m1

This Rambler (AMC) Marlin survivor has had three owners from new. The largely original paint has been wet sanded to shine again, and the unusual set of options and documentation from new make this a standout among Marlins. It’s located in Mount Brydges, Ontario, Canada and is listed for sale here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $7,900 but active bidding is still well below that figure. Thanks to Jim S. for this terrific find that I wish I could bid on!

m4

Of course, the most distinctive feature of the Marlin is it’s huge fastback. The styling was intended for a smaller platform originally, but got adopted to the larger platform due to upper management wishes. This one has a two-tone treatment that the owner paid $19.95 extra for according to the original window sticker!

m2

The seller claims to have purchased the car from a friend of the original owner that had bought the car in 1980 and stored it. They state that there is zero rust on the car, and the pictures appear to bear this out, although I wish there were some more closeups and detailed pictures.

m5

If you look to the far right of this picture, you’ll see one of the reasons this car is special. Yes, that’s two gear sticks! This was the last year of the “Twin Stick” shifter, which was a three-speed transmission with a separate overdrive that could be actuated on second and third gear for a total of five speeds.

collage

images courtesy speednik.com & curbsideclassic.com

As you can see, Rambler made a big deal about this “sports car action” shifter! I wonder how many Marlin owners actually drove with leather sports car gloves? The transmission cost the original purchaser $143.80!

m3

Only 2,005 Marlins were fitted with the base 232 cubic inch 6-cylinder engine in 1965, and less than 6% of Marlin production were equipped with the twin-stick transmission, so this must be a pretty rare car at this point, especially as original as this car is. I’d spend some effort detailing under the hood, reinstall the gas tank that the seller has pulled for cleaning and get the air conditioning working. Then I’d totally enjoy the heck out of this neat car! Anyone else want to do that?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1958-76 Lambretta Any This is a motor scooter all metal Contact

WANTED 1988-1994 Toyota Pickup or 4Runner 200,000 miles or less, no rust Contact

WANTED 67-69 Chevrolet Camaro Looking for an affordable Camaro in need of resto. Something with a solid frame and cowl. Thanks. Contact

WANTED 1968-1972 Buick Sklyark, etc. Looking for a grandma/grandpa 1968-1972 2 door Buick Skylark/Special/LeSabre, V8, original. (No GS) Contact

WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car w/ man. trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Or 86 Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Joe

    The twin stick floor shift is very interesting. For those who want to see it in an original AMC training video go to 26:18

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1M51knZA9g

    There is also an interesting “shift command automatic” auto/ manual trans option after the twin stick description.

  2. Alan (Michigan)

    You know what?
    Hell Yes. Look at what you can get for $8K, compared to headaches and heartaches and burning money like it was just plain paper.
    I’ll admit that this car would not stir the soul of most who are intent on a “muscle car” from the same era. But the cool and unusual factor are undeniable.
    Having owned an early 80’s FWD import with a Twin Stick (8 speeds, + 2 in reverse), that feature here probably adds a bit to the cachet for me.
    Whoever buys this and keeps it nice will have years of easy, stress-free enjoyment.
    Compare that to pretty much any of the project cars that could otherwise be considered. The Marlin wins.

    Like 2
    • sdwarf36

      Yea-I wouldn’t admit to owning a Dodge Colt by name either….

      Like 1
      • Alan (Michigan)

        1983 Plymouth Colt GTS, actually…
        Won a SCCA Solo National Championship (and 30 events in one year) in that car. No power, but small, light, terrific handling, and that Twin Stick.
        It was GREAT, until the creeping metal oxidation made it much more flexible than a competition car should be. Rust, the ultimate downfall of many fun cars.

  3. Alan (Michigan)

    I went to a Google translator to try and figure out what the sticker on the air cleaner lid means…
    Not much luck I don’t think. What I found for “Tri-Polseu Power” is essentially “Triple Pole Power” or “Three Pole Power” And, that means… what? No clue….

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Alan, I think it’s Tri-Poised power, and all it means is that there are three mounts for the power train!

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Hahaha.
        I figured that Canadian = possible French.
        Can’t see the last letter of the middle word well enough to recognize it as a “D”, and got nowhere using the middle letter “i”… hence “Polseu” Poised works better, but the lettering still looks funny. Age related (not me, the condition of the sticker!) difficulty, I guess.
        Thanks Jamie.
        I still like the car, whether “POLSEU” or “POISED”.
        :-D

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Me too, Alan:-)

  4. Me.Bond

    Event the washer fluid bag looks indecent shape! Very cool car.

  5. boxdin

    Great find and exc bargain.

  6. Jason Houston

    I’m throwing in with you all. I would love to nurse this baby back to factory specs and enjoy the daylights out of it, lazy 6-cylinder and all! Sorry, but I’ve always been attracted to dorky cars, which is why I prefer ’66-’67 Chargers to the later coke bottle versions.

    Large fastbacks were a hard sell in the mid 60’s and never made anyone any money. Rambler’s effort in the ok-let’s-go-to-war-with-Mustang onslaught was a handsome small prototype one-off called the Tarpon, a Marlin-esque show car built on the ’64-’66 American platform.

    But someone started the rumor that large fastbacks – Marlin, Toronado, Charger – would kick Mustang in the shorts. It never happened, but poor Rambler was stuck with a car that should never have been brought to market. Had they moved forward with the Tarpon, history might have been drastically altered, since it was a pretty handsome car, perfectly in line with what came out over the next few years.

    The last Marlin was the nearly-stillborn 1967, which embodied the curvaceous lines of the Ambassador, rather than the boxiness of the Classic. Here is my Marlin, a 1967 in Black over Yuma Tan.

    Like 2
  7. Ed P

    The twin stick alone has me intrigued. I remember the advertising for this feature, But I never understood the purpose. Being able to engage overdrive in second gear would be a great advantage on hills with a three speed trans.

    Like 1
  8. Charles

    Nice old car! This is a good way for an average person to enjoy being part of the car hobby. Unique car, good condition, easy to work on, cheap to fix, and cheap to operate.

    Like 1
  9. MountainMan

    Very cool indeed! I don’t recall ever seeing this twin stick set up before. Interesting to say that least. Sure looks like a lot of fun for $8k. Not he fastest thing on the road but will draw a curious crowd faster than most cars that cost 3-4 times as much

    Like 1
  10. van

    How can you show off that shifter
    Giant sign at caffeine and octane
    And I thought the duel gate was cool
    Still learning after all these years

  11. JW

    Being around when these cars were new but not driving yet I had never seen the twin shifter before but I knew very few people that bought Ramblers. I had a Marlin parked next to our Mach1 at a local cruise night and was inspired by it’s sleek styling but never gave a thought to inspect the interior for a option such as this. Cool car indeed.

    Like 1
  12. Pfk1106

    Growing up, I had a neighbor that bought one of these, I always thought it was a good looking car especially from the back.

    Like 1
  13. rcplumley

    i had a 65 rambler classic 770 2 dr. h/t with the twin stick and a 327..i loved it, and sure surprised a lot of folks with its power and hiway speed.. wish i still had that ole car that i sold for 150.00 in 74…

    Like 1
  14. Rich

    That’s an excellent deal for the money!

    Like 1
  15. Blindmarc

    A friend in the 70’s had a rambler wagon with twin sticks in it. But I could swear he had a third petal too. This probably the cleanest Marlin I’ve ever seen.

  16. Alan (Michigan )

    This does have the three pedals found in manual transmission cars. Just look down behind the steering wheel in that photo.
    I am curious about the shift pattern for the three speed, because the appearance in the console certainly looks like it might work in a straight line instead of the normal H pattern.
    The overdrive stick on the right would be just forward and back, I would think.

  17. Paul R.

    I think Dodge borrowed from this car for the early Charger design.
    It’s a very cool car!

    Like 1
  18. Len

    This is such a cool car. If I had a place to keep it inside and knew I wouldnt end up in divorce court, I would be bidding on this. Not many cars catch my eye but there is just something about this that I like. A good thourough detailing inside outside and under and local car show circuit here I come. maybe some classy chrome wheels but I like it just as it is. WOW! I think I may go check my savings account…

    • Ross

      Len, Regarding divorce court; the Marlin looks to have plenty of room for your mattress should you need alternate sleeping arrangements after your new acquisition;)

  19. Scotty G

    What a great find! I would take an AMC Marlin over a similarly-styled Dodge Charger any day of the week and twice on Sunday (wait, nobody says that anymore, sorry).. The color is perfect, and no rust? That’s quite a bonus, as is the asking price. She’s a beauty and a nice project for anyone who doesn’t want something that everyone else has.

    This is a dumb question, but how hard is it to import a car into the US from Canada? I know that a lot of sellers say that it’s simple and cheap, but it would seem that there could be some hangups or hiccups at the border if you hit it on a bad day.. like I did three years ago on my way into Canada..

    Like 1
    • Dave Wright

      Importation is clean and simple if a couple of conditions exist. If it is over 25 years old or made in the US. Also if it was made with US specifications. Figure a few hundred dollars with a customs broker and possibly some import duty. It is done thousands of times a day. A modern non US specification car…….all bets are off, it can get crazy then.

  20. DENIS

    I had a ’64 Rambler 2 dr ht new…287 V-8 with the twin-stick…fairly quick too. I sold it and bought a new ’65 2 dr ht..327 4bbl with 3 spd. I like this car..twin stick was no real advantage, just novelty. This 6 cyl is about bulletproof..seems like a decent buy for the condition and I expect it may grow in value at some point but there’s a lotta fun driving here in the meantime.

  21. DENIS

    P.S. The twin-stick was the traditional 3 speed gate on the left shifter..right handle merely operated the overdrive cable..according to my foggy memory and hundreds of cars in between..

  22. Dave Wright

    My dad was an auto shop owner and a huge Chrysler fan. With few exceptions, we always drove big Chryslers for cars. When I was maby 15 years old we had some friends that liked Ramblers, dad had worked on them and found them interesting. The friend kept touting the wonderful fuel economy…….he could drive clear to (Seattle) or somewhere on one tank of fuel. So, dad saw what looked like a good deal on a fancy little blue and white 64 sedan…….really pretty little car that was probably 2 years old. Well, the folks drove it and could never get the fuel economy that they thought they should be able to…………as it turned out, the Rambler had a huge fuel tank. It actually got less fuel economy than the big nice riding Chryslers we always had did……that was the last Rambler we ever owned.

    Like 1
    • David G

      If he was a big Chrysler fan who also owned a Shop, did your Dad (or his crew) encounter Chrysler’s tapered rear Brake Drums alot? Do you remember any of his tricks for getting those tight bas***ds off of their Axles perchance?
      I work on them today and that part of a Brake Job isn’t much fun, and i’ve even got the beefy Puller necessary for the job…

      • Dave Wright

        We lost my dad last fall or I would ask him. I imagine that it was different then because everything was new, not rusted and swollen like an old car might be now bu sitting. They did make use of a rosebud acettaoine torch when nessisary. My brother owns the shop, he might grabs a better idea. He restored a 300 J a few years ago.

      • Tony, Australia

        David G, crack the rear drum axle nut about 2-3 turns and drive the car around a parking lot a couple of times, should be enough to crack the drum tapers. I made a puller that bolts to the wheel lugs, pour on the pressure to the center bolt, (about 250 psi) and one good hit with a sledge hammer on the puller bolt head usually does the trick, make sure the axle nut is still on or the drum may fly off. If you use a 3 legged puller on the drum you’ll destroy it.

  23. Braktrcr

    Have always liked these. We had a brand new 65 Marlin. Red with white trim, bucket seats, console automatic , and it had the 327 engine. Was a great car and had tons of power. The uneducated said it was a Chevy 327, of course it wasn’t. The only similarity was the cubic inches.
    In 1968, a tail light bulb went out. Dad told Mom, we should go to the dealer to get a new bulb. Mom was mad, she knew exactly what Dad was up to. We came home with a new Javelin, 343, buckets, console. As much as I like the Marlin, the Javelin was much more advanced, in so many ways. The Marlin was “Rambler” the Javelin was AMC. Yes, same company, new name, new image, the 343 engine was a new engine. The 287/327 was the old, and the 290, 343, and 390 was the new.
    Again, I would love to own this Marlin at 8k, but if a Javelin was parked next to it, I would likely gravitate to the Javelin

  24. Leland

    I owned a ’66 Marlin; red with black vinyl roof, Rambler 327 auto. Loved that car and would buy this one in an instant, if I had the money. Had a cop stop me once just so he could look at the car.

  25. AMC STEVE

    Nice example of a Marlin. You don’t see many with A/C and in this condition. Looks like it has been well taken care of for the most part.
    Marlins are a aquired taste.

    Like 1
  26. Howard A Member

    Always liked the Marlin too, although, never actually rode or drove one, but I’m sure it’s on par with the other mid-60’s Rambler’s I drove. One of the biggest downfalls of the Marlin, I read, was it wasn’t a hatchback. The twin stick was kind of a corny feature, and the all the right stick did was engage an overdrive unit. That could also be accomplished by pressing the button on top of the left shifter. When we were kid’s a neighbor kid’s dad worked at AMC in Milw. and when the Marlin came out, we teased the heck out of that kid, the Marlin looked ridiculous, we laughed. We were just kids, but look where that design went, every car maker had a fastback. The twin stick was cool, but Olds upped the ante with “Lightning Rods”, yup, 3 shifters.
    http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/lightning_rods.jpg

    • Scotty G

      Ha, cool! Is that like on Spinal Tap where their amps go to #11 because “it’s one louder”? The Olds has to be one faster..

    • Joe

      Howard A, never knew “lightning rods” existed — found this video of them in action.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZmGZnmvSCM

  27. John

    You guys must be too young to know why Ramblers were great cars in the 60s.

    Fold down seats!

    First American car manufacturer to offer them to the mass market.

    It was the perfect storm. Fashion gave us the mini-skirt and Rambler gave us a car to understand their advantage. No more having to wonder how to arrange a subtle retreat to the rear seat. Great cars, those Ramblers.

    Oh, to be young again.

    Like 1
    • Dave Wright

      Chrysler had fold down seats in the 40’s…….they made full size beds!!!

      Like 1
    • Andy

      They used to call them “Nash seats.” They were a holdover from one of AMC’s predecessor brands, and Nash made a big deal of them in their time.

    • Tony, Australia

      John, you’re just a ‘dirty old man’ with an eye for ‘beauty’, but just happened to be ‘looking’,(leering), in the wrong place, shame on you!

      Like 1
      • EdP

        Lol

  28. Jacob

    I swear I’ve seen this one posted on CL and ebay several months ago.

  29. alabee

    I liked the styling with the Ambassador stacked headlights. Best color.

  30. Joe Gotts

    Kewl car and well worth the money.

    Like 1
  31. Keith

    Always liked the Marlin even though so many people dog the debatable style. And the only thing that’s more fun than having 2 shifters is having 3 in my Hurst Olds ;)

  32. jim s

    sold for $ 7900.

    Like 1
    • Alan (Michigan )

      And a happy buyer is nearly guaranteed.

  33. Denis Flaherty

    I had a twin-stick ’64 2 dr ht brand new…black/red buckets/287….loved it..

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.