A Rare Fish: 1965 Rambler Marlin

I was ten when I first saw a new Mustang 2+2 up close and personal. It was Poppy Red and that fastback styling stopped me in my tracks. About a year later, I saw my first Marlin. It was a bit of a head scratcher with the stodgy front-end styling of a Rambler Classic, but its elongated fastback, clever two-toned paint scheme, cool rear end treatment, and stylish Marlin script and logo appealed to me for some reason. It still does. Here’s a 1965 Rambler Marlin in a faded two-toned Seaside Light Aqua and Marina Medium Aqua (gotta love those water-themed paint names) that looks like a solid survivor ready for restoration. Although not a lot of the car’s history is given, I’ll agree with the seller that it is “not a rot box,” and looks to be in good shape for a 56-year-old car. Located in Durham, New York, this 1 of 10,327 first-year Marlins is available here on eBay with a BIN price of $7,800. Thanks to Russ Dixon for hooking us up with this great catch.

I’m not sure where this Marlin’s been stored or for how long, but it could use a good cleaning. It will need repainting, but the body looks straight, appears to have good glass, has the original wheel covers, and all of the trim pieces are there. The seller claims the floors and rails are very solid and shows a photo of the inside of the trunk, but no photos of the underside of this “65 FISH” (as the license plate reads) are provided.

Since Marlins were positioned as more of a personal luxury car than a performance car, this Marlin came with factory AC, power steering and brakes, an automatic transmission with a floor console shifter, and a much fancier and roomier interior than a Mustang 2+2. Like the exterior, the once sharp-looking black and white interior could stand a good cleaning. The white seats are discolored, but look original and good for their age and no issues are apparent with the steering wheel, but the door panels and carpet need attention. The black dash pad has a noticeable crack and an aftermarket tach has been added to the steering column along with another gauge under the dash.

Beneath the turquoise hood rests the most popular engine option of ’65 Marlins: the 327-cubic-inch, 4-bbl V8 that cranked out 270 horsepower. The seller states that the car runs “absolutely perfect,” and shares that the motor and transmission were rebuilt in 2004, but the car has been sitting and not even driven 50 miles. Since purchasing the car, the seller has added a Holley Sniper fuel injection system, a one-wire power master alternator, replaced the brake caliper pads and hoses, fuel lines, the radiator, trunnion seal, added new tires, and had the windshield motor rebuilt. All-in-all, this Marlin looks like a good catch that’s reasonably priced. Hagerty lists a ’65 Marlin in #4 condition at $8,000; $200 below the listed BIN price; #1 Marlins can fetch around $23,000. You didn’t see many Marlins on the street when they were new. You see even fewer today at car shows and auctions. Are you interested in reeling in this rather rare fish?



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  1. Moparman Member

    (IMO) The internal politics that dictated that the larger, “humpback whale” styling of the Marlin contributed to its slightly off looks. This looks to be a very good candidate for a restoration and should make the next owner happy! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 9
  2. Abdiel

    Wow man great car I hope the next owner will take care of this rare car

    Like 9
  3. doone

    A/C compressor still hooked up, probably still very cold.

    Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    To add a bit to the story, the Marlin was production version of the concept car Tarpon. Same fastback but the American front end. It, like all these early fastbacks had limited appeal. Even us staunch Rambler followers thought it was a corny design. If they only had a hatchback, which btw, AMC pioneered with the Hornet Sportabout couple years later. It’s a super find, I just don’t know about the appeal even today. It’s got everything one would want in a classic car and you’ll garner a heap of attention wherever you go.

    Like 8
    • Ron Denny Ron Denny Staff

      Thanks for the history. You can find several photos of the red and black Tarpon show car online. Interesting to see that fastback design on the smaller Rambler American and the Tarpon even had a script and “fish” logo similar to the Marlin.

      Like 5
      • Howard A Member

        You bet, Ron. Growing up in Milwaukee has made me a self appointed Rambler/AMC expert, of sorts. They were all around me, and I may be a bit loyal, but we thought Ramblers were just the best cars made,,,AMC not so much,,,any queations about future Ramblers, there’s a couple of us, ( you know who you are) and always glad to help.

  5. Tomw

    Bought a 65, white over black in similar condition 25 years ago. Cleaned up and took to auto shows, very few people knew what it was. Had a lot of fun and actually sold it for a slight profit five years.
    Mine had the 327, not a hot rod, but a great cruiser.

    Like 2
  6. douglas hunt

    Spent quite a few summers from 10 years old and up riding in one of these with my grandparents to the old country store
    They lived on a farm and my parents shuffled us three boys off in the summers for a couple weeks or more

    Like 1
    • Brent

      I had an uncle that had one but I don’t recall the year. It had the same main body “fish named” color but the second accent color was silver (though my minds eye remembers it as stainless steel…was that an option? It’s hell getting older!

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Brent, the ’65 &’66 Marlins were like this,the only change was ’66 it was called the AMC Marlin. ’67 had a different front end with the “new” stacked headlights. Rambler was too cheap to use stainless steel, but the “coves” were usually painted silver. Rambler had some of the nicest color combinations.

      • douglas hunt

        my grandfathers was a light brown / white combo

  7. Gerard Frederick

    It´s a great american beauty. Good luck to the buyer — ENJOY a great ride!

    Like 5
  8. Gary Raymond Member

    When I was a kid, the popular (B.S.) rumor floating around at the time, was ‘Dodge copied the styling for their 66 Charger’ or ‘Dodge bought the design from Rambler’. Neat car, GLWTS!

    Like 4
  9. George Kushner

    Man! If I weren’t 1,000 miles away I’d be looking to see this car in person, with a pocket full of cash.

    Like 1
    • Anthony D

      Me too!

  10. Don Leblanc

    I fondly remember getting a guided tour at an American Motors plant in Brampton, Ontario when I was 9 (with my Dad) . I got to watch a baby blue Marlin come to life right in front of me, being assembled on the line pretty much by hand, back in those days they had little mechanical assistance.
    Seeing these cars always reminds me of that tour. I hope to own one
    some day.

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