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Big Fastback Fish: 1965 AMC Marlin


Marlins are distinctive due to their huge fastback. I’ve heard from somewhere that the styling was intended for a smaller car, but I have no idea if it’s true or not (do any of you know?) Yes, the roofline can be a bit awkward from some angles, but I think it’s dramatically attractive from others. This one is currently for sale here on eBay with bidding at $1,901 but the reserve has not been met. The big fish is found in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The seller details that the rear end, brakes, wiring and gas tank are all new, although more work is yet to be done. The car is said to run and drive well. Overall, the blue color is attractive and I like the wheels, although I don’t think they are original. Compared to some other fastbacks of the same period, Marlins can be a bargain. Parts are a bit of a challenge compared to some contemporaries, though. I like this one, and I think it would be fun to take to a Cars-n-Coffee and park next to the Mustangs and other fastbacks. Not only would it dwarf them, I’ll bet you’d get more attention!


  1. toledo tom

    It’s true. The design was for a smaller car, but inter-company politics caused it to be “mid-sized”

  2. roger

    A friend of mine does bodywork.He restored one of these a few years back and had to go over 1000 miles to get a parts car for parts he needed.
    He finished restoration which turned out great and he still has parts car behind his shop in the woods

  3. Doug M. (West) Member

    I have always liked these…but more so after seeing them in either all red or red and black. I missed getting a project one quite a while ago that was red on red with red interior, the 327ish motor and a factory 4 speed. I still think that would be one nice show & shine cruiser! But this blue could look pretty nice, too.

  4. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    There was one 1/2 block away from home, had to be about 1968 ? Was black with pink around rear quarter glass. I’m 58 & can still see it today.

  5. Joe Rocchi

    Dick Teague was the designer from American Motors and, I believe, the proportions were meant for the smaller American platform. There are pictures around of the original mockup and the car is very cool looking. Dick Teague fought for it to stay on its intended platform by the powers that be in AMC decided to enlarge the car. It probably would have been a huge success in it original configuration but instead only sold in fewer numbers.

  6. Ed P

    I believe the Marlin failed for the same reason the Barracuda was not a big success. The first Gen Barracuda’s looked like a Valiant with a fastback grafted on. The Marlins always looked like an AMC sedan trying to look sporty. The Javelin was a much better styled product.

  7. swm

    There was a smaller version of this based on the Rambler American called the Tarpon.

  8. kenzo

    There is one of these by where I work with a a guy in his early 20’s driving it. They were interesting. Just ‘googled’ the Tarpon. AMC should have built it. Great looking car.
    As a side question. When did the automakers stop production of hardtops? both 2 and 4 door. Been trying to think of the last ones built.
    Can anybody help?

  9. Dolphin Member

    Fastback coupes seemed to explode on the US market around the mid-’60s….fastback Mustang, Barracuda, Marlin. The influence was probably the early-’60s Ferrari 250 GTE coupe and the Jag E-Type, which got a lot of attention in the US even if the numbers were small.

    To my eye the Marlin isn’t the most graceful, but you have to give Dick Teague credit. He was a great designer, but sometimes great designers had to fight with their bosses for good design…and lost.

    I really like to find scarce and unusual cars like these at show ‘n shines. They are a pleasant surprise in a sea of great and some not so great cars. Whether you would ever buy one or not, they get your attention.

  10. Jubjub

    I always thought these were kinda neat in an odd and obscure kind of way. The ’67 with the longer hood and vertical lamps was the best looking.

    Seems ’76 were GM’s last hardtops on full size lines, Chrysler C bodies in ’78 and Ford in ’79 on the LTD II.

  11. Mark E

    If you ever saw one of these you’d forget the plain-jane Rambler front end and fondly recall the dramatic Marlin rear view!

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