Chevy V8 Swapped: 1964 Rambler Classic 770

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The Classic was the journeyman Rambler model from 1961-66, replacing the former Rebel. The second generation of the Classic ran from 1963-64 and Motor Trend magazine was so impressed by the line that they gave it the “Car of the Year Award” for 1963. I must confess I have a soft spot for the ’64s because of the more subtle styling over the ’63 and that my first car was a ’64 770 wagon. This nice example is in Byron Center, Michigan and is available here on eBay for the Buy It Now price of $4,500.

When you went shopping for the Rambler Classic in 1964, you had three choices of trim. The base one was the 550, the fanciest was the 770 and the 660 was somewhere in the middle. If you really wanted fancy, you got an Ambassador, which was on the same body as the classic, just with more goodies. Out of total AMC production in 1964, the Rambler Classic accounted for 206,000 units or 54 percent overall. They built 14,000 sedans that year of which 9,000+ had a V-8. We assume the seller’s car is one of the latter because it carries a V8 today, although not original.

This 1964 Classic 770 looks like a nice survivor, but it has had one major modification over the years. The engine, which likely was a Rambler 287 cubic inch V-8, has been replaced with a small-block Chevy motor, the venerable 350. The 287 had the distinction of being the first eight cylinder-engine that AMC designed and built. Besides the motor, the transmission has been swapped out with a GM 350 Turbo-Hydramatic. Other mechanical upgrades or repairs include an aluminum radiator with electric fan, brakes lines, and wheel cylinders, master brake cylinder, fuel lines, and front tires. The seller refers to the car having ladder bar rear suspension with coil springs front and rear, but I don’t know if he means these have been refreshed or just stating a fact. The car carries a Jeep wide-track rear differential with a one-piece axle.

The body looks to be in genuinely nice condition and could even be wearing its original paint. The seller says he’s the second owner of the car, so this indicates that it has been well-cared for over the years. There is one small scrape on the rear passenger side door, but the rest including the chrome and glass look good. The single photo of the interior shows what also could be original materials with carpeting mentioned as the only thing needing attention there.

This seller indicates that his Classic runs, drives, and stops, which no adjective like good or well-being used for further description. We’re told it rides nice, so we guess there are no issues after all. The car is said to have 24,000 miles on it, but that seems unlikely given the need to replace the motor and transmission and their level of dirt and grime suggests it wasn’t done recently. If the odometer has turned over, this would be a really nice car for 124,000 miles. The wheel covers don’t look right to me for the year, looking as though they’re from a Rambler of a few years earlier.

If you are not a stickler for originality, then this looks like a nice car for the money. And one that you can drive and take to shows while you work on it to make small improvements. I wouldn’t repaint the car or rework the interior because they’re only original once and this one has managed to survive for 56 years, a testament that Rambler was a good car. I liked my ’64 and wish I still had it.

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Boooo, not my cup of tea, that’s for sure. 1st, there was nothing wrong with the Rambler V8’s, and 2nd, it looks to be replaced with some oily slug 350, what no fire-breather? Clearly, the original motor was bad, and well, just throw the old 350 in, or something. People do the craziest things. Love the car proper, but they ruined it with the 350, sorry, yes, some things should remain dear,,,

    Like 11
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    My Rambler story again……A ’63 Classic was my first car, summer of 1976. It cost $20. I guess in those days a 13-year-old car was ancient. And it did have issues. But still, the fold-down front seats that made a bed out of the thing made that summer of ’76 with Julie one to remember.

    Like 14
    • Robin Baker

      That was my second car! June of ’81, cost $300 at a second hand dealer, and discovered while driving it home that it hadn’t had the brake lines attached properly! Scariest ride (at least up to that point) of my life! But I held on to it for 13 years before the Northridge earthquake ended our love affair, and I’ve been looking for another ever since. Even though it was a little 6 cyl, that car ran through 165K miles with only a single rebuild; They sure don’t make ’em like that anymore.

      Like 0
  3. Blyndgesser

    An engine swap is a big deal on these cars because you have to replace the whole torque tube driveline.

    Like 9
    • brettucks

      Thats what Id like to see. I had a marlin project at one point and that torque tube was the reason it did not get done- my skills were not good enough to swap it to something more conventional.

      I wanted to swap in a ford 300 I-6 with a turbo just for something different- and it would have been a heck of a sleeper.

      Like 5
      • local_sheriff

        Would’ve loved to see that conversion when completed! 👍

        Like 2
    • V8roller

      Yes, it is a major deal. Hence the ladder bar rear.
      These cars with coils all round gave a smooth ride, although my 63 Ambo has no great love for going round corners.
      And the seats were properly upholstered with springs like a piece of furniture, no foam.
      And they had good legroom and luggage space while being just 15’8″ long.
      The spares supply is somewhat iffy, but then it is 56 years old.
      A quality car.

      Like 1
  4. Jeff

    This is a SUPER SLEEPER, it weights less than a 67 Camaro.

    Time to take it out and spank some suckers.

    Like 9
  5. Steve R

    The price is low enough and the car is nice enough that someone will buy it and drive the hell out of it. Pure and simple, it’s a value purchase that was never going to be worth much money, but can be enjoyed.

    Steve R

    Like 11
  6. Stephen Miklos

    After seeing all 7 photos!!(wow 🤦) No interior shots? Or of the drivetrain to see how everything was hooked up? Ok.. a side from that.. yank the 350 out with the trans. Go over the trans beef it up shift kit. Then drop a 383 in it. If headers are a big deal go with factory exhaust manifolds with flo master exhaust. Nice detail job on the Classic and go kick some a**!! Nobody would know!! You could make some nice money here! Just saying. 😃🇺🇸

    Like 2
  7. local_sheriff

    While I normally think vintage cars deserves to be propelled by an engine originating from its own brand,in this instance such a conversion does make sense. Apart from the inner circle of AMC fans it’ll probably have much more general appeal now than with the OE mill. And it’s a well-known fact nothing beats the bang-for-your-bucks that comes with a SBC. Sweet, unusual classic vehicle reborn with a pacemaker 👍

    Like 7
  8. Matt in L.A.

    He should have dropped the Rambler Ambassador’s 327 in it! Smooth as silk and a torque beast!!

    Like 4
    • JoeBob396

      Probably have to beat the bushes pretty hard to find an AMC 327 available.

      Like 2
  9. Dual Jetfire

    I had a 64 with a 287 that I paid $70.00 for at an auction. Put gas down the carb and it fired right up! It got 20 mpg-that’s 29er- mpg and was so fast I had to put a stiffer carb spring on it to keep from speeding. I got pulled one time going 90 and the cop let me go because no old car could go that fast so the speedometer must have been off. Heck, I still had pedal left! I’d have gotten airborne with a 327 4bbl!

    Like 3
  10. Mitchell GildeaMember

    Clean up the engine, throw some performance parts at it, make sure the rest of the driveline is up to snuff, and go muscle car huntin’

    Like 3
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Rambler. This is a car I could drive, provided it’s possible to maintain the classic car on today’s roads.

    Like 1
  12. JoeBob396

    The air cleaner on the SBC looks like one that might have been for an early Z28 type cowl induction. Unusual looking item.

    Like 0
  13. jerry z

    I’m surprised its still listed with a price like that! Too bad the car is 1500 mile from me or I would buy it!

    Like 3
  14. John

    Had a 63 Rambler 660 SW W/6 and 3 on the tree, drove it a year and put an OD init, ah-h-h much better. Had a box that we put on the top and traveled all over W/4 kids in back. Got great milage, slept in it in Florida for a few days.
    Sold it and the metal worms got it.
    Also had a Graymarine AMC 327 in a 20 ft Correct Craft, great engine

    Like 3
  15. KKW

    I see now we’ve resorted to bastardizing innocent little Ramblers with the immortal orange crate. How charming

    Like 4

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