Drive or Restore: 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990-H

Believe it or not, the 1965 Rambler Ambassador had the same platform as the 1963 to 1964 models. But with fresh styling on the front and rear plus a stretched wheelbase, they looked like completely new cars. Stacked headlights on the front helped with that look. Here is a 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990-H 2 door hardtop for sale here on Craigslist in Eatonville, Washington. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Miguel for finding this car and bringing to our attention.

It appears this car has been kept covered, but rather than in a garage or barn, it has been covered with a portable enclosed car cover. All trim is there, and as the seller points out, that is a good thing considering how hard it can become to find those pieces on a car that is 54 years old. The two-tone paint is not perfect, but there seem to be no dents, rust, or body issues anywhere. There’s a slight dent on the left side of the grille where it protrudes forward.

The 990-H, of which there were 6,382 made, featured a bucket seat interior with a center console. It appears it will need some new carpeting, seat cleaning, and a new dash cover. The front seats fully recline and feature a center armrest. Power steering and power brakes will make driving this large vehicle easier.

There is no picture of the engine but it runs well. It is a 327 cubic inch, 4 barrel carburetor that when new was designed to run on premium fuel. The engine is mated with a Shift-Command Flash-O-Matic that allowed you to manually shift or let it shift automatically. This Ambassador has new rear shocks, torque tube and trunnion seals, valve cover seals, plugs, wires, points, brakes, and Yokohama tires. Mileage is not stated. The seller is asking $3,500. Is there an American Motors fan out there that’s been looking for an Ambassador? This could be the one.

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  1. Howard A Member

    Growing up in Milwaukee, you bet I’m a Rambler fan. According to us, they were the best cars made. My grandfather had Ramblers exclusively, and his last car was an Ambassador similar to this, only a 4 door, and same color. Didn’t have a console, but it was the nicest car he ever had. Am I looking for one? Not really, but for a brief time, this was the best that came out of Milwaukenosha, and we were proud of it.

  2. John M.

    The seller had much work done to the car and the asking price makes it a very affordable way for the next owner to bust into the collector car hobby.

    My verdict,

    I LIKE IT!

  3. Novaman

    If only closer!

  4. dweezilaz

    Love this.

    Favorite year of Ambassador followed by the 67.

    Upholstery, unlike what the ad says is not original

    • ken tilly

      Sure looks like the original upholstery to me.

    • That AMC Guy

      I don’t remember ever seeing Ramblers with seats looking quite like that, so I believe you’re right about the upholstery. You can just about see a little of the back seat which looks like it’s original.

      Wonder if by “torque tube seals” they mean the big rubber cushion where the torque tube bolts up to the transmission? That cushion deteriorates over time and can be further damaged by a leaky trans seal. When this part goes bad the rear axle will actually flop around since it won’t be held firmly in place. There is a company reproducing this part.

      Another issue with the torque tube drive on these is V8 models use a constant-velocity joint for which parts are not available. When worn out, the fix is to have a custom driveshaft made up to use a single standard U-joint. This is what six-cylinder models came with.

  5. Miguel

    Here is the back seat of a similar ’68 Ambassador made in Mexico.

    Did they have this interior in the US?

  6. Rex Kahrs Member

    Finally, a seller with a realistic price. As I peruse classic cars on a daily basis, the prices would indicate that, contrary to popular opinion, there aren’t any new buyers.

    Everyone keeps talking about how the old guard classic car guys are aging out of the hobby, and the whippersnappers aren’t interested in old cars. Both assumptions seem perfectly logical, especially the former. SO, how come there isn’t a flood of cars on the market driving the price down?

    Maybe the vehicles ARE flooding the market, and those are the outrageously priced cars you see being offered by classic car dealers. One dealer’s website I looked at recently had probably 100 or more T-bucket/deuce coupe cars for sale, all at very firm prices. So when do market forces bring prices down? Discuss.

    • Fiete T.

      I think they started deflating in summer of ’18. People will say,” Nah, you’re all wrong- didn’t you just see a such-n-such sold for at Barrett-Jackson?”
      Yeah, like that’s”Real world.”

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Well, I’m not talking about Mecum or BJ, or even EBAY…those are auctions which by definition just drive prices up by whipping up emotions. No, I’m just talking about prices on the classified ads (CL, that is).

        I guess it is those same aging guys trying to sell off their favorite old car, but setting the price based on emotion. And now I see that the whole car hobby wouldn’t exist without emotion! And this is why the whippersnappers have no interest in old cars…there is no emotional connection. And thus a ’90 Ford Taurus or Chevy Corsica may be the next hot classic! Did anybody save those?

    • That AMC Guy

      The problem with selling something like this at a reasonable price is the flipper phenomenon – you’ll likely see the same car being offered off the back of a trailer, with no work having been done on it, at twice the price. Unfortunately the days of giving a fellow car nut a great deal seem to be over unless you personally know the person buying. At this point probably an auction is the best bet to find the fair market value.

      Not sure what’s going to happen to pricing as us old guys who remember these cars fade away. Not many 20-somethings are interested even in the Big 3’s older offerings, let alone Ramblers, Studebakers, Packards, Nashes, Hudsons, and other cars they’ve probably never heard of. Some are genuinely terrified at the very idea of getting into a car that has no air bags, ABS, etc. So prices are bound to drop at some point.

    • Howard A Member

      I understand where you are coming from, and make all valid points, except,,,things aren’t quite as bleak,,yet. There are still plenty of 50 plus people that still hold these cars dear, and by watching these winter auctions, it’s clear, it’s the older folks that are buying the older cars, and obviously, have quarry full of money, so the market is still there. In 10 or 15 years, there will be a sharp downturn in these types of cars value, because the people buying them today, will be buying kidneys and wheelchairs, or gone altogether. Too bad us 60 something year olds now, will probably never see the bottom fall out, but rest assured, it will, especially for ’65 Ramblers.CL is JAMMED with classic cars today, all trying to cash in on the classic car frenzy, and can’t blame them. Now’s the time to unload before the bottom does fall out.

  7. Pete

    My grandfather was an AMC enthusiast. He had a car very similar to this and is the first car I remember. Best story: On a drive on a not very populated highway he remarked “This car runs very nice at 100 mph.” Not recommended of course but true since none of the passengers knew he was going so fast.

  8. Michael Ridley

    the front must have covers as the originals were either all vinyl or had the panty hose type material that snagged very easy. We bought one new and it went 125,000 miles with only a carb rebuild. Four door let the seats down and actually fit flush with the rear giving a full size comfortable bed .Thought the transmission ought to be serviced so I did and it tore up within 150 miles.

  9. Mitch Ross

    The talk above about how younger people are not getting into old cars, is interesting. I notice that in other countries that is less true. I am a member of both AMO in the US, where at 58 I’m one of the whipper snappers at events. I’m also A member of Club Rambler México Since I’m in Mexico for the winter. There I’m one of the old geezers. I’ve noticed this in Europe and Israel as well. Not sure what to make of it.

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