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Insert Drivetrain Here: 1959 AMC Rambler American

040516 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American wagon - 1

1959 was the first year for the two-door American wagon at AMC. This 1959 AMC Rambler American Wagon will need a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it once you’re done. It’s listed on eBay with a one-click Buy It Now price of $2,000 or you can make an offer. The car is in Chaparral, New Mexico so you’ll have some rodent “stuff” to clean up before you can get started.

040516 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American wagon - 2

She looks pretty good, no? I love these slightly awkward, slightly ungainly, slightly homely, slightly Eastern Bloc-looking cars; and I say that in an affectionate, good way. AMC was interested in economy when they designed the American, they weren’t interested in any fancy designs or any of that nonsense. This car almost looks like the body was designed and then they found out that the chassis was too narrow but there was a deadline so they had to drop it on that narrow chassis anyway and get it out the door. Of course, it wasn’t designed that way, that’s just the way most vehicles looked back then, especially when compared to the wheels-at-the-corners look of today’s vehicles.

040516 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American wagon - 3

For this grille to be almost perfect after almost six decades is great. Just a little massaging and it’ll be like new again. I think I would concentrate on rust repairs and leave the exterior as it, but that’s just me. It almost looks like it’s been sprayed in primer but that may actually be the original paint color after several decades of being outside and having the sun beating down on it. Just think how you’d look after that long sitting outside. Here’s a nice, original example on YouTube. It’s hard to believe that this car probably looked like that a decade or two ago. The rear is also mostly in good shape with just a little work to do.

040516 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American wagon - 4

Here is where you’ll be spending most of your time. The interior, while needing lots of repairs to the missing floors, can be brought back to like new again. These are the most basic of controls and gauges here. There is no 2016 technology-overload, learning-curve needed to operate this car.

040516 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American wagon - 5

And, here is the other spot where you’ll be spending your time. That’s right, there is no engine, but it would have looked like this in there. I’m guessing that this car will end up being a gumball-colored, 22″ chrome-wheel-shod, fire-breathing dragon with a monster V8 and matching-uber-bright candy-colored interior. Although I’m a purist 99.9% of the time, I’d much rather see this car be turned into someone’s dream restomod than to see it be crushed and turned into toasters. How would you restore this car: back to original spec or restomod?


  1. Chris in Nashville

    Just add Hellcat drive train and go!

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  2. Rick

    Looks a lot like a Nomad! Not!

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  3. Vince Habel

    Seller says solid. All I see is rust.

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  4. Howard A Member

    I can all but guarantee this car will turn into a resto-mod. Just because of it’s unusual shape. A favorite of custom car builders. While I’m not a big fan of resto-mods, I don’t see anyone bringing this back to stock. I’ll bet that’s what someone started. Cool find.

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  5. Blyndgesser

    Drop in a Pinto motor and go.

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  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    These would be severely lacking in the power department with the flathead six. If I were inclined to pick up something like this I’d sure be considering upgrading to a larger power plant. I’d try to keep it in the family though.

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  7. Real_Talk

    This car would be an awesome restomod. Any of you remember Ferrambo built by Divers Street Rods (http://www.diversstreetrods.com/ferrambo–the-build.html). They took a wrecked Ferrari 360 and built the ultimate 1960 Rambler. Ah if only I had the money! More pics of Ferrambo http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/01/car_feature_ultimate_misfit_the_ferrambo/

    Like 0
  8. CJay

    Put this on a S10 drivetrain and make it a daily driver!

    Like 0

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