Marvelous Find! 1965 Rambler Marlin

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I knew about the Plymouth Barracuda before I knew about AMC’s Rambler Marlin. As a matter of fact, the first time I encountered a Marlin, I thought it was a Plymouth too, why not? I just assumed Plymouth had a thing for fish. And the Marlin also reminded me of a ’66 Dodge Charger so that, to me, was more evidence that the Marlin was a Mopar of some sort. And of course, we know that’s not really the case. A close up of a Marlin’s front end is pure AMC Rambler. And here’s a great example for review, a ’65 Rambler Marlin, located in Umatilla, Oregon and available here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks to local_sheriff for this tip!

The Marlin was an AMC intermediate-sized car that was produced between 1965 and 1967. In its initial year, it was referred to as the Rambler Marlin. In ’66 it lost the Rambler part of the name and just went with the Marlin moniker which was reinforced as the AMC Marlin. That I.D. continued through its final year, 1967.  Whatever the name, it was AMC’s entry into the sporty car market channeling a Kenosha version of the Plymouth Barracuda and the nascent Dodge Charger. And its styling was notable, you knew one when you saw one!

This 1965 example comes, unfortunately, with no description. While the styling could be considered polarizing, this Marlin is in beautiful condition and shows really well. The sharp two-tone blue and white finish is offset with what appears to be American Torque-Thrust style wheels, a perfect complement. No word on the originality of the paint but it is still deep and fade-free. The body panels align well and there is no evidence of dents, collision damage or rust. The two-tone finish arrangement requires a lot of stainless steel trim to delineate between the two different colors and all of that stainless trim still has a bright finish.

Under the hood is a bit of a mystery. All the listing states is that there is a V8 engine present. That being the case it is either a 287 or a 327 CI engine as those were the two V8’s offered in ’65. The horsepower would be either 198 or 270 HP depending on the engine. Perhaps one of our Barn Finds readers with AMC engine familiarity can shed some more light on the engine’s particulars. Gear changing is conducted via a three-speed manual transmission, with overdrive and invoked via a floor shift. No word on how any of this AMC mechanical prowess conducts itself. The seller lists the mileage of this Rambler at 84K miles so assuming normal maintenance and a lack of abuse, this Marlin should still swim well.

The interior in this AMC is fantastically clean. The upholstery is a rolled white vinyl material that looks to have experienced very little use. There is a lot of stainless and chrome-plated trim that really enhances the interior’s purposeful appearance. The white material is nicely offset with contrasting black carpet and trim. The instrument panel, what can be viewed, looks a little worn but very typical for this car’s age and era. I’d say the interior needs nothing.

Barracudas and Chargers of this era are still commonly found and they do have a strong following, no doubt. But here’s a chance to march to the beat of a different drummer with this seldomly seen Rambler Marlin. It’s really a shame that the seller was not been more forthcoming with details about this great AMC find – it’s in such good shape a little back story would be helpful with the sale. Figuring out what to do with this Marlin is easy, buy it, drive it and enjoy it, wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    This design is polarizing? Yeah, smart people like it and dumb people don’t. There, I’ve said it.

    Like 55
    • JeffD.

      If you want one of these, this is the best one to buy. Parts are pretty hard to find for them outside if the usual mechanical stuff. You need trim and you could search long. They are orphans, you don’t just buy them, you adopt them, so it pays to step up and but the best example. I worked on one many years ago and they are decent drivers with the usual 1960’s limitations. Nice find.

      Like 26
      • Steve R


        If it holds up to an in person inspection it’s a relative bargain compared to other mid-60’s 2 door mid-sized American cars. As for condition, it’s easy to forget that in the long run it’s generally far cheaper to buy the best car you can afford than a project needing significant work. Especially for mid-level collector cars like this.

        Steve R

        Like 10
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Got Scotty G. written all over it. Throw them a number, S.G.!( listen to me, spending his money) This the nicest one yet. Got the famous “twin stick”,( just a fancy O/D switch, but it worked), and from the images I brought up, I think it’s a 287. It seems the 327 had a different air cleaner. Regardless, horse a piece, and what a great car to remember the #4 automaker by. Being CL, ulike, ebay, we don’t know how many folks are looking at it, but being there 2 weeks, people clearly aren’t jumping over one another to get it. Such neat cars lately, the X-100 Merc, this, and seemingly, not a lot of interest. I’d bet, the most appreciating Rambler for the future. Can’t you just hear it? “What’s a Rambler? and what was a Rambler Marlin?” It’s where I’d plop my money. Beautiful car here, if it only had a hatchback, which with the Sportabout, wasn’t too far away.

    Like 15
  3. dave brennan

    what a beaut!! 1500 miles closer, i”d be all over it. wd look gr8 next to my 66 Tbird

    Like 7
  4. Fahrvergnugen FarhvergnugenMember

    always thought the 67 had a cleaner, crisper front end, but if it were my munnah, this wouldn’t be a catch and release…

    Like 6
    • Vince H

      The 67 was on the Ambassador frame.

      Like 0
  5. F Again

    That staid, responsible front-end design coupled with the way-out remainder of the vehicle- the Marlin really is the vehicle version of the Mullet- plus a mullet, like a marlin, is a fish.
    Cripes, AMC, your sense of humor was multi-level.

    Like 7
    • AMCFAN

      Originally The Marlin was planned to be built on the Rambler American platform. They used the Rambler Classic instead to compete with the Charger.

      This is a nice example and priced within reason. I like that it is located in a dry area. Should be as nice as it looks.

      Has a/c which is a plus. Most likely a 327. The windshield forward it is a Classic all mechanical parts interchange with it.

      Many AMC/Rambler sites can help with what ever you may need which doesn’t look like much. Good find

      Like 6
      • BRAKTRCR

        Couldn’t compete with the Charger in 65, they first came out in 66 Maybe the Charger was competing with the Marlin

        Like 7

    My Brother had one new in 65, red, with white trunk etc. His had the 327, and the “Flash-o-Matic” Black bucket seats and console. Because of that, I have always liked these. The thing scooted with that 327. It was a nice car.
    I always said it was in response to Plymouth’s fish, the Baracuda, and it used most of the parts Rambler had ie the Classic front end and drive train.
    Hopefully someone grabs this car and treats it right. It’s an interesting time in Rambler/ AMC history

    Like 7
  7. Dave

    “I was goin’ as fast as a Rambler goes
    I could feel the speed from my head to my toes!

    Now I know how Richard Petty feels!”

    Like 3
  8. don

    This looks like a nice deal for the money ! I read somewhere that the roof was orgiinally supposed to be lower to give it a sportier look , but the head of AMC wanted the drivers to be able to wear a hat while driving , so the fastback was raised . There was a similarly styled show car called the Rambler Typhoon , that , in my opinion would have sold better than the Marlin.

    Like 2
    • That AMC Guy

      I believe you’re thinking of the Tarpon, which was a compact fastback prototype based on the Rambler American. The Typhoon was a limited-edition 1964 Classic hardtop that showcased the then-new Rambler 232 cid six-cylinder engine.

      I’ve read various reasons for how the Marlin turned out; that Company president Abernethy wanted a big car for bigger profits, that when the Marlin was designed AMC did not have a V8 fitted to the American, and that the roof was raised in the rear about an inch and a half because Abernethy wanted more headroom for rear seat passengers.

      Marketing for the Marlin was a real gas and not very successful.

      (The dealer sales filmstrip for the Marlin is even funnier, I’ve seen it but can’t locate a current source online.)

      Like 7
  9. stillrunners

    Best year with that front end instead of the later stacked ones….just my opinion.

    This is a nice one and nothing wrong with that motor for crusin’……..

    Like 2
  10. Matt R

    This is a classic. Someone checked the right boxes here.

    Like 5
  11. That AMC guy

    Wish mine looked that good! Mine has the 327 and Flashomatic and has all the rare trim parts but, alas, rust underneath will relegate it to parts car status when it’s time to let it go.

    The Twin-Stick transmission is definitely the hot setup for these. Factory power front discs were standard for 1965, they’re a Bendix 4-piston fixed caliper. Parts are pricey but still available.

    The tough part is the rear drums which are a strange non-servo design which let AMC get away with not having a proportioning valve. Unfortunately it’s very different from standard Bendix drums, parts seem unavailable, and every online parts catalog I’ve seen gets it wrong. Best bet is to change over to standard type Bendix drums and plumb in a proportioning valve, but the design of the rear axle makes removing the backing plates a chore.

    The 287 and 327 look the same from the outside. (I can’t remember if they were painted different colors, though by this time the engine could obviously have been repainted.) If it’s a 4-barrel carb it will be the 327.

    Very nice Marlin, it even has the rare electric wiper option!

    Like 8
  12. Dave

    I first came across a Marlin in a junk yard in PA. 3 of them in fact around 1982. I was with my Dad looking for ’71 cougar parts (my 1st car as a teenager). When I asked him about them with a keen interest in them he said, “This is exactly where they belong.” Inferring they were junk new. Lol. I still like them and would love to have this one but I’m in NJ.

    Like 4
  13. Mark M.

    This cars front nose looks like a grandmothers car, but looking from the rear, looks like a deranged tough look. Looks great, never seen one in Connecticut. Too bad there were 3 in a junkyard, with a 327 with 270hp, probably went well and sounded mean to match its rear look.

    Like 2
  14. Maverick

    Beep do I get this car outtake 2 gear.

    Like 2
  15. CEF

    I grew up Corbin KY in the 80’s. On the NW side of town there was a small field full of these.
    All 3 years 17 cars all together, plus a couple early Barracudas and a few other cars of the era.
    Guy wouldn’t sell cars or parts. Eventually he died and the cars, after sitting till they rotted away from the bottom up, were all hauled away and crushed.
    All 17 were complete cars, most of them running and fairly nice when they were parked. My dad says the 1st one was parked there in 69 or 70.

    Like 6
  16. CEF

    Also if the engine is the original color it’s a 287. The 327’s were red.

    Like 1
  17. hat of pork

    Was the rear deck inspiration for the Chrysler Crossfire?

    Like 2
  18. 433jeff

    Wow looking at the pic of the rear with the stripes and the chrome rear bumper, i saw big meats under the car making it come alive, I hated this and the early charger for years, it may be a trend with me, they are so ugly they are beautiful,

    Like 1
  19. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I love the two tone colours. Very nice. I used to know someone who had a Marlin. One thing, though. Didn’t the 1965 model have vertically placed headlamps? I think 1966 and 67 Marlins had horizontally placed headlamps.

    Like 0
  20. Terry Bowman

    I always liked the looks of a AMC Marlin, just thought they were a little heavy for a Muscle car. A big block would of made a difference. I agree with the above comments. If you are a AMC person, this is the car to buy. It will get the looks and it’s all there. The price is right to sell, just hope it’s not a flipper who buys it. Enjoy it for a few years and pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

    Like 3
  21. Troy s

    Torque thrust D…they really make this car standout don’t they, the best aftermarket wheels ever invented.
    Good looking car although I generally don’t care for the styling here…,anymore or less than the first generation Chargers. The wheels brought me here believe it or not.

    Like 1
  22. Del

    Nice car.

    Seller gives very little details.

    Seems uninterested in selling

    Like 0
  23. Frank Y

    First off let me say I enjoy Barn Finds and everyone’s comments, their stories, and all that goes with it. But what gets me is I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said “ I would buy it but I live in the other coast. Or it’s 6 hours away”. Folks if you like the car, want the car, and can a ford the car, and your wife’s let’s you buy the car. Then distance should not be a issue. That’s why they have companies that ship cars. ( yes you may want to look at it, but sometimes good pictures and videos work also if the seller is straight up) . It’s around $1100 for open transport across country So just figure that in. I know, I have a 73 vette coming from AZ in about 12 days to the East coast.
    I don’t comment much but just had to vent and no offense to anyone.

    Like 14
    • local_sheriff

      I agree 100% with you Frank; at times I’ve been travelling longer than most people posting here would’ve done to pick up a specific vehicle. Either that or having assistance from friends or friends’ friends to complete the deal. Car guys living in Oceania, Asia or Europe buy and ship vehicles from the US, and have been doing that for DECADES! So it shouldn’t be that hard when one’s living in the same country…?!
      It’s no secret that the best survivors are located in the West and considering how many people are living on the rust coast and the local crappy survival conditions for vehicles, there’ll naturally be a shortage of sound examples. Best of luck with your new Vette! 👌

      Like 4
      • FrankY

        Thanks @local _sheriff and I didn’t even have to send you $10. Lol.

        Like 1
  24. Terry Bowman

    Frank, there different types of buyers, the keepers and the flippers. You are correct at what you say, if you are a keeper. Years ago I bought parts from all over the country, for a car that I always wanted and paid more to restore it than it was worth (to the average person), but I still have and still enjoy it. It was well worth the costs and the fruits of my labor for two years. Enjoy your 73’corvette and don’t let anyone tell you, would of, could of, or should of.

    Like 4
  25. Javelinman

    The Marlin launched in 1965, the Charger in 1966, so no competition there. The AMC first generation V-8s did not fit in the engine bay of the Tarpon and was abandoned for this reason. Abernathy did like big cars so likely not unhappy with the turn of events.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell

      While that is technically true, I referred to the NASCENT Dodge Charger. Take a look at this accompanying image, it’s a 1964 Dodge Charger prototype. The competition knew what was coming.

      Like 2
  26. Frank y

    And @Terry Bowman your pride and joy
    ( besides your wife and kids. Lol) I am sure was worth going all over for and great pride putting her together. Glad you still have her Priceless!!

    Like 0
  27. Roseland Pete

    Unlike today, this car is from the time when you didn’t have to look at a car’s badge to see who made it.

    Like 5
  28. z28th1s

    Nice car for the money and should be fun to drive with the stick and overdrive. You would also have the only one at the crusie-in or cars and coffee.

    The wheels appear to be Jegs brand wheels that look similar to Torque Thrusts.

    Like 1
  29. Bob McK

    I have not seen one of these for years. It is really much more attractive than I remember. Someone is getting a very special and rare car. Good luck!

    Like 0
  30. Jim Benjaminson

    I have a ’66 Marlin, matching color of the ’65 shown here. The 327 engine is painted red – so this is a 287 car. I could never understand why AMC shot themselves in the foot – special body, wild styling and then stick that plain-Jane front end from the Classic on the car. Ruined the whole concept. Production of the ’65 was in the 10,000 range – my ’66 is one of 4,547

    Like 2
  31. Tirefriar

    Very cool car. Would make a super nice cruiser…but are there any cruising spots left in San Fernando Valley?? Thought something was happening on Van Nuys Blvd but nah…

    I am a bit confused ~ is that a sequential shifting manual transmission? I do see 3 pedals and what appears to be an auto trans shifter on the left.

    Like 0
  32. Mr.T

    Not often you see an AMC with the Twin Stick overdrive transmission. A rare bird I would think.

    Like 0
  33. Charles D Woosley

    I live 8 miles from this car, it’s very clean. I’ve seen it running and heard it running. The sound it makes while running, it’s great. The first time I got to talk to the owner was when he took the car out for a ride just to warm it up for the day. I was working at Napa in Boardman Oregon, which is West of Umatilla by 17 miles when I went outside to take a break, there this car sat. That was back in 2015. A very nice vehicle, like I said, very clean. I live in Irrigon Oregon, thats about halfway between Umatilla and Boardman going west. I got to open the passengers door while the owner was getting in behind the wheel, both doors shut just like the car just came from the dealership the day it was new. When I saw this car 5 years ago, it was a 8 1/2 on a scale from 1 to 10 and 10 would be the best. The elderly man that owned this car when I saw it in 2015, he had taken care of this car to a close tee, nothing was wrong with it in any way. The day I seen it, he was just out warming it up and putting a few miles on it, just like you would do to a old nice looking vehicle like this one is. Who ever buys this car is going to have alot of people coming up to talk to them about the car just like I did. I’m a auto tech myself, I’m restoring a 1964 triumph Herald 1200 convertible, not as great as this Marlin is looking wise. This car is well worth buying.

    Like 4
  34. Daniel H.

    Hey Marlin Lovers;

    Great news! This beauty is now in my driveway in Mesa, AZ. She runs great. Yes, I flew up during the Pandemic epicenter to view and then bless this rare find. Yes, I paid to have it shipped all the way down to AZ but it could have driven down under her own power. Power steering and brakes function well. I’m going to give her a thorough run through. So far, no rust anywhere. The body is straight but some waves on the driver’s side that bear investigating. The interior is in good shape. She’s second in line for a full-body resto behind a 68 Corvette Stingray Custom. I have a fresh set of pics if you’re interested. Jim feel free to reach out in 6 months to see the progress made. She’s gonna leave some mouths gaping open when we go to the shows. #scoremarlin

    Like 3

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