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Moving Upscale: 1966 AMC Ambassador DPL

The Ambassador was American Motors’ top-of-the-line automobile from 1957 through 1974. This was in the aftermath of the merger between Nash and Hudson. While AMC had focused on economy cars in the 1950s and early 1960s, their focus changed to more mainstream autos in the late 1960s to better compete against GM, Ford, and Chrysler. This 1966 Ambassador DPL (for Diplomat) may be original, although we suspect the paint is newer. The car is in excellent condition and looks as though it could go anywhere and effortlessly. Located near Tacoma, Washington, this “Rambler” is available here on craigslist for $16,500. Our thanks to MattR for the cool tip!

In the redesign of 1963-64, the Classic and the Ambassador shared the same bodies with the latter largely being a trim update on the former. But for 1965-66, the Ambassador would enjoy a 4-inch longer wheelbase (for a better ride, but not more passenger room) and distinctive front-end styling with stacked headlights rather than horizontal. AMC president Roy Abernathy’s plan to move AMC more upstairs may have been working as Ambassador sales increased from just 18,600 copies in 1964 to 71,000 in 1966 (though the Classic’s numbers remained stagnant). And in the process, the name Rambler was dropped from the car, becoming the Ambassador by AMC.

Besides the 880 and 990 series of Ambassadors, the DPL was added in 1966, a formal 2-door hardtop that was AMC’s cream-of-the-crop. The seller’s DPL has AMC’s then-biggest motor, a 327 cubic inch V8, which we’re told is numbers-matching at 125,000 miles. No mention is made as to whether this engine has been rebuilt but considering that the engine compartment is flush with the same red paint as the rest of the car, we’re thinking that’s quite possible. Most Ambassadors were built with automatic transmissions.

The body and paint look nearly perfect, but it looks as though the front bumper sustained a minor impact that didn’t hurt much, but just put things askew by just a little. Not enough to worry about unless perfection is your goal. The houndstooth interior is immaculate and has nearly matching pillows in the back seat, which looks like a loveseat in your den. We’re told it’s a great running auto with a new dual exhaust system. This well-preserved machine should turn heads on its way home to your garage.

Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Wow, what a beauty, it’s no wonder it’s gone already. More photos would have been nice to see but I guess it doesn’t matter now. Someone sure got a gem here.

    Like 13
    • Driveinstile Driveinstile Member

      I agree. And what’s nice is… it isn’t another ” Me Too” car. When you take it to the local show, you’re pretty much guaranteed it’s going to be the only one there.
      Someone got a really well preserved very well taken care of AMC.

      Like 9
  2. HoA Howard A Member

    Always worth a re-log in for a car like this. If I may add, the name “Ambassador” goes back before Rambler. Nash used the name way back to 1927 for it’s upscale models, and after becoming Rambler, continued the tradition. Gramps last car was a ’65 4 door Ambassador, very similar. He loved Ramblers and the Ambassador was as good as it got for him, and many like him, that bled red,white and blue. Outside the midwest, however, not so much. Rambler was more of a regional make, in a sea of Big 3s elsewhere, you might see one Rambler. Not in Wisconsin, where everybody drove Ramblers, mostly because they had some kindred connection, like built them. Like I’ve said before, since so many people have no connection to Rambler, except that its an obscure make, this is the only way a car like this will sell, because it’s so nice, and not because their Uncle Phil screwed in the dome lights. Nice(st) find yet!.

    Like 5
    • SirLurxaLot

      My Dad worked for Kelvinator, a subsidiary of American Motors, so we got a new Rambler station wagon every year from before I was born until I was sixteen or so. Never an Ambassador; always a Rebel or Classic. As a kid in the South, I got made fun of a lot because of it but I still have a soft-spot for Ramblers.

      Like 2
    • Bill

      My Gramps last car was a 66 Ambassador also, six cylinder. He loved it. He would always turn it on and show everyone how quiet it was. Good memories.

      Like 0
  3. CCFisher

    The pillow and side panels in the rear compartment are original. The seats have been reupholstered using fabric with a much finer houndstooth pattern.

    Like 6
  4. Joe Haska

    One of my serious mistakes. I bought about this same year and model for 2K. My daughter was in college and needed transportation. Without any details you can all see the end of the story. I am ashamed that, I sent that car off to the reality of just a transportation vehicle It deserved way better.

    Like 3
    • Glenn Schwass Member

      A friend in high school got his Aunt’s 65 Ford Falcon with 13k on it. He drove it into the ground while all the Ford fanatics who saw it, went nuts. He sold it to another guy from school who had a head on and totaled it on a one way street. I hope it got stripped for parts. The interior was mint…

      Like 1
  5. Steve

    I miss good old AMC!

    Like 1
  6. Bob19116

    The 1966 Rambler Classic, Ambassador and Marlin (AMC mid-size same platform) were the last American cars to have a torque tube rear suspension. Chevy’s last year with a torque tube was 1954. All AMCs/ Ramblers still had standard vacuum powered wipers (electric optional) until the early 1970’s.

    Like 2
    • Gary J Lehman

      so what is your point?

      Like 0
  7. Emel

    Looks like 2 parts were welded together to make that incredibly ugly front end.
    Perhaps you could drive around….backwards. I like the tail lights and rear end better.
    Typical Nash/Rambler/AMC oddity.

    Like 1
    • Bob19116

      As an AMC/ Rambler fan, I never liked the 1965/1966 Ambassador vertical headlight front end, but the all-new intermediate platform in 1967 also had vertical headlights on the 1967 &1968 Ambassadors that were a lot more stylish (IMHO).

      Like 0
  8. Psychofish2

    This is beautiful but the hardtop roofline used in 65 was better in my eyes, as were the grille and tail lights.

    AMC did a similar unproductive rehash on the 67 Ambassador for ’68. Messed with details that didn’t improve the styling at all.

    See also: 63 to 64, 65-66, 67-68 Plymouth. Each of the earlier models is cleaner, more coherent and interesting than the one that followed.

    Like 0
  9. chrlsful

    opposite of emel – love the exterior trim (and straight lines) may B the grill/frnt end the most.
    I guess that’s the odd ford comment, a falcon (or wuz it comet) had same – lill squares to its chrome grill.

    Like 0
  10. Gene A Haywood

    I had a ’65 that looked nearly identical. Mine had a white roof. Awesome car. Power windows, seat, etc.

    Like 0

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