One Owner: 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990

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The Ambassador was one of American Motors’ longest running nameplates, built from 1957-74. But it was previously a Nash product before Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson merged in 1954 to form AMC. This 1965 Ambassador is a one owner car being offered by a dealer in Lynchburg, Virginia, the same city where it was sold new 56 years ago. It looks to be in genuinely nice condition with one older repaint and some recent upgrades. It’s available here on eBay for the Buy It Now price of $14,999. Hats off to Larry D for bringing this drop-top to our attention!

If you were looking for a well-appointed automobile back in the day, the Ambassador could have been one of your choices. But it was never quite in the same league as the Cadillac or Lincoln. When the moniker was retired, it was the longest continuously used car nameplate up to that time, spanning 47 years from 1927. It was first applied on Nash’s full-size cars and became a “Rambler” from 1957-61 and an “AMC” from 1967-74, both runs as the biggest offerings the company had. From 1962-66, the Ambassador was a mid-size automobile.

For 1963-64, when the Classic/Ambassador won Motor Trend Car of the Year honors, the two were built on the same chassis and wheelbase, so much of the sheet metal was interchangeable. That changed in 1965 when AMC extended the Ambassador’s wheelbase forward by four inches in an effort to help it compete more directly with the full-size offerings of the “Big Three.” The car gained a look of its own with stacked dual headlights and a different front-end clip that made the car instantly recognizable as something other than a Classic. That helped, but Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth/Dodge continued to outsell the independent brand.

For 1965, the 990 convertible would see the smallest of the production numbers in the Ambassador line-up at 3,499 units. This single owner automobile is one of them, having been in the same community where it was first purchased all its life. It has a striking appearance, having been stored indoors when not in use. While the paint is not original, it looks good although its shine almost has a dull look to it, perhaps due to the type of lighting from being photographed strictly indoors. If there has ever been in rust in or on the car, there is no evidence of it now.

If anything gives away the age of the car, the dashboard might. The use of round dials and knobs is indicative of the era. But the upholstery, door panels and carpeting all appear to be in top notch shape. The top has been replaced at some point and the seller/dealer has added to the replacement parts list by installing a new window in the convertible top, a new boot, a new set of tires, and various odds and ends like a new master cylinder and brake hoses. Under the hood lies a 327 cubic inch V8, which was largely reserved for the Ambassador, along with an automatic transmission and power-assisted steering and brakes.

We’re told the Rambler runs and drives very nicely. Recent jaunts around town and out on the highway proved that it’s a solid cruiser with 81,000 miles on the odometer. Everything on the car seems to work as it should and paperwork dating back to its original purchase will be included in the deal. Besides the asking price of the car, the buyer will also pay a $299 dealer processing fee (title transfer and the like?). NADA says that a ’65 Ambassador 990 convertible should fetch upwards of $20,000 in nice condition. With no known work that needs doing, this car could be a nice score if you’re looking for a 1960s-era drop-top.

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  1. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Looks like a nice classic convertible, but just to add some visual ‘pop’, I’d add a set of thin whitewalls mounted on Magnum wheels; (IMO) it currently just looks so bland! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 7
    • David Taylor

      The most exciting car I ever bought new was a 1967 Ambassador convertible. This one is auto, but mine was four-on-the-floor. Mine was scarlet red with cream pinstriping, white top, and did have white walls. NIX the mag wheel suggestion. Cheapens the look of the car. My special tags were GAME. By the way, I drove that car as a teacher at Mercedes and McAllen high schools.

      Like 1
  2. Mikefromthehammer

    Russ 1954 was 66 years ago, not 56 (although I wish it was 56 😉).

    Like 9
    • KKW

      He said this 65 Ambassador is being sold in the same city as it was 56 years ago. No mention of 1954.

      Like 4
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Sorry, just before that he wrote that AMC was formed in 1954. My poor comprehension skills led to the error. 😳

        Like 0
  3. Danny Thompson

    I agree with Mike!!

    Like 0
  4. Mikefromthehammer

    Sorry KKW. Just before that he wrote about AMC’s formation in 1954. My poor comprehension skills led me to misunderstand what was said. 😳

    Like 0
  5. Ike Onick

    I’m picturing the Design studio at Rambler consisting of blocks of wood and a cardboard box filled with model car headlights, tail lights and grills.

    Like 4
  6. DRV

    I’ve never seen it as a convertible. That front was not awkward from stacked headlights like the rest were.

    Like 0
  7. chrlsful

    yeah, I luv the grill (used on others too).
    What I just learned (big i6 fan here, internat or usa made) is it had the Tornado AND a 4-on-the-column ! 1st OHC motor (other design features too) in usa.

    Like 0
  8. Steve Clinton

    Put some whitewalls on that poor girl!

    Like 3
  9. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972Member

    This looks like a very nice car in impressive condition. You can bet this beauty will stand out at Cars ‘N Coffee in a sea of GM, Ford and Mopars. I love the color as it really makes the chrome stand out. I wouldn’t change a thing on this drop top and to me, the full wheel covers look just right for a stock convertible. I think the price is more than fair for what it is.

    Like 2
  10. ramblergarage

    A classic like that needs white wall tires.

    Like 1
  11. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Larry D are you Larry Daisy of Arizona that sells Riviera parts?
    This AMC convertible is mighty tempting to me. I liked these cars when they were new, and I still like this example a lot. To bad it’s not in East Texas I’d definitely be checking it out. Best wishes to whomever gets to become the new owner.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  12. Barney

    Question, did the 65’s still use a torque tube type drive shaft?

    Like 0
    • FHPdave

      Torque tube was used through 1966. I have a 67 Ambassador that has a standard driveshaft.

      Like 1
      • Barney


        Like 0
  13. Anav8r

    A “dealer processing fee” is simply dealer speak for “extra profit”. It’s about the same as if you grocery store charged you a flat fee on any order, and called it a “grocer processing fee”. Some states limit how big the gouge can be, but I’ve seen “doc fees” in the high hundreds a couple of times, so this guy is about average, I’d guess.

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      So you think all of the shipping, handling and a million other things aren’t included in the price of that can of soup you just tossed into your cart?

      Like 0
      • Mikefromthehammer

        Yes they are all included in the price of the can of soup. It would be nice if it was included in the price of the car as well, and not be a separate charge – that can vary depending on the popularity of a particular vehicle.

        Like 0

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