One Owner: 1966 Rambler Classic Rebel

The Rebel was one of AMC’s responses to the mid-decade muscle car craze that captured the 1960s, but it wasn’t a performance car in the same vein as what GM, Ford or Chrysler were offering. The Rebel was an upscale 2-door Classic hardtop with access to AMC’s biggest V8 engine, but it was only 327 cubic inches. This ’66 Revel has an inline-six, so it wasn’t intended to do battle at the next traffic stop. Located in Brooksville, Florida, this one-owner original car is available here on craigslist for $12,500. Thanks, MattR, for striking the fancy of another Rambler fan here!

AMC restyled their Classics and Ambassadors in 1965 after their then-new designs won Motor Trend Car of The Year honors for 1963. Given the empty pockets that AMC had compared to the Big 3, the ’66 models were largely redo’s from the prior year. Where there had been three series of Classic (550, 660 and 770) in ’65, the middle one was dropped given that 770 sales were up nearly 40% year-over-year. New for ’66 was the Rebel which — from everything I’ve read — says it came standard with the 327 engine, good for 270 hp and was targeted at buyers of the Chevelle SS, Buick Gran Sport, Pontiac GTO and Oldsmobile 442. Yet this Rebel has a 232 cubic inch I-6 under the hood which might have been a special order.

This ’66 Rebel (according to the fender badging) is said to have had only one owner, carries its original turquoise paint and has never been in an accident. It has a vinyl top, but we don’t know if came with it from the factory. Any rust on the car would appear surface rust underneath at just 64,000 miles. The body looks solid and the paint good except for some worn spots on the trunk lid. Chrome pieces and the glass all look good although one photo reflects a greenish paint color underneath in one place which we could chalk up to lighting.

The interior seems good, although the upholstery looks dirty to me and could use a good cleaning. The door panels have an interesting checkerboard pattern which we assume is the way the car was ordered new. We’re told everything works as it should, but it’s too bad the car didn’t come with factory air conditioning because Florida is a hot place without it. This seller describes this as a turn-key car, which tells me the little six-cylinder and automatic transmission will take it most anywhere.

Beginning in 1967, all the cars previously known as Classics were rebranded as Rebels. So, the ’66 models were little changed, and sales were off by one quarter. The Rebel was something of a minor success, depending how you measure it as AMC sold 7,512 of them that year. Not a big number for the other guys, but not a small number by AMC’s standards. But if you could get an I-6 in one of these, the Rebel probably did little to persuade anyone thinking of buying from a competitor. My gut tells me most of the ’66 Rebels were sold to folks who were going to buy an AMC product anyway.

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Comments

  1. Moparman Member

    In this case, I think the name “Rebel” was a misnomer, there is nothing remotely rebellious about this car! It throws off a straight up, buttoned down, no nonsense vibe. This looks like a very solid project for an AMC fan or someone wanting to make an entry into classic car ownership.
    GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 5
    • Rosko

      I imagine Floyd the Mayberry barber owning one. ” Ooooooh, full hubcaps –racy!”

      Like 20
      • Dale S

        LOL…that deserves a 10. Thanks!

        Like 2
      • ADM

        Eugene Levy played the best Floyd, on SCTV. He even looked like him.

        Like 3
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      This may make a great entry into classic car ownership, but at the asking price I have to wonder who’s gonna cough up the dough? The other issue I have is, at age 59 I appreciate all it’s quirkiness, but anybody born in the past 30-40 years won’t look at this and think it’s cool. It’s 6 cylinder and that color would get old real quick!

      Like 5
      • PaulR

        Nah…who cares what anyone else thinks. I would buy it because I like it. And because it’s different. Maybe throw a set of period correct AMC wire caps on it of even some magnum 500 wheels on it and enjoy. That old six is plenty capable and would be a great cruiser.

  2. ADM

    In 2013, there was a more basic 550 2 dr sedan for sale, in Concord, NH. It was black, with a black and white interior. It was in excellent condition, low miles, with the 232, and the 3 spd manual. The restaurant owner was asking $3500, but wound up selling it for $2800, maybe less. He told me that as soon as he let it go, and it had been for sale, for awhile, someone called and made an offer of $4,500. He tried to buy it back, for $3,500, but the new owner said no deal. Obviously, prices have gone way up, since then.

    Like 3
  3. Petey

    Looks like the back end didn’t quite fit in the carport.

  4. Bob C.

    Reminds me of a green 65 Classic my aunt once owned. It had a 6 cylinder with a 3 on the tree. She is still going strong at 84!

    Like 2
  5. B-boy

    I had a ’67 Rebel in college. Thing was built like a tank. It was lavender with a weird purple floral interior. I loved that car.

    The biggest problem I had was getting parts. Apparently AMC would use any parts they could get. Depending on the month – sometimes it was Chevy, sometimes it was Ford. I remember having to get a starter. I made multiple trips to the parts store. They kept giving me the wrong thing. Finally, I took the old starter in with me. The guy had to open multiple boxes and eyeball the part to find the right one.

    The torque convertor had issues, and the tranny finally went. I couldn’t afford to fix it, so I sold it.

    Like 3
    • Dual Jetfire

      AMC did not round robin parts. More likely that the parts guy confused it with the Chevy 327, which is a totally different engine. I once sent a blonde girlfriend into an auto parts store for points for an AMC 327 and all she got was a lecture that the 327 was a Chevy engine.

      Like 2
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Me and my sister picked a bad time to own an AMC product. In college, in the early 1980s. I owned a 1973 Gremlin and a 1970 Rebel station wagon. She had the more luxurious Concord (Hornet) with a landau roof. I remember finding one AMC dealer in Southwest Virginia that could get parts to DIY repair (biggest score was a NOS door skin for the Gremlin. Rebel could have used one also). Hemmings helped a great deal then too. Final straw was trying to locate all the parts required to rebuild the front end of the wagon sometime around 1982-83. Sold it and got myself another Buick Skylark/Special.

      Like 1
      • Dale S

        In 1978 I had driven over what looked like a large railroad tie in the middle of the freeway, as I was changing lanes in my 1975 Pacer. I was able to straddle it, so no damage to the wheels. It was the same thickness, and about 3 to 4 feet long. In 1980 I was having trouble with my steering. The AMC dealership told me that I needed a new front end. One of the rubber CV boots had a tear in it, and dirt/water got in there. Unfortunately I never did have the car checked out a year earlier. They installed a new front end for just over $500 for me. I lucked out, and had four more years of mostly stress free motoring.

        Like 1
      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        I don’t believe the Pacer used the same steering or suspension of the Rebel or the Gremlin. I could be wrong. I know for certain there were no CV boots on either of mine. Ball joints/spindles/trundle from an earlier era in motoring, courtesy AMC. LOL

        Like 2
  6. DavidH

    The worn paint on the trunk makes me think the carport was a tad shorter than the rebel.

    Like 3
  7. Chuck Dickinson

    Seats are a “mess”. Done completely wrong. Originally had the plaid cloth as on the dp.

    Like 3
  8. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    That is nice. My Grandfather had a wagon in a champagne color when I was really small. Younger than 5. I remember laying in the back..
    He then got a really nice 69 Rebel 4 door in dark green. We had a 68 Rebel wagon, and a used Sedan..,
    Ended all that with a 74 Hornet. I liked the Rebels…

    Like 1
  9. Steve Clinton

    Oh AMC, how I miss thee!

    Like 3
  10. Dual Jetfire

    The AMC :327 4 bbl was no slouch. I had a 287 2bbl and got out of a 90 mph ticket cause the cop didn’t think an old rambler could go that fast. I did NOT point out I had plenty of pedal left.

    Like 4
  11. Steve Steinborn

    My great gramma had a 66 rambler also but a light blue color and it has the 283 V8 with a single barrel carburetor. Instead of the straight 6 like this car has. My great grampa ordered it with the radio delete package because he didn’t want the distraction but 20 years later they came out with cell phones which is even more of a distraction for drivers.the interior is like a greenish plaid color. My great uncle and grampa got the car when my great gramma died. They sold it for about $2000 like 7 years ago or so to someone my grampa and I know and he fixed the brakes from the brake booster to all 4 wheels and cleaned the gas tank out and rebuilt the carburetor and the car is back on the road and still on the road to this day. The car is still mint condition except for a few small door dings from when my great gramma drove it from people hitting it with their doors on accident. I would like to get the car back in my family again.

  12. Kevin

    It’s a neat lil car,I’d drive it,but can’t and won’t pay that much for a bare bones,semi rare car,I look for the bubble to burst in the near future, and prices to drop only time will tell.

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