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Parked For 15 Years: 1966 AMC Marlin

The Marlin was introduced by AMC as their “halo” model. Sadly, its lack of sales during its 3-year production run meant that it was more like a noose than a halo for the company. It wasn’t a bad car by any means and a lack of sales when new makes finding a good example today quite a difficult task. This 1966 model seems to be a good one, and it’s just waiting to head off to a new home. It is located in Anderson, Indiana, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The seller is asking $12,500 for this classic.

I have always admired AMC because it was a company that managed to produce some of the most interesting American classics on a shoestring budget. The Marlin was a perfect example, but its sales were nothing like what the company had hoped. The fact that it remained on sale for such a short time is a perfect reflection of this failure. This Marlin appears to be a nice one. It has sat in storage for around 15-years, but it has recently been revived. The Frost White paint has a nice shine, but it isn’t clear whether the paint is original. The owner makes no mention of any rust issues, and there is no rust visible in any of the supplied photos. The panels look to be as straight as an arrow, and the gaps are consistent. The car features tinted glass, which, along with the trim and chrome, is in good order. The chrome wheels aren’t original, but they do add a more imposing air to the vehicle. If these aren’t to the buyer’s taste, then swapping them out would not be a difficult job.

The Marlin was designed to be a personal luxury car, and the interior trim and equipment reflected those aspirations. Bucket seats were standard, as was a console. The overall condition of this interior is excellent, with no signs of any problems with the upholstery or carpet. The console is in good condition, and the dash is free from cracks and splits. There are some aftermarket additions in this car. These include a brace of gauges under the dash and a tach mounted on the steering column. The presence of speakers in the doors suggests that there is (or was) a stereo fitted to this car. The original radio is still in the dash, so any stereo must be a hidden installation. The Marlin was originally equipped with air conditioning, but this isn’t hooked up. The owner provides little information about the engine beyond the fact that it is a V8. It isn’t clear which V8 it is, but if the original sales percentages are a guide, it could be the 327ci unit. That motor was the most popular choice amongst the few people who splashed their cash on a Marlin in 1966. This car also comes equipped with an automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. After sitting for 15-years, the vehicle has now been revived and is in a roadworthy state. The owner doesn’t indicate what steps were taken in this process, but he states that the Marlin runs and drives very well.

When the halo slipped with the Marlin, it slipped in a big way. The original Marlin was introduced part-way through the 1965 model year, and sales of more than 10,000 vehicles was considered to be reasonable under the circumstances. The 1966 model year was when the Marlin was supposed to cement its spot in the AMC range, but sales numbered a pitiful 4,547 cars. In a final attempt to save it, the Marlin was shifted across to the larger Ambassador platform, but only 2,545 people handed over their cash in that year. That drew the curtain on the Marlin. It was a car that promised so much but failed dismally in the marketplace. It isn’t clear how many 1966 models remain today, but the low build numbers and natural attrition would suggest that there aren’t that many. This one looks to be a real beauty. So, if an automotive orphan appeals to you, then maybe this is the car for you.


  1. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    (IMO) the awkward side profile of the Marlin contributed to its failure. The hump in the back window creates a look doesn’t say sporty; more of a “humpback” than a fastback. The 66 Charger’s flatter profile works better. This is, however, a very nice specimen. GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo That AMC guy

      I’ve read that while Richard Teague was away on vacation, management decreed that the roof be lifted a couple of inches in the back to provide more headroom for rear seat passengers. But for that it might have looked a bit less awkward.

      I have a Marlin and these are real nice road cars, comfortable and plenty of power with the 327. Although originally featuring standard power front disc brakes in 1965, drums became the standard in 1966 so the car’s price could be reduced a bit. If this is a drum-brake car the rears will be bog-standard Bendix, meaning you won’t have to deal with the bizarre non-servo rear drum setup that AMC used with its early front discs. (Parts for that setup are made of unobtainium.)

      Unusual to see one of these that isn’t two-tone! Would be nice to see some engine photos and, more importantly, underside photos. I can tell you that mine looks pretty nice up top and inside but is a disaster of rusted out rockers and patched floor panels underneath and would probably have to be sold as a parts car if and when the time comes. There are also no pics of the headliner which is an unusual foam design that typically disintegrated decades ago on these cars.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

      & this looks better? …
      You can bet the new Vette will sell out, since there are much much much less choices of body styles (& colors) today than there were in the ’60s, let alone attractive/handsome ones!
      Today’s “drivers” apparently don’t care about looks or style
      or even color – just how they can connect to you know what inside WHILE they are driving. & the “car” must be loaded with options, & must be new.

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

    Runs great but couldn’t fire it up and move it enough to get a picture of the front end and open the hood. Looks like could be a nice one though.

    Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Steve Bush Member

    Looks to be a pretty nice car you could drive today. But would ask the seller for more pics before I’d come to look it over. Also seems a bit odd it’s on Nashville Craig’s List when it’s in the Indianapolis area and the seller’s phone also shows to be in that area. Would hook up the AC and add front discs and Magnum 500s with 60 series 15 inch tires and have a nice cruiser.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Bruce Jackson

      The distance from Nashville to Indianapolis is only 288 miles, about a 4 1/2 to 5 hour drive. I would not hesitate to drive that far for a fairly rare classic vehicle if it appealed and was at the right price. I have driven from Portland, OR to Boise ID, which is 400 miles, and left empty-handed with no regrets.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo alphasud Member

        Done that! Drove to Georgia from PA to get a car with one picture with my friend who knew the guy who took the pictures. Got there and it was a pile. Couldn’t find anything interesting in the local trader rags. Drove home listening to the racket of a empty car hauler. We had a great time though! Sometimes it’s all about the journey.

        Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Classic Steel

    Nice ride in good shape..

    I would have put the cool marlin Trunk emblem in a picture..

    More pictures would of helped sell it..

    The “non Chevrolet” original 327 should move it along okay and better than the six cylinder.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Mike S.

    I like it. I wouldn’t buy it, but I like it. Tilt steering wheel is cool for ’66.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I used to know someone who had two. One was a daily driver, while the other was for parts. Both were in good condition. Sadly, the owner of the cars passed away several years ago.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo gerardfrederick

    Gorgeous car. AMC was snake-bit, they couldn´t do anything right for the marketplace. Looking at their product line in general and this example particularly, one wonders, what´s there not to like?

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Don

    They probably parked because they didn’t want to be seen driving it, sorry couldn’t help myself.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Don Sicura

    Wasn’t Mitt Romney Sr. the CEO of Rambler?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo John Brenneke

      George Romney was CEO of Nash/Kelvinator, manufacturer of the Rambler, in the 50’s. He also was elected governor of Michigan and is the father of Mitt.

      Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Marko

    The older I get, the more I start to appreciate the AMC Marlins and Matadors. This would make a totally cool cruiser with a dressier wheel and tire combo. Nice car.

    I think I am becoming my dad……..
    Now get off my lawn !

    Like 11
  11. Avatar photo Jt

    Any one seen one of these turned into a custom? I’ve seen several and when you lower them with nice two-tone paint at the side trim line makes for a great custom.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Marko

      I do like the two toned versions I have seen, but the simplicity of the white monotone paint, with the chrome accents on this car, really allow the eyes to absorb the unique styling of the Marlin, without being distracted. Kind of follows in the trend of 1966 Chargers, and the Same era Barracuda, and other fastback pony and muscle cars of the era.

      Like 0

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