Rebel With A Cause: 1959 Rambler Rebel

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

Rambler offered many cars in their time, and by today’s standards, and nearly 58 years later, many cars of this era no longer have a cause as rust and neglect have taken them to the point of no return. Thankfully this Rebel still has a cause with its clean and “rust free” appearance. With recent engine work, and a cheap buy in price, this Rambler may be one to jump on. Offered for $2,500, this Rebel is certainly worth a closer investigation. Check it out here on craigslist out of Austin, Texas.

While little can be drawn from the interior or engine bay, one thing the seller does tell us is that the engine has been “machined” and is ready to be installed into the car once again. I would assume “machined” would insinuate rebuilt and assembled, needing only to be dropped into place.  The interior is vague, but for being a Texas car, hopefully the interior has aged well.

The more you look over the body, the easier it is to have faith in the “no rust” description given by the seller. There are areas where the paint has chipped off, and the quarters also look to be victim of this, or of rust blistering. It is difficult to say from the photos, but the car as a whole looks rock solid, and a great candidate to put back on the road once again.  Thankfully quite complete, the only obviously missing items are the tail light lenses and hubcaps. Loaded with potential, and a “machined” engine, this Rebel looks to have a cause for hitting the streets once more. Would you put this Rambler back on the road?

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  1. Rodney

    A working man’s fintail Mercedes. Squint, and imagine parts that are ten times more expensive.

  2. Howard A Member

    Go ahead and laugh, but this, in it’s day, was a pretty fast car,,I’ll explain. The V8 badge on the front fender indicates this probably has the 327,( their own, not GM) 4 bbl. dual exhaust. I read, many Rebel’s were equipped this way. When I was in HS, a friend across the alley, who had his license, his mom had a ’59 Classic similar to this, 327, 4 bbl, automatic, and I tell you what, that car was the car of choice for the “stoplight drags”. More than one Ford or Chevy got their doors blown off by that stodgy 4 door Rambler ( Chrysler’s, not so much) I think it even had posi, and would smoke the meats easy.( even though they were skinny bias ply) True story. Cool find. Always makes me feel good to see a Rambler again.

    • Old Car Guy

      In 1957 the Rambler Rebel was the second fastest car in the US, the first being the Corvette. I wish I were 20 years younger, I would be all over this. Parts finding would be the worst part of owning this car. The way it sits though I can’t help but think someone has cut the coil springs to lower it. I can find my way around these cars blindfolded, especially the engine compartment. Some of the parts that were unobtainium like the trunions for the front suspension have only recently become available again.

  3. Jay Henry

    All Rebels of this vintage have the 250 V8, not the 327. I have owned my 60 Rebel for 39 years, and it is nice to drive. If your friend had a 327. Then he had an Ambassador.

    • Howard A Member

      Thanks Jay, I believe you are right. His mom’s car was a Classic, and must have had the 250, but still with 4 bbl, and dual exhaust, it put out 215 hp. I remember plenty of Chevy’s and Ford’s that had small V8’s and the Rambler dusted them.

    • Paul Gray

      Beautiful Rambler you have sir. The color is great. Thanks for sharing it.

      • Jay Henry

        Thank you Paul. That’s very kind of you.

    • john taggart

      we had an ambassador snow white 4 dr black and red interior with the fold down seats a single angled antenna from the center of the trunk full continental kit push button drive a real eye catcher both my sister and I learned to drive on this car and each of us left lot of cars at the lights

    • Old Car Guy

      ’57 had the 327.

      American Motors surprised most observers with the December 1956 introduction of the Rambler Rebel – “a veritable supercar”.[7] The new 1957 model debuted as a high-performance vehicle that combined AMC’s lightweight 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase Rambler four-door hardtop body with AMC’s newly introduced 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 engine.[8] This made it the first-time that a large block V8 was installed in a mid-size car in the post-World War II marketplace. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler offered no intermediate-sized cars whatsoever.

      • Kenny Durkee

        Well, actually, no. My 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk I consider to be the first ever “Muscle Car” by definition: Big car engine in a small or mid-size car. The ’56 (only) Golden Hawks had a Packard 352, a truly giant engine with 275 H.P. and 380 ft. lbs. of torque, making it the fastest American car you could buy. Yes, some argue the Chrysler 300 was faster, and some road tests of the day show one or the other as faster. but the 300 was a giant car, not comparable as a “Muscle Car”, and certainly not “Mid-size”. One could order a Golden Hawk with a Manual Transmission, and could even get dual 4-bbl. carburetors and a 374 engine with 330 H.P. as dealer-installed options, as mine is equipped.

  4. Jim B

    I have a 59 Classic with the 6-cyl and pushbutton auto. A dog, but indestructible. Better once I upgraded to the factory option 2bbl, but still a dog. I also own a 64 Ambassador with the 327 4bbl and it is a real sleeper. Unfortunately, I’m also in Austin so I may have difficulty resisting this one, too, even if just for the engine.

    • Jay Henry

      I have a 65 Ambassador 880 sedan with a high- compression 327 here in Rhode Island and it’s for sale! Really nice condition

  5. Doug

    The 1957 Rambler Rebel was offered with a fuel injected Rambler 327 – 5 years before the Chevy 327 fuelie!

    • Kenny Durkee

      However, Chevrolet DID offer fuel injection in 1957 on the 283 engine, available in both the Corvette, and in sedans.

  6. Paul Gray

    Love Ramblers. My 64 Rambler American with 5.0 mustang engine and drivetrain. I have owned about a dozen Ramblers over the years.

  7. Jim Benjaminson

    Sorry – the ’57 Chevy was also fuel injected (optional) so Rambler wasn’t five years ahead of them. The ’57 Rambler Rebel was a true factory hot rod – and the fastest car of the entire 1957 lot EXCEPT the fuel injected ’57 Corvette which beat it by mere seconds.

  8. DweezilAZ

    My Grandmother had a 60 Ambassador Cross Country wagon with the 327 and 4 barrel carb. It hauled in more way than one.

    She and that car sparked my long time obsession with cars. And AMC.

  9. john taggart

    surd o wish someone would buy the Studebaker and Packard name and bring back the designs with todays toys and electronics I bet they would sell hot cakes

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