Rough Fish: 1965 Rambler Marlin

For the first two years, 1965 and 1966, the Marlin was based on the Rambler Classic. Then in 1967, their final year of production, they evolved (get it, fish, evolved… tough crowd) into having a different front clip from the Ambassador. I prefer the earlier models such as this 1965 Rambler Marlin – the only year in which the Rambler name was attached. This rough fish can be found listed here on eBay in Lake Park, Minnesota with no reserve and the current bid price is just over $1,100.

Speaking of fish, what was the first car that was named after a fish? And, who thought that was a good idea to name cars after fish? The Corvette Stingray is the first one that I can think of. The Barracuda came out in 1964 and the Opel Manta in 1970. Hyundai’s Tiburon is named after a shark in Spanish. Ok, enough of that. Back to this Marlin, which was named after the 1963 Tarpon concept car, another fish.

Portions of this car look great to me, but you can see that there is rust on the lower extremities (awkward) and the seller says that the floors will need work. The trunk is white and it shows some rust, as well. This version of the Marlin is almost like a mullet: business in the front – as in a normal Rambler Classic front clip – and party in the back. Wait, a mullet is also a fish! This is getting eerie.

The interior looks as rough as the scales on a carp but anything can be fixed. There really isn’t an overall photo showing the driver’s side of the interior, other than a couple of close-ups, such as this one showing the gauges and a cracked dash pad. You can tell that the interior will need a total restoration, too. Hagerty is at $8,000 for a #4 fair condition car and this one is a long way from that. Their #2 excellent condition value is $16,100 and it would take a mackerel, I mean a miracle for this car to get back to excellent condition for that amount of money. This car appears to have a 3-speed manual with a column shifter, not the most sporty option but probably almost theft-proof in 2020.

This engine is about as basic as it gets, especially for such a high-profile halo car as the Marlin was meant to be. It’s the standard 232 cubic-inch inline-six which had 155 horsepower. I don’t even see power steering there. They also offered either a 287 or a 327 V8 which would add to the value for sure. In fact, Hagerty’s value was given on a 287 V8 so the $8,000 figure would probably be $6,000 maybe with the six? In any case, it will take a lot of work to bring this rough fish back to life. Any thoughts on this one?


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  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Given the current values on the Marlin, you’ll have more money in this car than it’s worth in a hurry; this poor car needs everything. No PS, power brakes or A/C and it doesn’t have a V8. On the plus side, it will likely sell for not a lot of money. Unless you absolutely have to have one and don’t care how much the restoration will cost, than this will do but you’d be better off looking for a better car to start with. You could go the modified route if it has good bones or maybe it’s just a parts car.

    Like 4
  2. Howard A Member

    Hmm, let’s see, Scotty likes oddballs,,,check, in his home state of Minnesoty,,,double check, priced right,,,that seals it, got Scotty’s name written all over it. Okay, column shift, detract a few points, deplorable condition,minus many more, okay,maybe not, BUT, for someone that has the facilities, it’s a super find. The front shock towers look good, it might not be that bad. It shows, for Ramblers flagship, this one is pretty basic. Most Marlins were heavily optioned, I mean, why would someone buy a basic Marlin like this? I read, a new 1965 Marlin cost $3,100 bucks, or only $100 bucks more than the regular 2 door Classic 770, but I think most people, with such an odd car, wanted full options. Not here, apparently. You know, I rarely say this, but it would be kind of fun, to get it running, maybe add an O/D, clean the interior, and drive it as is. The single “Town & Country” snow tire on the drive wheel,,nice. I think people would almost expect an unknown car like this, to look like this. Since all the car painters left the planet, you may have no choice. Great find!!!

    Like 5
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    This little guppy is gonna take a whale of a lot of work.

    Like 6
  4. Josh

    It’s an Orange Roughy.

    Like 9
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      That is good, Josh. Perfect.

      Like 1
  5. Jack W

    Throw it back.

    Like 3
  6. Cncbny

    Rough fish? C’mon!!! Raw fish! Works much better. I’ve come to expect exquisite verbiage on here. You guys are great, I’ll let this one slide.

  7. Classic Steel

    Least engine size for desirability and needs work . I suggest buy a v8 model in better shape.

    I say if one purchased this one for fun modify it and drop a Chevy 327 engine to confuse car show folks. Its a 327 Marlin right but who knew it looked like the Chevy engine 🤪😂

    Like 3
  8. George Louis

    Quite a find for TROLLING. Did the owner say does the fish swim , I mean RUN? When was the last time it ran? Good candidate for an Earl Scheib paint job. Remember, Earl will paint any car any color including costly reds and metallics for $69.95

    Like 2
    • That AMC Guy

      He’ll even paint the trim at no additional charge!

      Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      So many Earl Scheib jokes, in the 70’s, I worked for an auto paint and body shop supplier, and there were a couple Earl Scheibs in the Milwaukee area. I found, you got what you paid for, as I saw some really nice paint jobs come out of there. And yes, they would paint the trim if you yourself didn’t mask it off. How long they lasted, was iffy, and those jobs didn’t cost $99.95, but it gave a car a spiffy new appearance for the next owner. . I think, originally, it was “I’ll paint any car for $19.95”. That price steadily climbed, and I remember mostly “any car for $99.95”. It’s odd how over the years, Earl never aged a bit.

      Like 1
  9. Arby

    They had to quit making the Marlin because the fish were protesting the derogatory use of their name.

    • Howard A Member

      Ha! Not in the 60’s, my friend. Comedians were still doing “Chinese flapping dicky” jokes. Maybe that’s why car names switched from wild animal names to letters and numbers. That way, nobody is offended.

      Like 4
  10. Steve Brown

    I have a soft spot for these Marlin’s. I usually prefer authenticity in drivetrains of classic cars, but the six cylinder, three on the tree and the rough condition all call for a restomod approach with an LS and an OD auto trans.

  11. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Made it all the way up to the princely sum of $1,250 and did not meet Reserve.

  12. JudoJohn

    Good candidate for a resto-mod. Put in a 304, electric power steering, update the suspension, 5 speed, Update the interior, good paint, and you have a nice show car/ cruiser.

    Or, resto-mod to an electric vehicle.

  13. chrlsful

    lot to like here.Chrome strip on ‘the shoulder’ is interesting, I like the ‘cove’ rear bumper to part frnt wheel. the fastback, etc. They were rare back in the day, sure as heck don’t C’em 2day…
    223? was that B4 the 225 (I had several 170s)?

  14. Rick

    For the first two years, 1965 and 1966, the Marlin was based on the Rambler Classic with a 112 inch wheelbase. Then in 1967, their final year of production, they were based completely on (and didn’t just share a front clip with) the 118 inch wheelbase Ambassador.

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