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Solid Driver: 1971 AMC Ambassador Brougham

Tackling a restoration project is enormously satisfying, but it isn’t an undertaking open to every enthusiast. Lack of appropriate skills, workshop space, or time can make it unachievable, and some people walk away with their dreams of owning a classic unfulfilled. However, cars like this 1971 AMC Ambassador Brougham could be a hot ticket for those considering the turnkey option. It is a rust-free and largely original survivor that can be enjoyed in its current form with no shame. It could receive a cosmetic refresh if its new owner felt it was appropriate, but they won’t need to spend a dime on its immaculate interior. The Ambassador is listed here on eBay in Manassas, Virginia. The seller set their BIN at $19,500 for a classic where the new owner could fly in and build a relationship as they drive it home.

This Ambassador isn’t perfect, but if considered a genuine survivor, its overall condition is very acceptable. The seller claims that 60% of its Snow White paint is original, and if that is accurate, its presentation is noteworthy. The exterior holds a warm shine, with only minor imperfections. The same applies to the panels, which sport only a few small bumps and bruises. The Dark Blue vinyl top hasn’t deteriorated and is close to perfect. The seller describes the car as solid, suggesting there are no visible or hidden rust issues that would cause the new owner angst. AMC focused heavily on corrosion prevention, making the lack of tin worm unsurprising. The trim condition is appropriate for a survivor-grade classic, and the glass is crystal clear.

If I were to single out one aspect of this Ambassador as a highlight, that honor would fall to its interior. If this car is as original as the seller suggests, its condition is exceptional. The Blue cloth and vinyl seatcovers appear perfect, with no signs of wear or damage. The prone driver’s side of the front seat looks factory fresh, and I won’t be surprised if the rear seat has never seen occupants. The remaining upholstered surfaces are equally clean, there are no issues with the dash or pad, and the faux woodgrain looks factory-fresh. I can’t spot any aftermarket additions beyond the wheel wrap, which I consider a wise investment to improve driver comfort and protect the wheel from wear. The original owner ticked some welcome boxes on their Order Form because the new owner receives air conditioning, a tilt wheel, and an AM radio.

Lifting the hood reveals a 360ci V8 that produced 245hp and 365 ft/lbs of torque when this classic rolled off the line. The power feeds to the road via a three-speed “Shift-Command” automatic transmission. The original owner’s decision to order this classic with power assistance for the steering and brakes should guarantee an effortless driving experience. It is unclear whether this classic is numbers-matching, although the listing provides that impression. The original power and torque figures might be irrelevant because the V8 features a shiny new Holley carburetor and a more efficient air cleaner. Improved breathing rarely results in lower engine power, so a few additional ponies could be available under the driver’s right foot. For potential buyers, this Ambassador should be considered a turnkey proposition. It runs and drives well, ready to provide its new owner with immediate motoring pleasure.

AMC produced 41,674 Ambassadors during 1971, with 4,579 of those the Brougham Hardtop version. It is unclear how many survive, but the chances are high that the new owner won’t park beside an identical example at a Cars & Coffee. It isn’t the most expensive example we’ve seen recently, although this Ambassador recently failed to sell at the asking price of $21,900. Do you think the seller will achieve their price for this classic, or will they need to compromise?


  1. That AMC guy

    Air conditioning was standard on these – but electric windshield wipers were not! (At least not until 1972.) I wish my ’71 Ambassador looked this good!

    Like 10
  2. Joe

    AMC didn’t match numbers

    Like 6
    • CCFisher

      Not exactly. A partial VIN was a federal requirement on engine blocks beginning in 1968, so this car should have a partial VIN stamp on the block. AMC provided no indication in the VIN as to which engine the car originally came with, so if the original engine is gone, there’s no way to know which engine it had originally, short of paper documentation.

      Like 3
      • Dan Curtis

        You are incorrect. AMC did not have any matching block numbers

        Like 3
      • CCFisher

        Federal law required a VIN stamping on all engine blocks from all manufacturers starting in 1968. This is a fact, whether or not you believe it.

        Like 0
      • Dan Curtis

        You are still incorrect. There are no VIN numbers of any sort on AMC blocks. Zero, zilch nada. I own a company that specializes in restoring AMCs and we have rebuilt a couple of hundred AMC and Jeep engines none of which had anything even slightly resembling the VIN numbers.

        Like 3
      • JLHudson

        It has been reported that AMCs destined for Georgia & Tennessee had the engines (& trans ?) stamped; presumably by the dealer. This car is very nice and not easy to find these days.

        Like 0
  3. geezerglide 85

    Nice looking AMC, you won’t come across one these very often, so if you want one this is the one to grab. Personally I like the Matadors better, same body with a little shorter front end. Although I wouldn’t kick this one outta my garage.
    This one looks like it has the electric wipers. I had a ’69 American with the vacuum wipers. They were treat, pull out to pass and they would stop, but fortunately you don’t pass too many cars with 6cyl Rambler.

    Like 1
  4. Stan

    Love the Ambassador model.
    Lighter than they look 3700lb and change, and nice power w 360.
    2.87 ⚙️ std, 3.15 optional.
    Id swap for in a 4 barrel carburetor and go.

    Like 2
  5. Stan

    Howard approve of a 360 Ambassador?

    Like 2
  6. Bob C.

    Last year for the Borg Warner Shift Command. Beginning in 72 they started using Chrysler Torqueflites, calling them Torque Command.

    Like 1

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