Stately Diplomat: 1966 AMC Ambassador

1966-AMC-Ambassador

My grandfather was pretty tough on cars, although he maintained them well. He had a slighter newer Ambassador than this one growing up, but I don’t remember it looking this nice even then. This clean looking 1966 AMC was brought to our attention by Ricky M, and is at auction here on eBay. Wearing original ivory paint and tan interior, this Ambassador appears to be a low mileage survivor, with 44k on the odometer. Unusually, the car has factory air and power steering but manual brakes. The seller states that not only is the paint original, there is little rust or body repairs, and that it was kept in a barn in western Oklahoma.

327-v8

A new exhaust system was fitted by the previous owner, and supposedly the car was freshened up mechanically. The seller notes that better tires will be needed for driving any distance and that the gas in the tank has been there for a while, so don’t plan on driving it home without doing some work first. On the bright side, the ad does state that the car is in running condition, all gauges work, and that there is no smoke present or even oil leaks!

Ambassador-interior

The ash trays are opened in this picture and look spotless, although new carpet will certainly be required. Interior upholstery is original and the dash has no cracks or rips.

1966-AMC-Ambassador-rear

The one major exterior blemish has been taken care of as well, with a taillight housing coming with the car to replace the damaged driver’s side one, although there’s nothing offered to fix the surface rust above it. In one of the pictures, I think I see a piece missing from the passenger side taillight as well. I think that both the front and rear styling of this cruiser set it apart from the typical 60’s sedan, with the vertical headlamp arrangement being vaguely reminiscent of contemporary Pontiacs, but still significantly different. Even all four original wheel covers are in place. Would you run skinny whitewalls like I would, or go the conservative route with blackwalls?

Tri-Poised-Power

Underhood, we have the AMC 327 “Tri Poised Power” V-8, which the seller has clarified has a 2-bbl carb. I had to google Tri Poised Power to find out that it merely meant that the powertrain was mounted on three rubber mounts! An automatic transmission is fitted, but it’s unclear whether it is a 2-spd or 3-spd transmission. I thought AMC was using Chrysler 3-speed transmissions by this point, but I’m sure a reader can correct me if not.

Ambassador-taillights

Nothing I see about this car scares me. And although it’s the most desirable model, when have you ever seen another one? I can imagine the fun showing up at Cars-N-Coffee with no danger of having a duplicate car being there with you—of course, that can be both good and bad. So, do you think you’d feel like a diplomat cruising in this Ambassador?

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Comments

  1. Eric M.

    I had the same AMC 327 engine in my 1966 jeep Wagoneer, and it had a TH400 behind it. Not sure if it was the same with the cars that year. It was a very torquey and stout engine, but hard to find parts for.

  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Thanks for the info, Eric!

  3. Jeffry H

    Tri Poised, How many of us thought, Tri power?

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I did, for one. Interestingly enough, looking at some period advertisements, AMC didn’t explain what it was, either :-)

  4. Don Sicura

    Interesting to see that the person who bought this car new decided to pay for factory air conditioning but not a radio!

    Like 1
  5. Will

    “So, do you think you’d feel like a diplomat cruising in this Ambassador?” Nope. I would feel like I was still dating my ex wife. Her Dad had one just like this. It drove great except he had no feeling in his right leg and put an extra strong spring on the accelerator pedal to compensate. It made it hard for me to drive smoothly. It ran great though. He traded it for a 2 year old 1976 Chrysler Newport. Now that was a great car. Thanks for the memory jog. (Except for the EX wife part.)

  6. jim s

    this would make a great daily driver. needs a dual master cylinder to make it safe. do not know where the reserve is but if not to high new owner will be very happy. i think. great find

    • Rambler65

      These cars came with a dual master cylinder standard from the factory. (All Ramblers were so equipped starting in 1962.)

      On the other hand you might want to convert those vacuum windshield wipers to electric.

  7. Ed P

    AMC was still using the Borg Warner automatics in 1966. The switch to Torqueflite came in 1971.

  8. Graham Line

    AMC had a strong appeal for quirky and thrifty individualists, and its dealers were far more willing to take a special order than the Big Three. Have run across all sorts of unusually equipped AMC products. I remember my dad’s dismay one year when the dealer gently explained to him that it would cost him more to have the standard AM radio removed than it would be to leave it in the car.

  9. Tirefriar

    His and her ashtrays…ahhhhh

  10. Postmandougie

    Lots of these Ambassadors came with A/C because American Motors owned Kelvinator until 1968 and were supplied A/C units at cost, thereby allowing AMC to have the lowest priced A/C on the market at the time. The Borg Warner transmission is a very good little unit, but it does require more maintenance than newer transmissions. I took mine in every third summer for a fluid flush and band adjustment and it worked just fine for me.

  11. Rex Kahrs Member

    Tirefriar, yeah, reminiscing about those matching ashtray days of the 60s leaves me feeling all choked up.

  12. John Clemson

    My Grandfather also was rough on cars and he had a 1963 AMC Classic 660. My dad thought if this car could survive, it must be a good brand so he bought a new 1966 Ambassador DPL hardtop. It was fully loaded with the 327, air, am radio, etc. It was yellow with a black vinyl top. Great car!

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