Stick Shift Banana Boat: 1965 Rambler Cross Country

You will be sure to stand out in this very bright and long banana yellow Rambler station wagon. Packing virtually no deluxe features, this wagon is a base model classic that is quite solid with a factory manual transmission and a 287 V8. In running and driving condition, this wagon would make a great project to update, and upgrade its power. Or this Rambler would certainly be a nice original to cruise around in, or to take your vendor items to the swap meets. Ready to tote bananas, or any other precious loads you have, this wagon is ready to roll at $3,500. Take a look at it here on craigslist out of El Cerrito, California.

Sadly the seller has not included any detailed images of the engine or of the interior, but in looking through the photos you can get an idea about the interior. The seller explains that the interior is original, but is in need of some work on the driver side of the bench. The stitching has failed and the seams are splitting and worn. I personally appreciate that the interior is original, that way the bench can be repaired, or it can be left as is with the typical blanket treatment. Despite the lack of pictures, this wagon is ready to drive and the seller is also including some new parts that have not yet been installed.

Thankfully rust appears to be at a minimum with this wagon, as there is no major rot to be found. The floors are described as solid, and it would seem the only rust issues with this wagon are with the tail gate, and a few “pin holes” in the fenders. Closely examining the pictures, you can see these pin hole areas, and some minor blistering on the passenger rear quarter. The paint looks to have been partially buffed, as some panels are quite shiny, while others are a bit oxidized. I imagine a solid buff job would really make this wagon look grand. There are so many classic wagons from this era that I like and appreciate, but these Ramblers 770’s have a nice look, and this wagon is already a stick shift V8 car making my mind wander with possibilities of what to do with this bright yellow classic. What would you do with this Rambler? Drive it as is, or add some hot rod flavor?


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  1. Blindmarc

    It’s a 287 or 327 in this year……


    A V8 in a 65 Rambler making your mind wander?………Well if taking it to the dragstrip or challenging someone in a 5.0 Mustang at a stoplight that is out.

    These are low reving V8’s made for utmost reliability and economy with power to get up to speed. That is all. AMC got serious with performance with the new for 66 290 V8.

    Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with a CNC machine carving out custom exotic aluminum engine parts to make it what it is not. Also forget the Chevy engine swaps. (What we all need are more of those) Just sit back and just enjoy the ride

    • That AMC Guy

      Actually, with the 327 4-barrel setup and stick shift these cars could acquit themselves quite well. Back in the day a friend of mine had a ’65 Classic 2-door with 327 and Twin-Stick transmission. That thing would take off like a bat out of h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and he surprised a lot of guys in Mustangs and the like with his “old man’s car”. (Remember, a ’57 Rambler Rebel with that engine would do 0-60 in just a little over 7 seconds which was practically supercar territory back then.)

      Chances are this wagon has the more sedate 287 V8, but it should still certainly get out of its own way.

      • Loco Mikado

        I had a 287 V8 with auto in a ’63 Classic and had no problem running against stock 289’s, 283’s and 273’s. Didn’t win all that many but it was not a blowout-most by a hair. My dads ’65 Ambassador with a 327 4bbl was a different story, could smoke the tires for 1\2 a block. I often wondered what these engines could have done with modifications like Studebaker did. Everybody always rants on the Rambler V8’s siamesed center exhaust ports but then again so did Studebaker V8’s had the same.

        There is really nothing needed to do but get the car running good and enjoy. Anything else in the way of major drivetrain mods completely destroys the car IMO. I did upgrade mine in the early 70’s but only using stock factory parts such as the heaviest springs and suspension parts that were completely reversible. It did handle good and one time made it from Seaside to the east side of Portland, OR in 55 min. Today it normally takes 2 to 2 1\2 hours.

      • Beatnik Bedouin

        AMC Guy, back in the 1960s, there was a guy who drag raced a ’63 Classic two-door with a 327 and kicked some serious butt in his class.

        I think a contemporary issue (’63, ’64) of Hot Rod or Car Craft magazine did a feature on him, if I recall correctly. I remember reading the story in the 1970s, when a buddy of mine decided to start collecting Marlins and anything associated with AMC vehicles of that era.

  3. DRV

    Classic….I’m surprised to see how long it is after the rear wheels.

  4. Steve65

    “Registered but not insured”…

    Not legally it ain’t.

    Sellers who refuse to allow a test drive are an instant “nope”. There’s always something else just as interesting, offered by someone who’s serious about selling.

  5. Wayne

    Rear bumper bar has had a solid whack, and that’s more than pinhole rust under the anodised strip on the lhs of the tailgate.

  6. rcflyer

    I’d like to know why the frt end & rt door have been repainted, looks fairly recent. How hard was it hit. Need to see pictures under hood.

  7. tompdx Member

    We had one of these when I was a kid! It was a light green metallic. Sadly, it was consumed by fire. My dad only had time to get one car out of the carport before it was too hot, and he chose the new car – a dark red 2 door ’67 Dodge Coronet 440. It forever bore one scar – a white bubbled plastic badge in the center of the grill. The Rambler on the other hand was totally destroyed.

  8. ROTAG999

    My Uncle Don had one bought brand new pretty blue had the 6 with overdrive he put a lot of miles on it held on to it before trading for late 80’s Honda Accord.

  9. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    It’s $3500…..

  10. Daniel (Smitty) Smith

    How about a hellcat and a 6spd rowing stick 😁😁

  11. John Oakes

    This is NOT a base model Rambler Classic as the writer of this article states, in fact, a 770 is top of the line. Rambler Classic came in 3 trim levels, 550,660,770. 770 having a lot more standard features than the 550,660.

  12. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I had this same car, a 5 years newer AMC Rebel wagon with no accessories purchased from the phone company. 6 cylinder, three on the tree with that great tailgate handle to wind the window, unlatch door or both together. Bulletproof. Too bad this Rambler is on the wrong coast. PAINT: I think what we are observing/missing is a repainted car, from when the car was new, a good repair that oxidized at a different rate from the rest of the car. Not at all unusual to see this on cars back when they were just daily transportation and not treasured classics. BTW: no interior pictures, so I wouldn’t assume “stick shift.”

  13. Whippeteer
  14. RichS

    Come Mr Tallyman – tally me bananas.

    • ROTAG999


  15. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking Rambler. Sadly, there’s nowhere near enough pictures to show the car.

  16. tom

    I am the guy that owned (and sold) this car. During my ownership, I drove it all over California, on the freeway, in overdrive, cruising at 70mph, all day with no issues ever. The article doesn’t state verbatim what was posted in the craigslist ad. Among other details, I recommended complete replacement of the rear tailgate and added pictures of the interior, engine, luggage area and detailed pictures of the pinhole rust and rusted out tailgate. This article was obviously written soon after my original CL ad.

    I didn’t allow anyone to drive the car because-

    1. It was no longer insured and therefor ILLEGAL to drive, I took people interested in the car on long test rides around the SF Bay Area at my own financial risk. People that were not serious buyers were weeded out by my “test ride with me driving policy”. The second guy that came to look at the car bought it, and drove it home to Santa Cruz.
    2. 99.999% of the people that came to see it had never driven a column shift car before and I wasn’t about to let them figure it out (CRUNCH-GRIND-GRIND-CRUNCH, sorry I broke your car… BYEEEE!!!) on my car.

    Long story short, it was a great car, ran like a top, new owner loves it.

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