Super Original : 1959 AMC Rambler American

042816 Barn Finds - 1959 AMC Rambler American - 1

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Who knew that there were so many nice, old, original Rambler Americans left?! This 1959 AMC Rambler American Super is listed on eBay with a current bid of $1,967 and it’s in Highland, California. There is no reserve on this car so it’ll sell to the top bidder, this will be a great bargain if it stays within the $5,000 range.

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AMC sold 28,449 Rambler American Supers in 1959 and 91,491 Americans in total, an uptick from the first year American model sales. This one is a “Super” which had a few things that the “Deluxe” lacked, but it seems like they had those designations mixed up; I would have picked the Deluxe to be the ultimate version. Good thing I don’t run a car company. The Super rang up at $1,874, a seemingly-measly $85 more than the Deluxe model. Those numbers are almost incomprehensible now. Just this morning I paid $650 to have a “clear-shield” put on the front of my wife’s new car. But, $85 in 1959 represents about $696 today, so I guess it was a noticeable bump in price. That’s like three months worth of lattes today, it would have been hard to explain that to someone in 1959.

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This car looks like it’s in absolutely fantastic condition. The seller says that the “3 in the tree” works great and the car runs and drives excellent with no signs of overheating. It could just be me, but it looks like both doors are either sagging or the trim wasn’t applied with a laser; as in, it’s lower on both doors than it is on the front fenders. Those sort of details really catch my eye, being a former architectural detailer.

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Hmm, ok, here’s where the “original” part goes out the window. Yes, that looks like hardboard in the passenger side toe kick area and a chunk-o-lumber on the dash. Weird, but hopefully those can be taken out and restored back to original spec. I can’t imagine that any AMC Rambler American fan who will buy this car would want that over something that looks original. There are all kinds of shops, clubs, and parts sellers out there for these cars so hopefully you can track down something better looking than the wood pieces for the otherwise decent interior.

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These engines always provide, at least to me, a nice change from the hose-and-wire-laden rat’s-nest and/or plastic-cover engines of today, or even of the last three decades. There are no computers here. I half expect to see a fuse box with the screw-in fuses here. This is the only engine offered, a 3.2L inline-six with 90 hp. This car has 99,406 miles on it and other than a couple of interior cosmetic issues, it really looks good. There is no reserve on this car so get your bid in now. As I’ve said before, I’m a huge AMC fan and even though I prefer the later Americans, this one looks great. Do you like this era of AMC Rambler American or do you prefer the slimmed-down version that came later?

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  1. Grr

    Why does the rear axle look like it’s too far forward?

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    • Cody

      Haha, I was going ask the same thing. I just assumed that since it’s AMC, that’s how it was drawn up on the napkin they designed it on and they never bothered to correct it.

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    • Texas Tea

      Good eye Grr!

      I missed it, but that certainly looks like a problem. The buyer may want to measure the distance of the center of each front and rear axle on both sides.

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      • DENIS

        Rear axle appeared forward in wheelwell brand new..that’s how they were…nothing unusual about it…

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    • Davnkatz

      I, too, noticed this. So, I put 1959 AMC Rambler American into my search to see for myself. Looked at pix of this car, wagons, and other such, and they ALL had this same out-of-alignment look. Also, the price listed here is just about right for all the “for sale” ones I saw.

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  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Yet another memory Scotty dug out of my head. A friend across the alley had a car just like this, only an automatic. I remember, he pulled the shift lever towards him to start the engine. Being kids, he beat the heck out of that car. It was so slow, the gas pedal was bent in a “U” shape from being floored all the time, and when he did floor it, the motor just got louder, and you could barely feel any acceleration. We painted it up with “hippie daisies” and all kinds of graffiti, and finally the motor puked and he junked it. We laughed at the rear wheels openings too, but it was a fun car. ( and yes, those front seats folded down, like all Ramblers of the time) Can’t be many around now, and it’s unbelievable to see one today, especially in California, where not many Ramblers were sold. Great find.

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  3. DENIS

    The axle placement is correct. They fit the wheel-well off-center brand new…always looked odd but those lil cars were just about bullet-proof…

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  4. Terry J

    Had one….same color even. But it had a cool little “Pinin Farina” emblem low on each front fender. It was about the same size and location of those little “Nova” emblems on Chevy 2s or the little “283” badges on 60s Chevys. Don’t know which trim option included that, just know it was a stone stocker and it had them. They are pleasant little cars, and though look kinda funky I always thought that the design was intended to be viewed from INSIDE the car, because it was very cool from that point of view. One reason you still see these is because they were dipped in rust proofing on the assembly line. Fun car. :-) Terry J

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  5. David Frank DavidMember

    These were indeed, simple and tough little cars. This one looks really nice. The BIN is $4800, which seems reasonable, but even at 20 feet this car is showing a lot of sadness, especially inside. They’ve avoided showing the top and in the one glimpse of it, the top appears to need paint. The chrome sure is nice, though.

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  6. boxdin

    According to 1959 production standards those doors and trims line up just fine.

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  7. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned my Rambler 550 that I had the summer between high school and college. Those front seats also folded completely flat, creating a bed. That summer of ’76 was a good summer.

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  8. D. King

    Look at the size of the engine compartment vs. the occupant! Sure is different in modern cars…

    We had one in bright blue–all over color–when I was a young teen. The doors always seemed to slam with a tinny sound.

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  9. dogwater

    We restored a 59 wagon two door looks like a nomad and the rear wheels looked about the same must be factory, flat head 6 with an auto, cool old car.

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  10. Mark S

    I love the look of the pre 60’s Americans, they were no barn stormers but they also could not be killed. As for the axle position that can be fixed fairly easy, get two new springs custom made with a new centre pin location ( no more than about 2″ ) than have the drive shaft lengthened an equal amount both could be handled by a suspension and driveline shop. The fact that this is a two door car makes it way more desirable if your into 50’s cars IMHO. Great find.

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  11. charlieMember

    The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo (just south of LAX) CA has a 4 door wagon of that vintage which had to be the top of the top of the line – leather (or incredibly good vinyl) upholstery and in great condition, and, if you hit the museum on the right Sunday, you can get a ride around the block in it.

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  12. Russell

    I just love the look of these cars! Elmer Fuddmobile all the way! If I owned this I’d drive it until something in the drivetrain gave out, and then turn it into the ultimate stealth rod.

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  13. Ed P

    A kid in my neighborhood inherited his grandfather’s American. The old man had an accident in it and gave up driving. After that accident, the passenger door would pop open when the body twisted just right.

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  14. Pfk1106

    My mom had a 60 super, in dull red with an automatic. It was really slow in comparison to my dads desoto adventurer. My mom made it slower. The shifter didnt quite align with the emblem on the dash, so for the first year she drove around in second. My dad noticed it the first time he drove it. After that we drove around in neutral. The radio was so weird, just two knobs, but no dial. Impossible to find a channel at night, except by turning the knob slowly.

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  15. DolphinMember

    Doesn’t quite have the style of some other ’59s, like the ’59 Chevys for example.

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  16. jim s

    at $ 2927.77 with almost 4 days to go. it does need a PI but if it is all there this would make nice daily driver. cancel the gym membership as you will be sweating to the oldies in this. great find

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