Super Project: 1960 Rambler American Super

Made for only three out of the dozen years of Rambler American production, the first-generation cars were unique, to say the least. The unmistakable bathtub body style would go away after 1960. Speaking of 1960, the seller has this 1960 Rambler American Super listed here on eBay in Champaign, Illinois – which I can’t say without automatically going into a Lawrence Welk impression. The current bid price is $1,311, there is no reserve, and thanks to Larry D. for sending in this tip!

It looked so promising from the first photo, but then we see this one with the flat front tire and partially-ajar (does anyone say ajar anymore?!) hood. In the grand scheme of things, a partially-open hood? Why did I even mention that? Other than, I don’t understand why sellers don’t walk across broken glass to make sure that every single photo looks as good as it can look when they’re selling a car online. Good enough is not good enough in 2022 to get the most dollars for your vehicle.

This car does look like it’s in really nice shape, though, doesn’t it? Whether a person cares for the Continental Kit spare tire look or the unusual design, in general, this car does look like it’s in nice condition in the photos. The seller says that the body is not too bad and could be cleaned up, but I don’t see anything alarming, really, other than a dent on the rear bumper. I believe this is the higher trim level model, the Super, which had a few features that weren’t on the Deluxe models. The first-gen Americans were made in 1958, 1959, and 1960.

They do say that the floors have been patched and they’re “sufficient for the car’s condition”, which I think means that this car isn’t ready to roll onto a mirrored turntable at Pebble Beach, but it looks good to me. There would be a new four-door sedan for 1960, but I’m guessing that most Barn Finds readers would rather have a two-door car almost every time. I believe this car has the optional Flash-O-Matic automatic transmission as I don’t see a clutch pedal. The seller doesn’t list what transmission it has.

The engine should be AMC’s 195.6-cu.in. OHV inline-six with 125 horsepower. This one isn’t currently running but it does turn over, according to the seller. I’m sure that most Barn Finds readers could have this car running again in no time. Are there any fans of these somewhat awkward early Rambler Americans out there?

Comments

  1. jrhmobile

    I think spell-checker bit ya.

    It’s Champaign, not champagne …

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      HA! Dang, thanks, jrhmobile!

  2. Harvey Member

    Dual exhaust and flashomatic!

    Like 1
  3. Fred W

    Amazing how this car generates little interest, but the wagon version would have bidders salivating. I watched one like this go through a local car auction in similar condition in the early 90’s for $75.

    Like 3
    • PETE_W.

      Probably the most boring transportation device ever invented. My late, widowed grandmother had TWO of these things. Both the same except for color, neither were driven over 40mph while she owned them, nor were the back seats ever sat in. A means of getting from here to there, and little else. Anybody who bought one of these did so grudgingly.

  4. Pat

    My mother bought one used in 1963 for a whopping $300. It needed seat covers. No other issues. They still don’t bring much money.

    Like 3
  5. britcarguy

    When I see an engine shot and the air cleaner is off (which is not uncommon) I wonder why. What uncompleted fuel project awaits?

    Like 3
  6. Steve

    What interesting cars can you find from the 50s and 60s for reasonable prices?
    Just about anything from Rambler (AMC).

    Like 2
  7. Howard A Member

    Champaign, Champagne, what’s the difference? I have to agree with Steve, if low bids are any indication of interest, cars like this don’t have a chance, and that’s a shame, the 1960 American was a nice car. As mentioned before, the guy across the alley with the motorcycles, had a car just like this, as his winter beater. It had a flathead and automatic, acceleration was not it’s strong point. The OHV motor was new for 1960, although, I think the flathead was still available, and was a marked improvement. These cars routinely won the Mobil gas mileage trials, had a decent heater, even power steering. Don’t forget the reclining seats, a Rambler exclusive. The continental kit is always questionable, I think this is one of the times it looks okay.
    So, what’s going to happen to nice, usable classics like this, that don’t have an LS motor and 4 speed, in the future? Cars like this were not very popular outside of the midwest, and a low rust one is hard to find. Someone, who never heard of, or had any affiliation with Rambler, will resto-mod this thing to the nines, and at least it will be saved. Like this? A snowballs chance in Hades.

    Like 5
  8. Ray

    Your paid ads are OUT OF CONTROL!
    I know you have to pay the bills but this is too much!
    I may not be looking at your site anymore.

    Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Ray – We will look into the ads but you can get rid of them all by becoming a member. Thanks.

      Like 3
  9. Bob19116

    Almost all Rambler Americans through 1963 had the flathead 6 cylinder, so this car had the “higher” horsepower OHV engine. Nash made the downsized Nash Rambler for a few years in the early 1950’s, and after the Nash-Hudson merger, the new AMC took the early 50’s Nash Rambler, opened up the wheel wells and did a little updating to the car and it became this car, the 1st gen of Rambler American. So, AMC started the American compact economy car market years before the same sized Chevy-II/Nova, Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart. It is a part of auto history.

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Right on, pal, and I’m proud to say, made in my hometown. The American was kind of a Metropolitan on steroids( as if), and adequate for the time. Many people today don’t understand how it was in the 50s-60s, but rural travel was almost unheard of. Cities was were all the buzz was, and few ever left town. Compacts absolutely fit the bill. I think it was the Valiant/Falcon that really started any kind of nationwide compact movement, as, like I say, Rambler, and don’t forget the Lark, were more regional and never had a chance against them in sales.

      Like 1
    • Bob19116

      The Rambler American (with the flathead 6 cylinder) was the winner of the Mobil Economy Run for many years back in the early 1960’s. At that time AMC with President George Romney had almost no interest in racing. That changed with the introduction of the 1968 AMC Javelin and AMC hiring the Penske race team and driver Mark Donohue who won the Trans-Am pony car championship at least 2 times in the early 1970’s beating all the Camaros-TranAms , Mustangs and Barracudas.

      Like 1
  10. Bill W.

    Saw a green one like this at a Good Guys show in Scottsdale some years back. It won an award. Of course, it had a hemi under the “fully” closed hood.

    Like 1
  11. Denny N. Member

    I can find no data that says the 1958-60 American came with an OHV engine. This must be a swapped engine which could be OK or not depending on the competence of the installer.

    A bigger concern is that the drivers door is not fully closed (ajar). It could be that the owner didn’t fully close the door but it could also be a door sag that indicates the “A” pillar is rusted through where the hinges bolt on. This very thing happened to my ’58 American. The Rambler service manager said it would be very difficult and costly to repair this (unitized body). He clearly didn’t want to tackle the job.
    I’d definitely inspect this car in person before bidding.

    Like 3
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Beginning in 61, American Customs had an OHV 6 while the Deluxe and Super had the flathead.

    • Kris

      1960 was the first year for the OHV option

      Like 1
  12. Rodney - GSM

    The one year only “A-Jar Jar Binks” model.

  13. geezerglide85

    My father had one of the new ’61 Americans with the flathead and 3 on the tree.He said that the salesman tried to push him towards the ohv aluminum six, because that flathead had been around since the ’30’s. The old man said that’s why he wanted it. Ramblers were pretty popular where I grew up (NEPA) as we had 4 dealers in a 10 mile radius. It seems I’ve seen a few of these 1st series Americans with continental spare tire, was it an option on these?

    Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      C. kits were standard on many of the AMC top-line models, even Americans.

      Like 1
  14. Tbone

    I was reading the comments thinking that the only thing I was surprised nobody mentioned was the ridiculous continental kit. Thanks Geezer and Chuck. I was wondering if I was in a parallel universe. It seems ironic on this otherwise austere car.

    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      Austere? Hey austere it my way, this is a very cool car.
      A two door Rambler with a continental kit? You bet!

      Like 7
  15. PETE_W.

    Probably the most boring transportation device ever invented. My late, widowed grandmother had TWO of these things. Both the same except for color, neither were driven over 40mph while she owned them, nor were the back seats ever sat in. A means of getting from here to there, and little else. Anybody who bought one of these did so grudgingly.

  16. Rob Greenfield

    I would hate to take a long road trip in one, but every day driver / grocery getter – You Bet.

    Like 2
    • Kris

      Last June I drove my 1959 American Super with the 196 L-Head from Minnesota to Colorado. It is quite comfortable to cruise in. With the overdrive I can comfortably run 60mph all day long

      Like 1

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