The Taxman Cometh: 1966 AMC Ambassador DPL

AMC, it’s easy as 1 2 3; as simple as do re mi, AMC, 1 2 3, baby you and me, girl… Simple this car is not, as in trying to figure out if a person should bid on this gorgeous, perfect, desirable 1966 AMC Ambassador DPL on eBay or not. This car is located in Marlow, Oklahoma and it looks like a fly-in-drive-home kind of car. The current bid price is just over $3,600 but the reserve isn’t met. If a certain person wouldn’t have gotten raked over the coals, tax-wise (me), I would be a serious bidder on this car. Hopefully one of you will snag it to keep it in the family!

First off, a disclaimer about the photos: my apologies that they’re grainy, but the photos in the eBay ad were tiny, not much bigger than thumbnails, and after enlarging them to the minimum size here they don’t look as crisp as I know this car has to be. I regret missing out on a ’66 Ambassador DPL two or three years ago, a white two-door with a black vinyl top that had power windows, AC, and a great houndstooth interior, and it’s haunted me ever since. I’m assuming that the reserve on this car is $6,000+, maybe more, or maybe a lot more.

This color is Barcelona Medium Taupe according to the seller and it sure looks like this car is in fantastic condition. But, with the tiny photos, it’s hard to tell. They say that there are only 49,000 miles on this car, I’d have a hard time not driving it half again that distance in the next year of ownership if I had this one. The 1965 and 1966 Ambassadors had stacked headlights which were sort of a trend, or a rage, or a thing, or maybe were just popular at the time.

This is the brocade interior, beautiful. The DPL, which stands for Diplomat, was the top offering for AMC in 1966 and it was meant to complete with the Plymouth VIP, another personal favorite, and the Chevy Caprice, Ford LTD, and Olds Cutlass Supreme.

This is the engine to have in this car: AMC’s 327 V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor and 270 hp.  There isn’t much information at all given about this particular car or its operating condition, just sort of general information about the DPL and the options on this car. No word if the AC works but I’m assuming that it does, and no mention of rust or if it’s had any bodywork or a repaint, but I’m assuming that it’s not the original paint because the seller twice mentions that it’s finished in its original paint color, not its original paint. Not that it matters, this is one beautiful car. I never thought tax time could be so doubly-painful as having this car come up for sale at this time! Have any of you missed out on a dream car because of having to pay income taxes?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Gunner

    Love this stacked headlight beauty. Great color combination with the right engine . I have really grown to appreciate the AMC cars of this era. So unique. Nice find.

  2. Cubs win

    I’ve seen this car and it is beautiful. Such a pretty color combo with bucket and a console plus that 327 it has power too. Can’t go wrong here.

  3. Racingpro56

    My dream car (not counting the ones i couldn’t possibly afford).

  4. gbvette62

    I’ve always had a thing for AMC’s, I think it had something to do with being the underdog. Technically, I’ve never owned an AMC, though my wife had a Javelin, when we got married (I replaced it with a Corvette).

    I love that color, but I thought it was called Marquessa Mauve in 66, at least that’s what it was called on the 66 Marlin a friend use to have.
    .
    I like redlines, but I think white walls would work better with that color.

    • Scotty Staff

      I think you’re correct on the color, gbvette62!

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    I do like this one….a lot. I am on the fence concerning the redlines with those wheel covers though. Maybe a set of AMC rally wheels from around the period or Magnum 500’s ? If not, I would swap out the redlines for whitewalls.

  6. Jeffro

    Never had a problem with the IRS. IRS probably took pity on me as my ex wives pretty much wiped me out. Old joke: Why do divorces cost so much? Cause they’re worth it!
    This is a gorgeous car. Love the color. And it has beautiful styling!

    Like 1
  7. Todd Zuercher

    Crummy pictures taken here in Phoenix.

  8. Loco Mikado

    I would love to own this car.

    My dad owned a ’65 and it was one of his cars I learned to drive on in 1966. The 327 would burn rubber and cruise effortlessly at 80mph, with me driving and my dad in the passenger seat telling me not to slow down. A lot of memories driving one and I ended up with the ’63 Classic V8 that had been my mom’s car. He offered it to me when he got rid of it and I turned it down, wish I hadn’t have now.

    To anyone buying this car first thing, REPLACE THE TIMING CHAIN AND GEARS. It is not a mater of whether they will go out, just a matter of when. This applies to the originals, replacement ones will last as long as any others.Ask me how I know. But it is the only weak point(and only 60-66) of an otherwise good V8 engine

  9. racer417

    Correct color is Marquessa Mauve. A beauty!

  10. Howard A Member

    Pretty sure, this was top of the line for Rambler. It appears every box was checked when someone ordered this. I do see an all important electric wiper update,( Not sure you could get that in ’66) a worthy upgrade, trust me. My grandfather had a ’65 4 door Ambassador, not quite as fancy, but it was the fanciest car he ever had, and it was his last. Always thought the steering wheel was too big, and I never cared for stacked head lights, but this is one sweet Rambler. I’d bet this is a restoration of an already clean car. Rambler motors were never that clean. Can’t go wrong here.
    As far as the taxman, old as history itself.

  11. Howard A Member

    Ladies and gentlemen,,,,THE BEATLES!!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbQiVQuiu04

    • Don

      A lot better then Scotty’s the Jackson 5 🎸

  12. Loco Mikado

    Howard A, electric wipers were optional since ’63, but all the vacuum since ’63 had a double diaphragm fuel pump which solved most of problems with vacuum wipers. I however added a vacuum canister to mine which eliminated all the problems. The one nice thing about vacuum wipers is that they are infinitely adjustable for speed, where electrics have preset speeds. As far as to engine cleanliness they were just as clean as any other of the era, all engines with any mileage on them weeped fluids in the day. I find it amazing nowadays that my 28 year old car has no drips under it as a 2 or 3 year old car back in 50’s-60’s always had slight drips. If you look at videos from the ’40’s-’50’s-’60’s and look at the roads they all have a dark streak down the middle of the lane from cars leaking fluids. When I was growing up everybody’s garage had a drip pan or a piece of cardboard under the car.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Loco ( pardon the chuckle) I agree, vacuum wipers are still better than the manual crank ones, but no matter what they tried, vacuum wipers still had a lot to be desired. My ’50 Packard ( among several other vehicles) had a double fuel pump and many of my Rambler cars had them. The problem, was the cars were so underpowered, you’d pretty much have your foot to floor, deeming the vacuum wipers useless. I remember, letting up on the gas momentarily, to get the windscreen clear, then back to the floor. My air wipers in my semi, basically the same principle, but opposite, I liked a lot better. Back then, it was a different kind of driving, and vacuum wipers were adequate. I agree, ALL older cars leaked oil like a sieve, but at 25 cents a quart( sometimes 5 for a buck) it was cheaper to just add oil.

  13. That AMC Guy

    Very nice car! Looks like an add-on aftermarket air conditioner. There are no vents in the dash, just an underdash unit, and no fan shroud under the hood. (The factory AC would have large vents to the right of the instrument cluster, above the radio.)

    Electric wipers are a nice touch. Wonder if this car has the optional front disc brakes? If so, unless updated along the way the rear drums are a unique “non-servo” design for which parts are basically nonexistent. (This was done to balance the brake system without the use of a proportioning valve.)

    • Loco Mikado

      Wouldn’t be too hard to go with the Delco Remy 10″ brakes that the non disk brake V8 cars used(sixes used 9″ Wagner\Lockheed0 and install a proportioning valve or convert. The exact same brake system used on probably 15-25,000,000 GM cars. They also used the DR window distributor and the rear shocks interchange with tri 5 Chevrolet

      • That AMC Guy

        Biggest pain in changing the rear brakes to something more serviceable is dealing with the funky 2-piece axle/hub assembly that AMC used. I need to do this on a disc brake equipped ’65 Marlin that I’m working on. (Power front discs were standard on Marlin for 1965.) For that matter, the old-school 4-piston Bendix calipers and associated parts are not very common at this pooint. Fortunately, changing over to a more modern disc system is not a very tough job.

  14. Blindmarc

    Love everything about this one…….❤

  15. Squanto

    Sweet.

  16. Richard

    Even if the A/C in not working, this is the most common AC compressor on the market. The Compressor is a York style and any truck dealer stocks them by the 100’s

  17. Doug Towsley

    obviously there is a lot of love for this car, cool in a Madmen Don Draper kind of way. But one of my favorite authors is Hunter S Thompson and he wrote some amazing material. One of his lessor known works was a compilation of his letters, From Lyndon Johnson to Joan Baez, his letters set a standard few have equalled for writing well and scathing at times, But one of my favorites is the letter to the President of American Motors. R.A. Abernathy, Written Dec 1. 1965 regarding his 1959 Rambler Custom. The letter is on pages 548-551 in the book “The Proud Highway, Saga of a desperate Southern Gentleman” aka “The fear and loathing letters volume 1.
    The letter is epic and if you are a true AMC fan or just like letting people know your thoughts you really should seek this out. I tried finding a copy online to cut and paste here and was not successful. “Buy the ticket, take the ride” as Hunter would say so I guess just buy the damn book.
    But to say he rips Abernathy a new one is minimizing the true genius of the letter. As a bonus apparently HST received a bland form letter in return which caused him to write even more.
    Heres a short quote:
    “Dear Mr Abernathy:
    I received the letter from your flunky and consider it a challenge to my imagination. With the help of several friends I am going to turn my car into an exhibit, ete etc,,,,,,,,,,
    In closing, I remain, Yours for more creative advertising.
    Sincerely,
    Hunter S. Thompson.

    • MrF

      Abernethy

      • Doug Towsley

        “Abernethy”,, Interesting! (I am always correcting people on trivia like this, so very cool someone spotted that!)
        But I checked multiple times,, when typing and just rechecked as well in the book as its still sitting here on my desk when I couldnt find it online.
        Its misspelled then in the books index, and in the pages regarding both letters. So, editor, typesetter, or proof reader all misspelled it, or Hunter S Thompson got it wrong originally, Or,,, perhaps it really IS Abernathy. Good catch.
        I know somebody locally who is in Law Enforcement and that person is in REALLY Hot water right now over a background check that failed to catch a career criminal. This guy went under 2 spellings but still,,, The fecal matter is hitting the recip assy and will be continuing for some time. I am pleased this little spelling issue is minor in comparison. But the letters are well worth a read. I think it would be fun If I owned a AMC to display copies of those letters with the car.

    • Tim Rusling

      Doug, the fecal matter was hitting the rotational assembly, not recip.
      Our family has had 11 AMC cars throughout the years, and their characters made them very worthwhile cars to enjoy. All I have now is a pair of Pacers – a woody wagon and a rare-optioned coupe.

  18. Luke Fitzgerald

    Odd lookin’ things – glad people like ’em

  19. Stephen

    These have never been on my radar. But wow, what a beautiful car. Much cooler than an equivalent Big Three of that era.

  20. Michael thomas

    we had a 65 and it was a great car. the salesman demonstrated the new headliner by punching is fist up into it. It was the first year and car I remember that did not have a sewn cloth headliner but was fiberglass and some sort of memory foam. it looked great, worked well, the heat never was a problem on my head and held up very well. The car gave us no problems at all . Only thing we did was a carb rebuild and a water pump.

  21. MrF

    I agree that the red line tires are unexpected and conflict with the car’s color. I owned a very nice 65 990H, which was very much like this 66. The dashboard and interior are quite an eyeful. One oddity was that the transmission started out in second gear unless first was selected-or perhaps if the accelerator was floored. Perhaps some artifact from the era of fairly “shiftless” automatics like Buick and even Chevrolet.

    • Loco Mikado

      They had 2 drive ranges on the Borg Warner automatic transmissions. If you look at the transmission quadrant the letter D is flanked by a small 2 on the left and a small 1 on the right about halfway up the D. The quadrant indicator will point at either the 1 or the 2 dependsing on which you select. Drive 2 will start out in second and shift into high where if you select Drive one it starts in low, then to second and then to high. Drive 2 is especially nice when starting out in ice or snow. L is low which will start in low and stay there no matter what your speed. However if you shift into L above 20 mph the transmission will shift into second and stay there until the vehicle speed falls below 20 mph where at that time it will downshift into low. If you start out in low and and upshift to drive above 20 mph which the transmission will upshift to second and then quickly move the lever to L it will stay in second untill you either put the shift lever in D position or if your vehicle speed falls below 20 mph it will shift into low.. I drove my ’63 Classic v8 like this and the transmission was still working good when I totaled it in a wreck at 144,000 miles. Never had the pan off and still on factory filter and fluid, all I ever did is add fluid if low.

      • Ed P

        Several early automatics did not start in low. The 1-2 (or low-high) upshift was difficult to time. The early Powerglide, Dynaflow, Packard Ultramatic and Borg-Warner units had low gear but started in 2nd or high.

      • That AMC guy

        The 2-range deal with D1 and D2 was only used on the automatics with column-shift. The floor shift, which this car is equipped with, had the Rambler “Shift Command” system. You could manually select each gear or just leave it in Drive as desired. (“For Mom and Dad it shifts itself but I can shift by hand!” – 1965 Rambler radio commercial.)

      • Loco Mikado

        Oldtimers must be setting in. I forgot about that but the cars with floor shift automatics are a very low percentage and I have only seen one in the wild(outsde of car shows)and that was over 40 years ago, making this car all that more desirable. But I believe the Shift Command started in low when placed in drive.

  22. 88V8

    I have a 63 with the 327 on a 2bbl. It makes an effortless 340 lbft at just 2,700 rpm. so starting in 2nd is no sweat. Only thing that lets down the trans is the floppy badly designed column shifter,
    Just had the vacuum wiper motor rebuilt by Peter Stathes, but it’s been so dry over here in the UK I haven’t yet had to use it.
    The drum brakes are really powerful. They self-adjust, but weirdly they adjust only in reverse.

  23. Doug Towsley

    Well set up drum brakes CAN be quite effective and powerful, Its brake fade & heat that is their nemesis. From a strictly physics and engineering point of view, Drum brakes tend to have more pad/shoe material in contact with the drum than a disc pad (Much smaller area) There are shortfalls where owners/installers dont arc in the pads properly thus the actual contact patch is much smaller than intended. Bedding in new brakes also is critical. Arc in the pads, True the drum surface, bed them in properly and you have a very effective stopper. Most car drum brakes use a Single leading shoe design. This means there is a pivot at the bottom typically and the Brake cylinder near the top that pushes the pads/shoes outwards. A more effective design is what is known as Twin leading shoes where the pads/shoes are pushed out top AND bottoms for a more full contact instead of pivoting or fulcrum. I have seen a few early racing brakes and some Italians this way but typically most cars are all SLS. But in motorcycles, the TLS design is more common. On 1968-1970 Triumphs and BSAs had their best brake design ever,, 71-73 was good as well, but few owners maintain them properly so many complaints,,but the Asians used these designs on a wide range of bikes with drums.(Quite common on Honda-Suzuki-Kawasaki-Bridgestone)

    As to self adjusting. I would have to look up the patents but to my knowledge MOST American and Asian cars with Drum brakes are self adjusting but in Reverse only. The design is quite simple and clever, A small lever goes across the adjuster and the procedure after overhauling and then periodically is drive slowly in reverse while feathering the brake pedals.

  24. Smittydog

    The “adults” tried talking me into one of these for my first car in ’69. I wiggled out of that and bought a ’66 Mustang with a 4 speed. Got a ticket hot rodding and lost my license for 3 months. So I had plenty of time, so I rebuilt the motor with the help of the mechanic accross the street. The beginning of buying and building and racing in the Motorcity. All thanks to that ugly Ambassador.

  25. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: the action for this car ended at $9,100 with no sale! Wow.

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