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History of the 1969 American Motors SC/Rambler
Even though American Motors Corporation was already offering bona fide muscle cars in 1969 with the Javelin and AMX, the usually staid company joined the race in earnest with the SC/Rambler. Based upon a standard Rambler, the SC/Rambler was a muscle car boiled down to its most vital essence: a big and powerful motor crammed into the smallest, lightest body available. It carried little in the way of creature comforts and cost less than $3,000, giving it one of the highest-horsepower-to-dollar ratio of any car on the market at the time.
The AMC SC/Rambler was produced in conjunction with Hurst, giving it true street cred. The car’s 315-hp, 390-cid V-8 breathed through a single four-barrel carburetor, and it could rocket the SC/Rambler to 60 mph from standstill in the 6-second range, with quarter-mile times in the low 14s. These numbers were competitive with cars that carried twice the price tag. Heavy-duty brakes and suspension were outfitted, as was a front sway bar, a limited-slip differential, and a four-speed manual transmission. No creature comforts accompanied the car and handling was a bit primitive, even by muscle car standards, but that was no matter since the SC/Rambler was primarily built as a drag strip weapon.
All of those details aside, the SC/Rambler is remembered more than anything for its wild looks. A relatively conservative “B” paint scheme was available, but approximately 80% of SC/Ramblers were decked out in the outlandish “A” scheme. A red, white, and blue spectacle, the SC/Rambler had stripes, bands, words, and more. A massive scoop soared high above the hood and carried two decals that read “Air.” A large arrow began at the edge of the hood lid and actually directed air flow into the snorkel’s enormous maw. The paint scheme was cheeky and flamboyant, and was impossible to ignore.
Today the SC/Rambler isn’t quite the budget muscle it was when new, as it has earned a dedicated following. Buyers tend to prefer the once-shunned, loud-and-proud “A” paint, mainly because it was the most notable attribute of the car. Still, the “B” cars are rarer and less often forged, making them worthwhile pursuits. Just over 1,500 were built, so some trim parts can be costly and difficult to source. Most of the mechanical bits, however, were shared with other AMC cars, so motor rebuilds and the like are not prohibitively expensive.
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