Restoring my AMC was more than fun; it was therapy

Mike Struss

I was 19 years old in 2004, when I picked up my first Rambler after seeing it for sale on the side of the road in Homeland, California.

It was a 1969, and I traded it straight across for my partially operational Ford Bronco II. During the process of working on the Rambler, I had just rebuilt the carburetor and thought it would be cool to do a big burnout in reverse. Well, my friend happened to pull up behind me as I was doing that, and I smashed the whole rear of the car. In the end, I sold it for $500.

Throughout the years, I kept my eyes open for a replacement, and in 2018, I came across a 1968 Rambler. Going through a tough divorce, I purchased the car from a 95-year-old woman in El Segundo, California, to help keep my mind right. I planned to spend all the free time I had focusing on something positive—this new project.

My mission was to completely rebuild the car. In less than two years, I got my Rambler roadworthy. I had all the bodywork and paint done professionally, sticking close to the original paint scheme but with some added touches—I used BMW’s water-based two-stage Donington Grey metallic, which really stands out. I also tinted the windows and painted the window frames black to mimic a hard-top Rambler.

AMC Rambler interior
Mike Struss

I had all the seats redone in tweed and replaced the vinyl floor with a carpet kit I found on eBay. I then added some American Racing wheels I picked up from a 1965 Ford Mustang. To top it all off, I have a 383 stroker motor waiting for the day the original 232 AMC six gives up—which might never happen, so I may have a running 232 for sale in the near future.

It has been a fun, therapeutic build, and I look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming Southern California car shows.

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    Beautiful car, and that therapy is the best kind of therapy!!! Better than paying a shrink!!! Congratulations a job well done!!! Glenn in Brooklyn, NY.

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