History of the 1967-1970 AMC Rebel
The AMC Rambler Rebel was a completely new mid-size vehicle for 1967, replacing the long-lived Rambler Classic. Styling was typical for the era, with attractive and bold lines, and a wealth of body styles included two- and four-door sedans, a two-door hardtop or convertible, and a four-door station wagon. Trims ran from the basic 550 series (offered only in sedan and wagon), through the mid-grade 770 decor (sedan, wagon, or hardtop coupe), to the performance-oriented Super Sport Touring, or SST line (convertible and hardtop coupe).
Inside, the Rambler Rebels offered a new dash design, bringing all the instruments together in a tight cluster in front of the driver, and included the first collapsible steering column for crash safety. A long list of optional goodies included air conditioning, cruise control, power everything, and an 8-track tape player.
Engine options were also abundant on the 1967 Rambler Rebel, with a 232-cid six-cylinder at 145 or 155 horsepower, a 290-cid V-8 with 220 hp, or a 343-cid V-8 with 235 or 280 hp. Three-speed manual transmissions were standard, with an optional overdrive. Buyers could also opt for two grades of automatic transmission, including a floor-mounted selector in the SST series. V-8 customers could also purchase a true four-on-the-floor manual transmission with a heavy-duty clutch.
The Rebel received a light facelift for 1968, with most changes being a response to federally mandated safety features such as three-point seatbelts and headrests. The biggest news for the model year, however, was the introduction of a new 315-hp, 390-cid V-8. The convertible and hardtop coupe were extended to the base trim. Due to slow sales, the Rebel convertible was dropped in 1969, as was the mid-grade trim level. Engine options still included the base inline six at 145 or 155 hp, 290 V-8 at 225 hp, 343 V-8 at 235 or 280 hp, and the 390 at 325 hp.
For the final year of the line, the 1970 Rebel saw new grille and taillight treatments, plus more mandated safety equipment. For the most part, body styles and drivetrain options remained the same. The big noise this year was the addition of the Rebel Machine, which was developed by Hurst for AMC. The Machine was a Rebel SST with a four-speed transmission, and the 390-cid V-8 tuned to 340 horsepower. The engine was the most powerful unit American Motors Corporation offered for sale, and was an economical way for 2,326 buyers to compete in stoplight wars.
Collectors will find that history has been kind to the Rebel series. The cars are not flashy, but they are fairly handsome, offer plenty of power with the right V-8, and don’t command the same high prices that more mainstream muscle cars do. As such, they represent a great buy for an enthusiast who is not a brand loyalist. Of course, long being a low-cost muscle car, attrition has been high and restored examples are extremely rare. Parts aren’t really a problem, though, and general maintenance is affordable, so finding a straight car without rust is usually the biggest key to owner satisfaction. Otherwise, most buyers seek out SSTs, four-speeds, or the “flying brick,” as the Rebel Machine is affectionately known.