Russ H 1965 Rambler American 330 4dr Station Wagon

Finding Rosie

I first saw Rosie in a brochure for the 2005 G. Potter King Auction in Atlantic City. In the picture, she looked like a brown over gold station wagon Rambler made in 1965. It was love at first sight. Now, I had to convince my wife, Cindy.

We had already made plans to attend the auction, as we did every year before we bought Rosie (we haven’t been back since). I mentioned to my wife the fact that my Dad had a 1964 wagon similar to the one up for auction in the hopes that just that would convince her that we had to bid on this one. I let it slide for a few weeks.

The brochure claimed that Rosie would be auctioned off on Thursday; a day free of bidders charges. What a stroke of luck! Luck doesn’t follow me. Rosie wasn’t there on Thursday. We waited all day and finally left around three o’clock in the afternoon. We just got down to the first floor of the Convention Center when my friend upstairs called me on my cell phone. “Your car just drove in!”, he told me. We dashed back upstairs; well, I dashed. I believe Cindy told me she’d catch up. When we got back upstairs the owner was just putting her into the allotted space. What!???! She was brown over a washed out taupe!! The front seat inserts didn’t match the original rear inserts. Whatever!! I introduced myself and told the owner I was interested in the car. There were a couple of other people carousing around her (something that annoyed me to no end!). Through the course of the conversation I found out that he was the first/second owner. This may sound as confusing to you as it did to me then, but it’s really simple. His wife’s mother was the original owner. Ok. Solid body; no visible rust; totally original looking with just 73,000 miles on the clock. I asked him just what he thought would be the price he’d want over the block. “$4000.00” was his answer. What would you think? Well, if you wanted this car as much as I did, you’d think it was a done deal! Ha, ha! The best laid plans, blah, blah, blah, blah! I forgot to say that the pamphlet was incorrect. The Rambler crossed the block on Friday, a prime day for bidder’s charges. How auctioneers play people!

Rosie crossed the block at near noon the following day. Being new to the car auction crowd, even though I had a bidders pass for that weekend, I was hesitant to bid on the very car I would eventually own. The bidding stopped at $2600.00, without my bidding a single dollar!. The owner passed on the bid and at that time I thought all was lost! We hung around in the stands with our friend for a couple of hours and finally left. Back in our hotel I received yet another call from our friend, Stephen. He called to tell me that the car was back on the block for the second time. Did I want to bid? YES! YES!!! So, with the understanding that I would repay him, he agreed to bid on the car this second time for me. We stayed on the phone during the auction. The bids at first rapidly increased, with me thoroughly in the bidding at this time. It’s much easier to be in the thick of things when you aren’t really in the thick of things. The price increased to $2700.00 and I encouraged Stephen to go the extra big one. The bidding stopped at my $2800.00 bid. I waited it seemed like hours but only minutes before I heard the auctioneer state that the bid was refused!!

Sometimes enough is enough! I stewed in my own juices, as it’s said, for two or three hours that afternoon. Finally, around eight at night, I called the owners cell number he’d left on the windshield of the car.

“Look. I really want this car”, I told him. “What’s it gonna take?” He gave me a figure I didn’t like and I reciprocated with another bid. After one hour on the phone and finalizing the bid with his wife, who was the real owner, we came to an agreement that was more to his liking than mine. We’ve all been there. Other deals have made up for that one over the years. I hang up, tell Cindy we’ve just become the owner of a 1965 Rambler American station wagon and she says to me……”You know you have to be at work tomorrow afternoon at two?” Oops!

We were on the Atlantic City Expressway discussing just what should be done about this most grievous situation when Cindy came up with such a simple plan. Tell the truth!! WHAT? Ok, I’ll try that. So, I called him and explained that I didn’t have time to buy the car that weekend and could we make it some time in the future? He agreed. How simple! Sometimes I hate Cindy. Just kidding. She’s my guiding light. I couldn’t live without her.

Sometimes work schedules and other appointment get in the way of what we want. February turned into March. March turned into April. We finally came to an agreement about the pickup date and Cindy and I and our daughter Katie drove to Englewood, New Jersey from Nazareth, Pennsylvania to pick up the station wagon. Too bad it was the very weekend that Ivan hit the East Coast! We made our way all the way to Englewood, only to miss our exit. After several swear words we had back tracked and nearly missed it again if it hadn’t been for my yelling from the back seat! Finding our way with the mixed blessings of MapQuest, we found that we couldn’t get into this gated community from the entrance we had found. A couple of trips around the block we decided that we would just push the button on the gate to gain access. It worked! Wow!

Now, at this point it had been raining only lightly. The weather was damp but that was it. After arriving at the owner’s house (there she sat in the driveway…………looking as lovely as I’d remembered) I finalized the transaction and we all took off in Cindy’s car to procure a temporary license to drive the wagon home. As usual, there were a couple of weird people in front of us in line. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are in the wrong line.

Temporary license in hand we are on the road home. Aw, oh! It’s starting to rain. Excuse me. It’s starting to pour!!!!! Ramblers have what’s known as vacuum wipers. That means they work off of the vacuum from the engine. Accelerate and the wipers slow down. Combine that with the fact that the wipers should have been replaced in 1996 and we’ve got a problem. No problem! I’ve got it under control. Through the downpour I just looked out the passenger side of the windshield! After all, I’m just following the silver Dodge I can hardly see in the pouring rain. Should be easy!

“Nough said. I made it home without changing the wipers, although I had thought about stopping once or several times during the drive. Perseverance pays off!

As an aside, a week later on a lovely day, we drove the Rambler to the local Auto Zone to look for a paint color that would match the original engine color; two miles at the most. I pulled into the space in front of Auto Zone and the car just quite on me. Literally conked out! I called my mechanic and he came down to check it out. He pulled off the distributor cap and showed me the rotor tab, which was the thickness of waxed paper! Sometimes luck is on my side!

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