Rambler drove for UK

sales

American Motors Rambler Classic 6

THE US car industry had export sales in its sights in the 1960s and the UK was certainly part of the grand plan.

One of the most interesting models to reach our shores was the Rambler Classic 6, spearhead of the American Motors drive to inspire Brit drivers.

The Classic 6 had more chance than most because of its intermediate size and, for an American car in the UK, reasonable price.

It was on the stand at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show with a quoted price of £1,514, much cheaper than the Ford Galaxie and Plymouth Fury.

The problem was that the same money could have bought a Daimler 2.5 V8 or, for a hundred or so pounds more a Rover P5 3.0-litre.

But if you had a transatlantic view of things, the Classic 6 was one of the more sensible American options.

For a start it was not massively powered with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine turning out 127bhp with the choice of three-speed manual, overdrive or automatic transmissions.

The Classic 6 featured a top speed of 96mph and an economy readout of 25mpg, which was about the norm for some British larger cars.

In its home country the Rambler was a winner for AMC from the 1961 to 1966.

It even won a Car of the Year award in the US in 1963.

The Rambler was the focus of a new management strategy at AMC which defied the detractors with its emphasis on economical and compact-sized cars achieving a sales total of 370,600 vehicles in 1961, lifting the Rambler to an unprecedented third place in the charts behind Chevrolet and Ford.

A brave effort in the UK which was always rather reticent over American cars.

The Classic 6 was never going to be a raceaway winner against such strong home-built cars but its design philosophy was such that it did blend in here far more than most US cars on offer at the time.

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