By Gary Freelen
It was 1995 I think, and I wasn't driving my 69 AMX. I thought that I should sell my car instead of letting it be lonely in the garage. I don't think it was the best decision I ever made, because the next year the car ended up in the scrap heap after getting into an accident. I had that car since I was 18, since 1977? What a shame.
I still kept my interest in the AMC La Marque and was always looking for the next vehicle. I watched the prices skyrocket, but I wasn't ready. I didn't have the room, and more than likely - the money. So I never jumped in. In more recent years, it made more sense to look a little harder but the 5 digit price tag for an AMX wasn't appealing to me. Especially when even at that price there would still be lots of work to be done. And just to get a car with 'good bones' wasn't easy. All the adds said 'rare' so the price went up accordingly.
I checked the on line ads, and made some calls, I even went down to the US one time to see a 65 Ambassador convertible, but the owner got tied up at the airport due to a storm, and never made it home in time for us to see the car. It was beautiful, and reasonable in price. But I never went back. I actually changed my thinking on a convertible, and wanted to focus on a 4 speed car. I missed the shifting from my AMX.
I looked through Kijiji a lot and one day I saw a very interesting vehicle. It was a 1968 Rambler American 290 '4 SPEED'. The car looked pretty clean from the few photos that were there. I thought the price was a little more than I wanted to spend. So I just watched it for the next few months. I am sure he had some previous suitors, and I thought that if it was meant to be (how about a license plate MEANT2B) then it would still be there. I still wasn't sure that I wanted this car, so I just let it go for a while.
A few months later I checked again, and it was still there! This was June and I finally made the first attempt at contacting the seller. I asked a few questions, but still wasn't sure whether I wanted to make the step. I was going away, and told him so. I said I would get back to him. When I got back from vacation, it was STILL there. C'mon this car must be in really bad shape! This time the price had dropped, still not to the level that I wanted, but we were getting closer. It was August and I finally made some arrangements to see this Rambler.
I could not have picked a worse day to see this car. The weather was cloudy, and it poured rain like I never have seen, outside of a waterfall. My umbrella needed an umbrella. The owner was not attending, but I was to see his father in Laurel Ontario. It was just outside of Orangeville. Not too far from Milton. The car had BC plates on it, so I think the owner was trying to subtly put an impression in the buyers mind that this car was from there. I knew in speaking to Jim Rae, that he had owned the car previously. So I came armed with history.
The car started right up in the monsoon that I was wearing, and ran nicely. We looked at the engine, and tried to keep a dry eye and get a good look all the other features of the car. It certainly was clean on the outside, as we had all been power washed. The car had been sitting for 6 years, and was driven back from BC where the owner had taken it there from Ontario. The father had been driving it unlicensed on the little Laurel lanes to visit his friends, and enjoyed driving the car. He has also kept the brakes in shape, and actually put new oil in it before it was delivered to my place.
We stopped the car, and went in the house and talked some more. The alternator had been replaced with a GM brand alternator in order to give it more amperage than the AMC one would ever provide. It got ‘amp'd’ up! The father said he had a spare wiper motor and I still have yet to see it yet, but I will get up there to pick it up. The owner and his father were very genuine, and that helped make the decision easier.
This car had the bones! It took a couple of days and I called the owner and we made the deal. It included delivery! I am very happy to be the proud owner of a car that was delivered from the same dealership that my AMX was sold from. W.A. McDowell Motors, in the west end of Toronto. The car was delivered on Dec. 9 1967. What a grand day that was for Mrs. Lois Morash.
I haven't done much to it yet, but brakes on the agenda, and I want to drive it before I do too much. I have some clutch pedal adjustments to do, buy new tires, a little body work on a blister behind the driver's door. I need to put a pin in the bottom door hinge. It needs door seals, and some interior work down the road. The seats are bench in front, and they are still very comfortable. I will have to check out the back seats with Sonia.
I still go on Kijiji to look for AMC's, but now it is to see if I see another 68 Rambler American for sale to get some parts. Let me know if you know of any. I am at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.