1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop

1963 Rambler American convertible, part of the 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop line
1963 Rambler American convertible

The 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop was the sportiest of the final 100-inch-wheelbase Ramblers and arguably the most desirable now. The 1961 Americans were essentially Nash's successful 1950-1955 design as revived and updated for 1958, but with completely new outer sheet metal by American Motors design director Edmund A. Anderson.

The reskin did a good job of disguising 10-year-old bodies, but produced unfashionably stubby cars that looked small even for compacts, but they did get away from the old "bathtub" look. Mainstream offerings remained two- and four-door sedans and wagons, but a convertible was offered for the first time since 1954, newly reconfigured with roll-down door glass instead of fixed side-window frames.

A hardtop coupe joined the convertible in the top-trim series for 1963. The ragtop was initially a Custom, then a "400," and finally a "440." The hardtop came for 1963 as a bench-seat 440 and bucket seat 440-H. All but the last carried AMC's smallest six in 125-horsepower form; the 440-H had the 138-bhp version from the intermediate Rambler Classic.

Sporty body types notwithstanding, these cars have slim chance of becoming prized collectibles, certainly much less than their better-looking successors, but they merit consideration by budget-minded hobbyists as interesting and fairly uncommon, cheap -- and fun -- wheels.

Pluses of the 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

  • Ample support from two major clubs
  • Convertible's top-down allure
  • Do-it-yourself simple
  • Easy on gas
  • Fun on a budget
  • Hardtop's likely rarity

Minuses of the 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

  • Boxy (if tidy) styling
  • Many body/trim parts hard to find
  • Modest appreciation potential
  • Pedestrian performance
  • Rust-prone

Production of the 1961 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

  • Custom convertible: 10,855
  • Convertible (bucket seats): 2,063

Production of the 1962 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

  • 400 Convertible: 13,497

Production of the 1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

  • 440 convertible: 4,750
  • 2-door hardtop: 5,101
  • 400-H 2-door hardtop: 9,749

Specifications of the 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:
Wheelbase, inches: 100.0
Length, inches: 173.1

Weight, pounds: 2,550-2,743
Price, new
: $2,136-$2,369 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1961-1963 Rambler American Convertible & Hardtop:

ohv I-6
195.6 cid

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