Restyling of the 1967 AMC Marlin
In the 1967 fiscal year, a rather strange thing happened to the Marlin -- it grew even bigger, built now on the Ambassador's 118-inch-wheelbase chassis. The restyling of the 1967 AMC Marlin was even stranger when one recalls that the company had already decided to drop the fastback after the 1967 model year.
In the 1967 fiscal year, a rather strange thing happened to the Marlin -- it grew even bigger, built now on the Ambassador's 118-inch-wheelbase chassis. The move was even stranger when one recalls that the company had already decided to drop the fastback after the 1967 model year. In any case, overall length increased by 6.5 inches to 201.5, and at 78.4 inches the car was four inches wider, all of which contributed to a larger interior.
"Even with bucket seats, there's plenty of room for six swingers," proclaimed the sales brochure. Featured was all-new sheetmetal below the beltline, a new "black anodized grille harboring twin rally lights," a cleaner rear deck, and a new emphasis on luxury: "The flair of a fastback, the luxury of Ambassador." All for $2963, a $362 increase from 1966.
Among the luxury appointments were "thick, loop-pile carpeting; upholstery fabrics covering coil spring seats; padded acoustical ceiling with the soft look of suede; padded instrument panel from door to door"; and, "The luxury of a new suspension system and wide road stance that tames the wildest backcountry roads, gives you a civilized ride."
Upholding the sporty side of the Marlin were "options you take for granted in a sports fastback: sports steering wheel; Typhoon V-8 performance; four-on-the-floor; vinyl or fabric buckets that recline; electric tachometer; power disc brakes."
All in all, the '67 Marlin really was a handsome car, helped largely by the curvier styling and "Coke-bottle" flanks, which blended in more smoothly with the fastback roofline. It was "the best looking Marlin we built," says Teague. Alas, the new styling didn't help sales, which plummeted to a miserable 2545 units.
Early in January of 1967, Abernethy was out of American Motors. The directors chose Chapin as chairman and chief executive officer and made William V. Luneburg president and chief operating officer. Evans remained as a director. Other management changes were made as well, and AMC hired a new advertising agency, Wells, Rich, Greene, Inc. But all these moves, plus the sale of the Kelvinator applicance division to White Consolidated Industries, failed to stem the tide of huge losses that were accumulating. In the calendar year, only 229,058 cars were produced, and AMC reported a horrendous loss of $75.8 million.
To hype sales, the '67 Marlin appeared on the Ambassador chassis. Most thought that the longer hood and curvier flanks blended better with the fastback roofline.
The Marlin was gone. Abernethy was gone. The Romney image was only a memory.
Output of the Marlin reached 10,327 units for the second half of '65, but tumbled by half to 4547 for the entire '66 model year, and then to only 2545 for '67. But AMC had a better sporty-car idea for 1968-the Javelin was on its way.
And, by September 1988, the Kenosha assembly and stamping operations will be gone, too, ending an 86 year tradition that began in 1902 with the Jeffrey Motor Company. Having taken over AMC in 1987, Chrysler-like the rest of the industry-was reacting to dwindling sales and production overcapacity, and had said late in 1987 that at least one plant would have to be closed. Kenosha, the oldest automotive plant in the industry, and less efficient because of its multistory layout, ended up as the scapegoat. But the venerable Kenosha plant leaves holding its head high-it builds the highest quality cars within the entire Chrysler empire.
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