1969 Rambler SC/Rambler


Even in the late '60s, the Rambler SC/Rambler stood out as one wild ride. Its looks screamed performance and its mechanicals backed that up.
Even in the late '60s, the Rambler SC/Rambler stood out as one wild ride. Its looks screamed performance and its mechanicals backed that up.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The idea of a Rambler with the bargain-basement muscle car character of a Plymouth Road Runner may seem pretty farfetched, but a passable attempt was made by American Motors with the one-year-only 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler. At a base price under $3,000, on par with the Road Runner, AMC offered a 390-cid V-8 with 315 bhp, a close-ratio all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox with Hurst linkage and shifter, and 3.54:1 no-slip differential.

Also included were stiff suspension, quick steering, heavy-duty clutch and cooling system, tachometer, dual exhausts with glass-pack mufflers, cold-air induction, and Goodyear Polyglas tires. Added niceties came in the form of chrome hood tie-downs, teardrop rearview mirrors, special exterior paint, woodgrain steering wheel, reclining front bucket seats, and all-vinyl upholstery -- all wrapped in the clean, lithe hardtop Rambler Rogue body styled by Dick Teague for the Rambler American. It was quite a buy, and what you bought you took with no alterations. Said an AMC price list: "no other optional equipment items will be included or permitted."

For a generation spawned on econobox Rambler Americans that had once been compared to army ordnance vehicles, league's heads-up styling department made sure people would recognize the "Scrambler" as a Rambler with a difference. They painted it red, white, and blue, blacked-out the grille, designed a prominent scoop for the cold-air induction, and equipped the car with Red Line tires on smart mag-style wheels. Hurst had been a partner in its development, so it was jointly announced by Hurst and AMC on February 13,1969. Drag strip artists Dave Landrith of Hurst and Walt Czarnecki of AMC had much to do with its development.

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Although most 1969 Rambler SC/Ramblers came with bold red, white, and blue graphics, 500 of the 1,512 produced had a more subtle paint scheme.
Although most 1969 Rambler SC/Ramblers came with bold red, white, and blue graphics, 500 of the 1,512 produced had a more subtle paint scheme.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Production of the 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler was supposed to be only 500 units, apparently to homologate the SC/Rambler for National Hot Rod Association competition in the F/Stock class. There it would face off against 'Cuda 340s and W-31 Olds 4-4-2s. Rules required only 500, but AMC was hungry enough to build as many as it could sell. Demand caused the final figure to be 1,512.

There were paint variations and detail changes to items like the hood scoop, but the basic color scheme was a white body with broad red bodyside band outlined in black; a wide blue racing stripe down the roof and deck; another blue stripe on the hood, forming an arrow pointing at the big scoop; and corresponding red/white/blue accents on the gray vinyl interior.

According to marketing vice president R. W. McNealey, "The SC/Rambler is the ideal vehicle for the motorist who wants better-than-average performance and also a car that is uniquely different from 70 million others on the streets today . . . for the motorist who wants a customized car, but has neither the time nor inclination [or the money?] to build it himself." Routine PR stuff, that, but hear another AMC press release: "imagine the looks on faces when you lay down an e.t. in the low 14s at, say, 98 mph . . . right off the showroom floor! And set up for the strip with a little sharp tuning, who knows? You might be turning 12s." This was the AMC that a scant decade before was ridiculing the horsepower race and selling the public on 25 mpg economy. But times had changed.

This dichotomy between the "old" AMC and the new caused many to doubt that the SC/Rambler was really as good as its specifications suggested, but they were wrong. The performance was terrific. Car Life ran 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, and confirmed the promise of AMC press releases with a 14.2-second standing quarter-mile. Car and Driver praised AMC for creating "a car which makes it in almost all the categories . . . it can run and it can stop. . . . For lack of a better classification, the SC/R is a street rod."

AMC had also suggested the possibility of 12-second quarter-miles. Edrie Marquez's Amazing AMC Muscle notes that this too was possible. Dale Young, in an SC/R modified with high-lift cam, Edelbrock manifold with matching Holley carb, modified distributor, and Goodyear racing slicks, made five runs in the 12-second range, the last two being 12.69 seconds at 110.5 mph, and 12.67 at 109.99. A later SC/R, with only $1,500 worth of drag modifications, "could turn 12.30s at 112 mph all day long . . . . The Scrambler had permitted the little Rambler American to bow out in a blaze of high performance glory."

Click on the next page for the 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler's mechanical specifications.

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1969 Rambler SC/Rambler

Only one powertrain was offered for the 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler -- a 315-bhp 390 with four-speed manual and a 3.54:1 rear gear.
Only one powertrain was offered for the 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler -- a 315-bhp 390 with four-speed manual and a 3.54:1 rear gear.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The 1969 Rambler SC/Rambler's wild paint job paired with its high-performance mechanical components won over even its staunchest critics.

Specifications

Engines: ohv V-8, 390 cid (4.75 × 3.57), 315 bhp

Transmissions: 4-speed manual

Suspension front: upper and lower A-arms, coil springs

Suspension rear: live axle, leaf springs

Brakes: front disc/rear drum

Wheelbase (in.): 106.0

Weight (lbs.): 3160

Top speed (mph): 108

0-60 mph (sec): 6.3

Production: 1,512

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