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In the Garage: 1961 Rambler American 400 convertible
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1961 Rambler American 400 convertible owned by Harry Mayors
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
With its economical Ramblers and higher-end Ambassadors, American Motors (AMC) touted its 1961 lineup as the “World’s Widest Choice of Compact Cars” with the American heralded as “America’s Leading Economy Compact Car.” So if you wanted to show your thrifty side and still have fun in the sun, you might have plucked one of these cute convertibles off the showroom floor. “It was the first year of the boxy design,” Mayors says of his red ragtop, whose body style was used until 1963.
“There were only 2,063 produced with bucket seats. The cost was $2,136 to $2,369, depending on options. This car has power steering, power top, radio and clock.” Despite their low prices, the cars featured 125-horsepower, six-cylinder engines and innovative interiors. Competitor General Motors, for example, would charge hundreds more for its compact convertibles launched in the early ‘60s.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
“I bought it in 2009,” he says, “and since I was brought up with Hudsons and Nashs (which merged to form AMC in May 1954), I wanted a Rambler.”
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He says he became the third owner after finding the Rambler in Florida through an online auction site.
“The car is all original, but it had an older enamel paint job,” says Mayors. “The color is original and the paint type is correct. I have been able to find any minor parts that I needed. I have the original shop manual and accessory manual that came with it.”
“Most AMC cars don’t have the value, such as Chevy, Ford, etc.,” he says, “but I would say between $12,500 and $20,000. I did turn down an offer for $22,000.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“The car is very rare, unique and so different then most cars seen at shows,” Mayors says. “Owning a collector car such as this one has been a great satisfaction as most people don’t even know what it is. It’s been a great trophy winner. This car has had thousands of pictures taken of it -- even when I’m driving -- and gets a huge amount of attention at shows and cruises. People are amazed to see something that they have never seen. It’s been a great ride and 99% of people will never see another one. This is not a Chevy, Ford or (Chrysler-built) Mopar, so it really stands out in the crowd.”