Thursday, July 3, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1962 Rambler Classic Cross Country Custom Wagon

Continuing this "Independent's Week" in honor of America's Independence Day, and celebrating the American summer vacation road trip, we're looking at American Motors station wagons. Second in the series is this 1962 Rambler Classic Cross Country.

At first glance the 1962 Rambler Classic looks a lot like the 1961 model featured previously, but it's not the same. American Motors was late to add tail fins to their big cars, with the formerly round Ramblers sprouting slab-sided, squared-off fins for 1958. Despite this, Rambler was quick to abandon them (as did much of the industry) by '62. So while the front end is mostly similar between model years, the rear half has been changed a lot. The rear end and taillights now look more like the inspiration for the 1963 Dodge Dart sedan, albeit with reverse lights incorporated into the round taillamp lenses instead of a separate assembly like on the Dart. Notice also that the window frame on the rear passenger doors has a rounded-off corner. I wonder how many people poked their eyes out trying to get into the car between 1956 and 1961 when that corner ended in a sharp jutting point. The Classic for 1962 was available with an aluminum or iron-block inline six and a three-speed manual or three-speed push button automatic.

This wagon is red. Very red, inside and out. I don't know what color it was originally but someone clearly likes red. I'm guessing that it was originally a more yellowish color, perhaps even Frost White. You can tell that there was minimal disassembly to prep for paint, if any at all -- most of the trim was masked off while still in place and the painter just hoped for the best. Despite the amateur paint job, most of the trim is present and intact. The passenger side is missing a hubcap and a lot of stainless, but it could have been tucked in the back or in someone's garage awaiting re-installation. Who knows? The crazy thing is that I photographed this car in the same city as the '61 Classic wagon, on the same day, one after the other on opposite sides of town. I guess when one rambles, one meets other Ramblers.

1 comment:

  1. This Rambler reminds me of my experience with a 1962 Classic which my Dad had. Although his was a four door sedan. It began, one day in 1969, when he and I went to the local Ford dealership to find a used car for him to drive to work. They had a lot full of used cars that literally filled their back lot. I found that Rambler right smack in the middle of them all. I distanced myself from that car as quickly as I could. I did not want him to see it. My plan was for him to buy a nice '66 or '67 Fairlane, so that's where I headed. They had a few of them at the other end of the lot. While I was deciding which one he was going to buy, he called to me. "Hey Johnny!" "Come look at this car!" I turned around and there he was, standing next to that Rambler. Only him. He fell in love with that car and had to have it. It was Jasmine Rose, had a 196 cubic inch engine with push button automatic transmission. As ugly as it was, it was bullet proof. One winter day , he and I were driving over Jay Peak in a "real snowstorm", pushing through drifts which were well over two feet deep. Dad stopped the car stating that we needed to clear the snow out from in front of the radiator so the car wouldn't overheat. When we opened the hood, the whole engine compartment was packed with snow! That car never sputtered once. It idled so smoothly, it just sounded like whooshing air. It turned out to be a great car after all. Today, I think it looked rather nice. Maybe you do turn into your father.