Collectible Classic: 1969 1/2 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler

A. J. Mueller

But from behind the wheel, the high-strung SC/Rambler feels even quicker. The AMC's nose lifts for the sky when you jam the loud pedal. And boy, is it ever loud - the engine's screams, cackles, grunts, and spurts are louder than the car's ostentatious paint scheme. The beefy Hurst shifter feels incredibly crisp but clearly works best when you slam it aggressively from gear to gear, which is a cinch, because it's mere inches from the steering wheel and feels ergonomically perfect in your right hand, the shift lever poking down between your middle and ring fingers. The clutch pedal is stiff but not unbearable, and the gas pedal seems magnetized to the floor. You monitor the revs via the Sun tach, which is crudely clamped to the steering column. Beneath the giant, vision-obstructing hood scoop lies a peculiar, three-barrel Holley carburetor that pours high-octane fuel and air into an Edelbrock manifold at the sky-high (for a street car) rate of up to 950 cubic feet per minute. For an old car so anxious to roast its BFGoodrich drag radials, though, the 3160-pound AMC handles respectably well, despite vague manual steering and slightly unnerving body roll. Still, the SC/Rambler thrives not on curves but on arrow-straight back roads, like those near Jones's southern Michigan home.

Jones is proud to have set up his SC/Rambler the way someone could have ordered it in the summer of '69, straying from stock only slightly by adding wider rear tires, slightly larger tailpipes, a rev limiter, and a narrowed Group 19 Javelin/AMX air dam for improved cooling.

"It's such a special car that I should probably put in a taller gear and stop racing it . . . " he says, before adding with a grin, " . . . but it's just too much fun."

Indeed. The AMC Hurst SC/Rambler illustrates a simple and purely American equation: big V-8 plus burly stick shift plus compact sedan plus wild stripes and graphics equals major fun. God bless America.

THE SPECS

ENGINE: 6.4L OHV V-8, 315 hp, 425 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual
DRIVE: Rear-wheel
Suspension, FRONT:Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, Rear: Live axle, leaf springs
BRAKES F/R: Discs/drums
WEIGHT:3160 lb

THE INFO

Year produced
1969
Number produced
1512 (about three-quarters of which wore the "A" paint scheme)
Original price
$2998
Value today
$15,000-$60,000

Why buy?
Because it's one of the ultimate examples of muscle car extremism, both in looks and in performance. And since it was built by disrespected AMC instead of the Big Three, prices are well below six figures. The spacious cabin features seating for five and reclining front seats, and a big trunk also enhances practicality.

SC/Ramblers have many unique parts and a thorough online registry (1512registry.com), but watch out for falsely represented clones.

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