AMC Rebel

The 1967 Rambler Rebel by American Motors was completely new design from its predecessor Rambler Classic. Now a larger car riding on a two-inch (50 millimeter) longer114-inch (2,896 mm) wheelbase, the width was also increased by nearly four inches (100 millimeters) to enlarge interior passenger space and cargo capacity. The Rebel had as much interior space as full-size cars from Ford or GM. The new body design was in sharp contrast to its predecessor's "straight-edge" design. The Rebel featured a smooth rounded appearance with sweeping rooflines, a "coke-bottle" body with a shorter rear deck, as well as greater glass area for increased visibility. However, the design "themes" such the "hop up" fenders became so pervasive across the industry that the all-new 1967 Rebel was criticized because "viewed from any angle, anyone other than an out-and-out car buff would have trouble distinguishing the Rebel from its GM, Ford, and Chrysler Corp. competition." American Motors was staying abreast of the fashion and the Rebel was the first "family car with style that rivaled function."

A new safety-oriented instrument panel featured a steering column designed to collapse under impact, and the gauges and controls were grouped in a hooded binnacle front of the driver with the dashboard pushed forward and away from the passengers.

The Rebel models were similar to the senior Ambassador in that they shared the same basic unit body (platform) aft of the cowl. However, the Rebel's front end saw an entirely new concept with a "venturi" grille motif in die cast metal while its rear end featured a simple design with inward-curved taillights. Rebels came in the base 550 and deluxe 770 models, with a high-line SST available only as a two-door hardtop.

The base 550 two-door sedan featured the identical "semi-fastback" roofline as the more expensive pillar-less hardtops, but had slim B-pillars that gave them a more "sporty"coupe appearance. The convertible featured a new "split stack" folding mechanism design that allowed a full-width backseat with room for three passengers.

The 4-door sedans continued a traditional notchback form, albeit smoothed from the previously sharp angled roofline. The Cross Country station wagons featured a standard roof rack, all vinyl upholstery, and a drop down tailgate for carrying long loads. A third, rear-facing seat was optional with a side hinged tailgate for easier access. The Rebel 770 wagon was available after mid-year production with 3M's "Di-Noc" simulated wood-grain body side panels trimmed in a slim stainless steel frame.

Starting with the 1967 models, American Motors offered the industry's most comprehensive warranty up to that time: 2-years or 25,000 miles (40,000 km) on the entire automobile, as well as 5-years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on the engine and power train. American Motors continued its industry exclusive ceramic-coated exhaust system as standard. To further emphasize the durability and prove the reliability of the new Rebels, an absolute record of 30 hours flat was set in the long-distance Baja run down Mexico's Baja California peninsula in 1967. A hole in the transmission pan slowed them down, but the endurance racers were able to get the car to a town to get a new one.

Offering traditional Rambler economy with six-cylinder engines and overdrive transmissions, the Rebel could also be turned "into a decent budget-priced muscle car" with the 343 cu in (5.6 L), the largest available engine in 1967. A road test by Car Life magazine of a Rebel SST hardtop equipped with the 343 V8 and automatic transmission turned in a 0-60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time of 9 seconds, and reached a top speed of 110 miles per hour (177 km/h). A road test by Popular Science found similar performance times and noted that their Rebel SST was the quietest-riding of the tested cars, but with the drawback of wind noise. The magazine also praised Rebel's reclining backrests for both front seats that reduce fatigue on long trips while a co-driver can stretch out and relax, as well as AMC's self-tightening seat belts that aid in buckling and in comfort.

A survey conducted by Popular Mechanics after owners had driven their cars 678,996 miles (1,092,738 km) concluded: "In all, the report indicates that most Rebel owners are delighted with their purchases." Journalist and automobile critic, Tom McCahill, summarized his Mechanix Illustrated road test, "There isn't a better intermediate size car sold in the United States than the 1967 Rebel".

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

Gallery: AMC Rebel