Car of the Week: The 1969 AMC SC Rambler

When AMC trotted out its new products at the Chicago Auto Show in March 1969, one of the most eye-catching vehicles was a small hardtop with a patriotic color scheme and a massive scoop dominating the front portion of its hoods. This AMC Hurst SC/Rambler represented one of the company’s most unique models and the swan song for the Rambler American compact car.

Every muscle car lover knows the name of Hurst Performance Products. So, in 1969, American Motors hooked up with the Pennsylvania performance parts company to surprise everyone with the SC/Rambler (or “Scrambler” as some folks call it). Hurst actually thought up the idea and AMC bought it.

Based on the two-door Rogue hardtop coupe, the SC/Rambler stressed the big-engine-in-little-car format to the max. Below the hood went a 390-cid 325-hp V-8 linked to a Borg Warner four-speed manual gearbox with a Hurst shifter. A 3.54:1 rear axle with Twin-Grip differential was included, too. With a curb weight of about 3,000 lbs., the hot little car had a power-to-weight ratio of 10.03 lbs. per horsepower. This made it eligible for drag racing in the National Hot Rod Association’s F-stock class.

The AMC factory estimated low 14-second quarter-miles at 98 mph. Road Test magazine clocked 14.4 at 100.44 mph and managed to hit 109 mph without topping out. Modified SC/Ramblers have run the quarter-mile in the 9-second bracket.

In addition to the power team, the SC/Rambler included a long list of extra-cost goodies like a big hood scoop for Ram-Air induction, fat dual exhaust pipes, a column-mounted Sun tachometer and Bendix front disc brakes. Blue-finished five-spoke mag-style wheels, 14 x 6-inch rims, wheel trim rings and fat red-striped Goodyear tires were also standard. The SC/Rambler interior was done in plain-looking gray vinyl, but it had red-white-and-blue headrests. This color scheme was carried onto the body, in several variations. Full carpeting was another selling feature.

The first 500 cars built had red center body side panels and thick blue horizontal racing stripes on the hood, roof and deck. A blue arrow pointed towards the scoop, which had large letters spelling the word “AIR” and calling out the engine size. This was the “A” type graphic treatment.

When the cars sold quickly, another batch was made with new “B” type trim. These had a mostly white exterior with narrow red and blue stripes. Then, a third batch of cars was made, reverting to the type “A” trim, but lacking all of the elements. The A-finished cars seem to be the more common of the 1,512 SC/Ramblers built.

The SC Ramblers created certainly livened up showrooms, but not all dealers carried them.  They certainly appealed to street racers, and a big block with 315 horses stuffed into a small car was a formidable machine on the street or strip, and that’s where many of the cars wound up. A registry of some of the surviving cars exists and can be found online here.

   
PRODUCTION

ENGINE

BASE V-8: Overhead valves. Cast-iron block. Displacement: 390 cid. Bore and stroke: 4.17 x 3.57 inches. Compression ratio: 10.2:1. Advertised hp: 315 at 4600 rpm. Advertised torque: 425 at 3200 rpm. Recommended idle speed: 650 rpm. Five main bearings. Forged crank and rods. Forged crank and rods. Hydraulic valve lifters (non-adjustable). Carburetor: Carter AFB four-barrel. Exhaust system: duals standard on all models with 390 engine.

OPTIONS

Automatic transmission. Heavy-duty 70-amp battery ($8). Heavy-duty battery and 55-amp generator ($26). Heavy-duty cooling system ($53). Positive traction rear axle ($42). Available rear axle gear ratios ($5). Power steering ($90). Front and rear bumper guards ($25). Tinted glass, all windows ($32), windshield only ($23). Push-button radio and antenna ($61). Undercoating and underhood insulation pad ($21). Electric windshield wipers, required in V-8 Ramblers ($15). Code 56-4 Appearance group with sill moldings and wheel discs ($39). Code 70-1 Handling package with heavy-duty sway bar, shocks and springs ($17). Light group, includes door switches, trunk, courtesy, glovebox and other lamps ($23). Visibility Group with outside rearview remote control mirror, electric window/washer etc. ($29). (NOTE: Some options may have been standard in the SC/Rambler.)

COLLECTIBILITY

When you talk muscle cars, an AMC product probably does not come racing to the front of the mind. That’s been a problem for AMC as far as fair
market value is concerned, as the Big Three’s Chevelle SS, Boss 429 and Superbird reign supreme in the performance world, leaving AMC in the dust.
Even within AMC’s performance menu, the Javelin and AMX top the list, but this is a slight to the maker’s other potent performance cars such as the
Hurst Edition 1969 SC/Rambler. This model has all the muscle goodies, a compact body with a big-block 390-cid V-8 stuffed in, Hurst-shifted
syncromesh four-speed, Twin-Grip differential and patriotic red, white and blue finish.

All that, and a No. 1 condition example can still be had for mid five figures. A muscle devotee looking for a fun machine with lots of investment potential can’t miss with a SC/Rambler.  

COLLECTOR VALUES

1969 AMC SC Rambler
No. 1 condition: $38,900
No. 2: $27,230
No. 3: $17,510
No. 4: $7,780

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