1964 -1965 American


1964 - 1965 American

1964 American Convertible
1964 American Convertible

General Information

The first generation American body (58-63) was essentially the same as the 1950-55 Nash Rambler. It had an extraordinary 11 year run due to Edmund Anderson's very creative restyling in 1961, but looked very dated by its last year. Nothing less than a totally new body was required to bring the American up to date. New bodies cost millions even in the early sixties, so the new small car was planned on a downscaled new for 63 Classic body. As many components as possible were to be shared between the big and small car. While some components are shared, it soon became apparent that the number of shared components would be limited. The suspension, or "frame" rails are shared, for instance, but the floor pan had to be narrower and shorter than the bigger Classic in order to adequately differentiate between the two. AMC ended up with a body that looked modern and up to date and put them back near the top of the compact car market in the US through the end of production in 1969. By the mid 1960s, the compact market had levelled off as intermediates and sporty cars such as the Mustang became more popular. However, there was a steady market for compacts and  the American continued to maintain its production levels against the Nova, Valiant, Falcon and imported entries. The American received  new base base and optional engines, including a V8,  for 1966, as these were now required even in economy cars. In its last year of production, AMC dropped the "American" name - the cars were Rambler, 440 and Rogue. And they did one  extraordinary thing to send off their dull economy car : they offered a 390 high performance V8 option in the Rogue hardtop.  Not many were built, but they are highly collectible today, along with the 1957 Rebel. The American, and the Rambler name went into history as the cars which created the North American market for compact economy cars, with an asterisk for those two models which did not quite fit that definition.


Body Styles And Trim Levels

The American was offered in five body styles. There were four trim levels offered : 220, 330, 440, and 440-H (this would become the Rogue in 1966). Body styles and trim levels can be determined from the model number on the Unit Body Identification Plate . The body styles and trim levels are:

  • 2 door convertible in 440 trim. This became the Rogue in 1967, its last year.
  • 4 door wagon in 220 and 330 trim. The 330 was dropped after 1965.
  • 4 door sedan in 220, 330, and 440 trim. The 330 was dropped after 1965.
  • 2 door club sedan in 220 and 330 trim. The 330 was dropped after 1965, but replaced by a 440 2 door club sedan for 1966 - 1967.
  • 2 door hardtop in 440 and 440H trim. The 440 H became the Rogue for 1966 - 1969, replacing the 440 hardtop after 1967.



The following engines were available:

  • 196 cid L-head inline six, 1bbl (90 hp, standard in 220)
  • 196 cid OHV inline six, 1bbl (125 hp, standard 330, optional in 220)
  • 196 cid OHV inline six, 2 bbl (138 hp, standard 440H, optional all others)
  • 199 cid OHV inline six, 1 bbl (128 hp, substituted for 196 mid to late 1965, not optional)
  • 232 cid OHV inline six, 1 bbl (145 hp, optional all, 1965 only)
  • 232 cid OHV inline six, 2 bbl (155 hp, optional all, 1967 only)
  • 287 cid OHV V8, 2 bbl (198 hp, optional all, 1966 only)
  • 290 cid OHV V8, 2 bbl (200 hp, substituted for 287 at the end of 1966, base V8 through 1969)
  • 290 cid OHV v8, 4 bbl (225 hp, optional V8 through the end of 1966 model year through 1969)
  • 390 cid OHV V8  4 bbl (315 hp, available only on 1969 SC hardtop)

Note that the 195.6 OHV 2 bbl engine was mandatory when air conditioning was ordered. This was necessary because of the greater length of the 199/232 engine. The engine bay of the new body just wasn't long enough to accomodate the new engine and A/C condensor. To fit the 199/232 a special short water pump (later used on 1971 and later CJ-5 Jeeps) was used and the radiator moved forward very close to the grille.

On the 196 there is a machined pad on the left (driver's) side of the engine near the front and just below the block/head division. The 199 and 232 has a machined pad on the right side of the block near where head and block come together between #2 and #3 cylinder. These pads contain the Engine Day Build Code.

The first digit indicates the calendar year the engine was built. 1963 = 5, 64 = 6, 65 = 7, etc. Numbers repeated, but no zero was used (1967 =9, 1968 =1; due to a change in the numbering system, 1980 and later uses the last digit of the year (1980 = 0, 1981=1 etc.) . The next two numbers will be the month the engine was made in. A letter code will tell engine size and compression or carburetor type. A is 195.6 L-head w/1bbl, C is 195.6 cast iron OHV w/1bbl, L is the 232 w/1bbl, J is the 199 w/1bbl. It is possible that the engine has been replaced with a newer or older engine. 195.6 cid six cylinder engines made between 1956 and 1965 are direct bolt-in swaps and are externally identical, though water pump design varies slightly on the 56-57 OHV engines. The 199 and 232 cid sixes used in 1965 can also be directly replaced with any 199, 232, or 258 cid six made between 1964 and 1971. It should be noted that 1965 232 engines used in an American have a special short water pump and that air conditioning was not offered on these cars due to space limitations. A 1971-75 Jeep CJ-5 pump is the same as the 65 short pump. The bell housing bolt pattern changed to match the larger V-8 pattern in 1972.

Note: Engine dates are calendar dates and not model year dates. Since model year production actually starts in the previous calendar year, it is possible to have, for example, an engine coded 1963 in a 1964 vehicle and be correct but an engine coded 1965 would not be correct for the same car since no 1964's were manufactured in calendar year 1965.



The following Borg Warner transmissions were used in 1964 and 1965 Rambler Americans. There is no marking anywhere on the car that will determine transmission type.?

  • T-96 three speed manual, available with an optional overdrive (OD) unit.
  • Borg Warner Model 35 (T-35 on transmission ID tag) "Flash-O-Matic" three speed automatic (air cooled torque converter, aluminum case, throttle valve cable instead of vacuum modulator).
  • "Twin-Stick" T-96 three speed manual with overdrive. Transmission used different internal gear ratios than the normal T-96/OD. Shift mechanism was wired to provide five forward gears (along with different ratios) -- 1st, 2nd, 2nd+OD, 3rd, 3rd+OD. Normal three speed with OD could not be shifted in this manner -- standard gearing would provide little difference between 2nd+OD and 3rd gears. Available only with OHV engines.


Production Numbers

Columns with no number indicate that the body and trim style were not offered for that year.

Body & Trim Style 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
220 2 door sedan



4 door sedan, 330 trim 19,379 15,143
4 door sedan, 440 trim 6,590 5,194
4 door sedan, 220 trim 18,225 13,709
2 door sedan, 330 trim 15,171 9,065
2 door convertible, 440 trim 8,907 3,882
4 door station wagon, 220 trim 8,062 5,224
4 door station wagon, 330 trim 20,587 12,313
2 door hardtop, 440 trim 19,495 13,784
2 door hardtop, 440H trim 14,527 8,164
"Knock Down" (these are exported cars that were shipped unassembled) 3,340 (3,744)
Total 163,661 112.878

 An additional 11,731 Americans were built in Canada for the 1964 model year, 9,390  for the 1965 model year. No breakouts by body style are available, but for 1964 only 220/330 models were built in Canada. The 440 hardtop and convertible were added for 1965, with an additional 20 Americans shipped from Kenosha.

Dates of model introductions:

1964 -
1965 -


Serial Numbers

Serial Numbers

Before January 1966, all cars had a manufacturers assigned serial number, not a VIN, which was mandated by the U.S. government for all cars built from 1966 on. The serial number is on a tag located on the top of the right side shock tower in the engine compartment on 64 and 65 models. The serial number gives no information except year and model series. Serial numbers were assigned to the car when it was ordered from the factory. Numbers with a single letter are assigned to cars made in Kenosha, WI. If the first letter is followed by a "K" the car was built at Kenosha as a "knock-down" kit intended for final assembly in another country. These kits usually lacked tires, belts, batteries, and sometimes interior upholstery. Those items were supplied from local sources at the assembly point. If the first letter is followed by a "T" the car was built in the Brampton, Ontario, Canada plant.

  • 1964 - 650001 and higher
  • 1965 - AMC started from 100001 and did not skip numbers based on body style as was done in 1965. Serial numbers starting with P indicates a 196 cid six was used, W indicates a 232, and Q indicates the 199.


Unit Body identification Plate

The Unit Body Identification Plate for a 1964-65 Rambler American can be located on the latch edge of the driver's door. It can be decoded as follows:


This is the number assigned to the body as it was being produced. It is different than the serial number. Bodies were produced in batches, so the numbers aren't consecutive to each series.?


This identifies the body and trim levels. The first two digits are the year, the third the series, fourth body style, and fifth trim level. Base trim level is often left out (only four digits). Blanks indicate that the body and trim style was not available for the year in question. Replace "xx" with last two digits of year for complete model number.

Code w/Body Style and Trim 1964 1965
xx07-5 - 2 door convertible, 440 trim X X
xx08 - 4 door station wagon, 220 trim X X
xx08-2, 4 door station wagon, 330 trim X X
xx05 - 4 door sedan, 200 trim X X
xx05-2 - 4 door sedan, 330 trim X X
xx05-5 - 4 door sedan, 440 trim X X
xx06 - 2 door Club Sedan, 220 trim X X
xx06-2 - 2 door Club Sedan, 330 trim X X
xx09-5, 2 door hardtop, 440 trim X X
xx09-7, 2 door hardtop, 440H trim X X



This identifies the interior trim style, color, and seat types. The trim code is a 4 character number that may be prefixed by a "T". The first character is the year, the second the trim level, third color, and the fourth is the seat type. Letters after the numeric code indicate the corresponding seat and fabric types that were available. Special order interiors were available and will have a code of "00". Codes are as follows:

Trim Level 1964 1965
220/330 422 - Silver/Black (220 only)
432 - Silver/Black
433 - Blue
434 - Green
435 - Red
436 - Gold
436 - Turquoise
522 - Black/Gray
532 - Black/White
533 - Blue
534 - Green
535 - Red
539 - Taupe
537 - Aqua
440/440H 441 - Black
442 - Silver/Black
443 - Blue
444 - Green
445 - Red
446 - Gold
447 - Maroon
448 - Turquoise
541 - Black
543 - Blue
544 - Green
545 - Red
546 - Cordovan/Taupe
547 - Aqua
548 - Black/White

The list of seat types is as follows:

  • C = Cloth
  • D = Cloth bucket
  • E = Vinyl bucket
  • G = Cloth bucket, optional
  • H = Vinyl bucket, optional
  • K = Cloth bucket, optional
  • L = Vinyl bucket, optional
  • P = Porous vinyl
  • V = All vinyl



The following colors were available in 1964-1965. The original color can be determined by looking at the Paint code on the Unit Body Identification Plate. If there are two codes separated by a dash, the first code is the primary body color and the second code is the upper body (sometimes roof) or accent color. For example, a car that was black with a white top would have a paint code of 1-72. Paint codes may also be prefixed with a P or suffixed with an A (A is Acrylic Enamel paint). Note that some cars were painted non-standard colors. These cars will typically have a code such as " 00" or "SPEC". This was reserved for large orders in the special color, usually for fleet use.

Paint Code Color Years
1 Black (Called Classic Black in 1965) 1964, 1965
3 Antigua Red 1965
4 Mystic Gold Metallic 1965
5 Legion Blue 1965
6 Viscount Blue Metallic 1965
7 Seaside Aqua 1965
8 Marina Aqua Metallic 1965
9 Atlantis Aqua Metallic 1965
10 Montego Rose 1965
11 Barcelona Taupe Metallic 1965
12 Corral Cordovan Metallic 1965
13 Solar Yellow Metallic 1964, 1965
14 Silver Metallic 1965
43 Scepter Silver Metallic 1964
51 Rampart Red 1964
52 Sentry Blue Metallic 1964
53 Forum Blue 1964
54 Woodside Green Metallic 1964, 1965
55 Westminster Green 1964
56 Aurora Turquoise 1964
57 Lancelot Turquoise Metallic 1964
58 Bengal Ivory 1964
59 Emperor Gold Metallic 1964
60 Contessa Rose Metallic 1964
61 Vintage Maroon Metallic 1964
72 Frost White 1964, 1965

Color samples can be viewed at http://autocolorlibrary.com/aclns.html


Sequential Assembly Number

The unlabeled number at the bottom of the body tag is the Sequential Assembly Number. This number was assigned to the vehicle as it entered the final assembly line.Vehicles were assembled in batches as needed -- i.e., 10 Americans may be assembled then 20 Classics followed by 15 Ambassadors, etc. Minimum and maximum sizes of batches are unknown -- in some cases single cars may have gone through the lines. There were three assembly lines in operation at this time. There was an East and West line in Kenosha (these may be prefix by an E or a W to indicate which line it was built on) and a line at the Brampton, Ontario plant.



The following sources were used to verify the information contained on this page:

  • AMC Rambler Club 1958-1969 Production Handbook
  • Standard Catalog of American Motors, ISBN 0-87341-232-X, Krause Publications
  • American Motors, The Last Independent; Patrick Foster, ISBN 0-87341-240-0
  • Encyclopedia of American Cars, 1940-1970; Richard M. Langworth, ISBN 0-517-294648
  • Cars & Parts Catalog of American Car ID Numbers 1960-1969, ISBN 1-880524-11-2
  • The Compact Chronicles, copyright 1992, Frank Swygert
  • 1964-65 American Motors Technical Service Manuals
  • DuPont Automotive Finishes book (1959-71)
  • Standard Catalog of Independents, ISBN 0-87341-569-8, Krause Publications
  • James C Mays. My private archives - 1964 Rambler. Old Autos, 7/19/04.
  • 6500 series summary - U.S. production and options - passenger cars.  AMC interdepartmental letter, 1/5/66.
  • Automotive news almanac, 1964, 1965
  • Wards automotive yearbook, 1965, 1966.
  • Bill Watson. Catalog of Canadian car ID numbers. Amos Press, 2006.


1964 - 1965 American -- Engines

It would seem that the L-head was standard on the 1965 330, as noted on my daily driver, a 6506-2 (2-door sedan).

Ken D.