1969 American Motors/Hurst SC/Rambler
In a bid to generate buyer traffic and excitement beyond the Javelin and AMX models and to capitalize on the rapidly expanding small car muscle market, AMC launched Hurst modified SC/Rambler in 1969. This was a corporate watershed year in which AMC sought to bow out was the "old Rambler guard" and usher in a new era of AMC only lableled models. The successful Hornet series would replace the American in the next model year and with the rebirth of a famous model name from the Hudson days or yore would come the end of the line for the venerable American series. What better way to retire the old player than going out with a last hurrah as the rough and tumble Captain of the team?
The "new" and radically different Hurst SC/Rambler was notabe for its performance 'extras', the likes of which had never been seen on an American series car before, that differentiated it from the rest of the American line. While the major body and interior was the same as other '69 Rambler two door hardtops the very notable modifications listed made this car radically different than all other model in the series:
While a few of these items came from the factory, all body modifications and special components were added and procured by the Hurst Corporation. Major mechanical and body components were upgraded or different than other Ramblers including the Rogues from which the SC was derived. Although some maintain that the SC floor pan chassis is different from other '69 Americans it is widely accepted that there were no substantial differences beyond the additional frame mounts necessary to connect the AMC torque links from the AMX and performance equipped Javelins to the Rogue based frame. Luckily, ALL Americans from '68 on had an added layer of skin to the inside of the rocker panels to stiffen them up, just in time to acccomodate the dramatic increase in torque from the AMC 390 that became the primary driver behind creating the legendary SC/Rambler performance capabilities! There is no documented evidence that an SC chassis is stiffer in any way other than the mount plates for the torque links and the staggered shock access plate on the left hand side of the trunk although some sources contend that the SC used additional bracing that was used for convertible models to increase structural stiffness.
One option distinction was notable - there was only a single factory option avaialbe, an AM radio! That was it - there were no other factory order options. All other options had to be ordered as dealer options and were limited primarily to the Group 19 Option list with items such as a 290 Hydraulic camshaft, heavy duty lifter and double valve springs, Mallory dual point rev pole distributor, AMC logo'd Edlebrock R4B intake manifold and a Holley 930 CFM three barell carburetor with an enormous vacuum controlled secondary that required the notch-out seen today in the rear of the carburetor opening in vintage AMC R4B manifolds. Company memos support the statement that there were no options available other than the AM radio and that all performance enhancements had to be ordered through the dealer. And ordered they were, with most SC/Ramblers upgraded to race and terrorize the F Class at local dragstrips around the country.
Nearly all body parts are shared with the 1967-69 American body. There are some differences that limits the body panels that can be shared with the earlier cars. This information is detailed in the 1966-1969 Series 01 Parts Swap Guide.
The only available engine was the 390 cid V-8. The 7th character of the VIN is the Engine Code and indicates original engine size and is always an "X" for a true SC/Rambler.
There are many faked SC/Ramblers in the world today. What better way to fetch a premium price for an otherwise lower valued Rogue hardtop than to pass it off as a genuine SC/Rambler? One issue is that many cars had the original engine replaced due to the extreme conditions experience as the race track or even from street racing. A Group 19 equipped SC/Rambler could easily run the quarter mile in the 12 second range which is far quicker than its advertised 14.3 second from the factory capabilties. Despite all of the many race proven designs in a Group 19 equipped car, the one weak spot in the AMC 390 was the cast pistons which, after a couple of seasons of hard racing, had a tendency to develop fissures and cracks in the piston's wrist pin area which could ultimately result in a "blown" (blown up) engine. For those who were savy in the art of drag racing, the stock AMC cast piston were replaced with after market forged pistons long before there was a problem. Unfortunately most SC/Rambler owners had little prior experience with drag racing and only learned of the limitations of AMC's cast piston design after it was to late to prevent a catastrophic engine failure, hence the high number of replaced engines in SC/Ramblers. Although engine replacements in AMC were fairly routine and relatively easy to do, not having the original (or at least a 1969 390) does lower the car's collectable value in today's collector car market. For AMC V-8 engines, the best way to tell cubic inch displacement is to look at the nubmers cast into the side of the engine block near the first and second core (freeze) plugs on either side of the engine. Note that service replacement blocks do not have the displacement cast into them and their displacement can only be deterimied in a tear-down to measure bore and stroke, the denominators in the formula for cubic inch designation.
Cars that are considered to have a higher probability of being original will at least have the original valve covers and date code tags on the engine. This tag is located at the front of the right valve cover but you may need to check the rear of the left cover due to AMC valve covers being interchangeable from side to side resulting in the ends somtimes being reversed.
Note: Engine dates are calendar dates and not model year dates. Since model year production actual starts in the previous calendar year, it is possible to have, for example, an engine coded 1966 in a 1967 vehicle and be correct but an engine coded 1968 would not be correct for the same car since no 1967 models were manufactured in calendar year 1968.
The Borg Warner close ration T-10 four speed transmission with the Hurst competition floor shift was the only transmission available. The transmission type can be determined by the third digit of the VIN, which would be "M" (4 speed floor shift, floor mounted) for the SC/Rambler.
The generally accepted production number for the SC/Rambler is a total of 1512. Although the exact makeup is unknown (AMC record keeping on this subject was always a little sketchy on the SC/Rambler), AMC collectors universally acknowledge that the first batch of 500 were painted in the "A" paint scheme which include a base white painted car with red sides, blue stripes down the center of the roof and trunk and large decals on the hood with a large blue decal of an arrow pointing at the hood scoop with accompanying large red letters boldly proclaiming "RAM AIR" between the arrow and the scoop plus matching size large red numbers and letters of "390 CI" on the top of the scoop. Although the "A" scheme design was a major attention getter at the race track, it was often considered over the top by most street car owners and sure bet to gain the attention of local police patrols around the country. The second batch of 500 SC/Ramblers were done in the more subdued "B" paint scheme which included a base white colored cars with a narrrow red decal stipe over a wider blue stripe on and just above the rocker panels. Although the "B" schemes cars also had the fabled Ram Air hood scoop with funtional cold air inlet, the decals on the hood, roof and trunk were not included in the "B" scheme graphics package.
The last batch of 512 SC/Ramblers' paint scheme is a somewhat controversial subject, but many agree that they were most likely painted in the "B" scheme due to the cost and complexity of the "A" scheme although there are clearly far more "A" scheme cars out there today than "B" scheme cars. Most believe that the vast majority of the "A" scheme cars were used primarily as factory developed race cars while many of the "B" scheme cars were used as personal transportation for their owners. Regardelss, the paint code listed on the SC/Rambler's door tag gives no indication of which paint scheme was originally used so it is likely that over the years many owners simply painted their cars in the flashier and more recognizable "A" scheme. An interesting aside is that in 1969, the "A" scheme cars languished on the dealers lots due to the outlandish and previously unheard of factory paint job on the SC/Rambler and a fair number of both scheme SC/Ramblers were sold as leftovers in 1970 or even 1971 for far less than their 2995 window sticker price. Additionally, some dealers even went as far as to change "A" scheme cars to the more moderate "B" scheme or even a single color other than white to move the cars off their lots.
It should be noted that there were also a least 6 and possibly a few more Baha SC/Ramblers which were special versions of the SC/Rambler with chasis lifts and special drivetrains specfically designed to be raced at the Baha Pennisula. James Garner was documented to be one of the drivers. It is unknown if the Baha SC/Ramblers were included in the 1512 tally of SC/Ramblers or not and it is unknown to this writer whether any of them remain in existence today.
The SC/Rambler was officially introduced March 8th, 1969 at the 61st Chicago Auto Show.
Model year 1969 cars will have a VIN tag on the dash board only. The VIN is also stamped into the left frame sill behind the steering gear box where it is often necessary to remove the steering gear box to view the VIN in this location. Some SC/Ramblers may have and incorrect dashboard VIN code due to the tendency of the SC/Rambler dash pads to crack when exposed for prolonged periods to the sun resulting in someone replacing the dash with one from an American or Rogue. The sure fire test of whether or not a given car is a true SC/Rambler is to look at the VIN that is also behind the steering box on the driver's side lower frame behind the steering box.
Note: Character one is always an A (American Motors) and character four is always a zero (American/Rogue/Rambler).
*The last six characters are the numbers assigned to the car when it was ordered from the factory. Numbers starting at 100001 are assigned to cars made in Kenosha, WI. Numbers starting at 700001 are assigned to cars made in the Brampton plant in Ontario, Canada. All SC/Ramblers were built in Kenosha. All SC/Ramblers had the engine code of X in the seventh digit of the serial number and the letter M in the third digit. If either of those digits are wrong, the car is not a true SC/Rambler
The Unit Body Identification Plate for a 1969 Series 01 can be found on the latch edge of the driver's door. Cars built in Canada usually have a "1" in front of the standard numbers listed below (All SC/Ramblers were built in Kenosha). The tag can be decoded as follows:
This is the number assigned to the body as it was being produced. This number is different than the last six digits of the VIN.