1969 Rambler, The Last of the Line

The 4 Season's AMCRC Chapter held it's 8th Annual Rambler Regional in July of 2006.  Each year the club awards the "4 Seasons Choice" to the car that best represents "what Rambler was all about." This year, the 4 Seasons chose the 1969 Rambler of Howard and Earl Malarkey for their award. 
The following story about that car, was written and photographed by Rebecca Malarkey.

It was 2000 when Howard's Aunt Bev asked him if he would give her first car, a 1969 Rambler a good home, he said sure. Aunt Bev said it would be a gift to Howard, as long as he would promise not to sell or make a hot rod out of  it during her lifetime. It then took Aunt Bev another year or so for her to be able to say good bye, and to finally allow her baby to leave home.

During Spring Break of 2001, Howard and our son Earl, then 8, took a road trip to Murpheesboro, TN to pick up our new classic car. They trailored the Rambler back to MA, as the car had not been driven much in quite a few years.

For those that may not know, 1969 was the last year that the name Rambler appeared on a car. American Motors had been phasing out the Rambler name since 1966, when the Rambler marque was removed from the Ambassador and Marlin.  The Rambler marque would continue to appear on the Classic/Rebel and American through 1967.  For the 1968 model year the American was the only car remaining in the AMC stable that still touted the Rambler marque.  For 1969 the American name was dropped, and the smallest AMC was referred to simply as Rambler.

The Malarkey Rambler is a 199/AT and had about 160,000 miles on it. It came complete with a window sticker from the AMC dealership in Washington, PA where Bev bought it new in July of 1969. It also came with all the owners’ manuals and many boxes of SPARE parts. (Which we now know is like having gold.)

For the next year Howard and Earl spent their spare time going through the car making sure it was road safe and in original running condition. During that year I was the one chosen to do the all the research to be sure we stayed on track. We had it back on the road in May of 2002.

While reading Hemmings News we read a notice for an AMC car show. In July 2002 we entered the Rambler in its very 1st car show ever. The show took place in Nashua, NH and was sponsored by the Four Seasons Rambler Club.

Over the next four years Howard and Earl picked away and got it ready to paint back to the original surf green.  February of this year we were finally ready to return the old car back to her original glory.

Earl is gaining the knowledge to be able to take care of the care once Dad is ready to pass the torch. He is already telling Howard that is his car too. We are glad Earl has interest in Ramblers, as we need the younger generation to appreciate what has been and carry on the Rambler name.

It was very rewarding for all of us when Howard's Aunt Bev was up in July and saw the car for the first time since 2001, when she had given it to Howard and Earl. She also had a couple of pictures for us of when it was still green. She was very pleased with the changes we had made. It made her very happy to see the car, as it had been when she bought almost 37 years to the day. To us that was better than any trophy we had to date received. It is very rewarding to know that we have not only a small piece of history, but also a piece of family history.