401 Equipped 1962 Rambler Classic!
I liked the early Ramblers style, the type Dear
ole Dad and Uncle Charlie had, you know, the 58- 62ish Ramblers that
were reliable and always started, even in the worst weather. I knew of a large number of
Javelins, AMX's and Matadors
that had good drive trains, and were either wrecked or rotting away
because someone gave up hope of their car ever being on the road
again. That's when the idea of installing a 401 in an early Rambler popped into my head. Swapping in a 401 engine opened the door to more fun, and a little
performance in a car with lots of style! I did a lot of homework and brainstorming to make sure the swap was
reasonable, using ALL AMC or Rambler parts. I also considered my
history of AMCs, about 200 cars since 1968. After owning most of what
AMC built, I wanted something different, something AMC never built. This car would be unique, but it was to remain all AMC.
The 401 is basically stock with only a cam upgrade for low end torque.
Since I was going to make this car a highway cruiser, I installed 2:56
gears from a V8 Spirit, then knowing how I 'd treat the car, (rough) I
opted for the 727 transmission, where as a 998 would have been fine for
a car that didn't have to meet my intended demands. The axle assy was
from a Spirit, reworked with coil spring perches and shock mounts off
the 62 Rambler, as well as the alignment bar. I then installed 30"
ladder bars to sub for the old closed (Torque Tube) drive shaft.
The radiator is a 3 core unit intended to cool a 440 Chrysler, while a
18000 lb cooler was installed to handle the transmission.
The battery is relocated to the right side of the trunk for better
weight distribution. I also installed an aluminum intake to further
reduce front end weight. The front coil springs are from a 327 equipped
Ambassador. The Offy 2-4bbl manifold was added a few years ago.
Many of my cruise friends drive brand X cars, which have the 409
3-duces or the 406 Ford with 2- 4 barrels, so when Offy 2-4bbl manifold became available I knew it had to
go on the Rambler.
The transmission cross member was fabricated from a
Matador donor to fit the frame sills of the 62 Classic, adjustable of
course to aid in engine tilt and help in pinion angle. The tires are
15x6 front and 15x7 rear. A 1983 Concord donated the manual Disc
brakes. Shifting is via a B&M for simplicity, but I left the
push-buttons intact for conversation. I have 2 gauges to watch
the engine, and reverse red light located in the ash-tray to avoid a
missed shift. The exhaust manifolds
are free-flows and ported internally to move more cfms. thru 2-1/4
pipes. About 90% of the swap was done by myself and friends.
I have now owned this car for about 12 years, originally coming from Ken Havekost.
The odometer shows only 41,000 miles. If you were wondering, the answer is yes, this Classic does attract a lot of stories
of Dads Rambler in high school. On the other side of the garage sits a 1978 Pacer wagon with a 500 cubic
inch Cadillac engine. The Pacer has been done about 3 years, but that's another story.
Note the detail of the 401, kind of looks like a 327 with the Rampart Red Paint and custom valve covers
Thanks for you time.
Phil Amin Louisville KY.