1957 Rambler Rebel
By Greg Zyla
Q: Hello Greg, I want to let you know I really enjoyed your Rambler Rebel Machine column recently. You mentioned in that column that the 1969 SC Rambler (Scrambler) was the hottest car that AMC ever put on the road. I worked for CA Cox Auto Repair (Rambler, Nash & Metropolitan Service) in Wollaston, Mass. for 30 years on and off. We had several special cars we built there, including six Metropolitans that we would put flathead V8s into back in the mid-1950s .
I agree the SC Rambler was very fast, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the 1957 Rambler Rebel is probably the fastest car Rambler and AMC ever produced. The Rebel only came in silver color, and it had a copper stripe on the rear quarters. It was a 4-door hardtop with a continental kit and a powerful 327 V8 under the hood. It was a Rambler 327, not a Chevy, as Chevy didn’t come out with the 327 until 1962.
This car had 255 horsepower from the factory, and was originally supposed to have a Bendix Fuel Injection on it. However, it didn’t work in cold climates, so Rambler put a Holley 4-Barrel on it instead. Most came with a 3-speed manual, and all had PPG Solex airplane dark green tinted glass in them. They also had 6-way adjustable shocks, and 6-ply Goodyear tires with safety liners in them in case of a blowout. The 1957 Rebel also had a stainless steel dual exhaust.
The Rebel did 0-60 in less than six seconds, and the only car faster was the 1957 Corvette with the fuel injected 283 with 283 horsepower. At Daytona that year on the beach, they timed the 1957 Rebel at 155 mph!
We had one at the garage, and it was a stick with overdrive. We put a hotter cam in it and it was so fast it world scare you. In third gear with overdrive out, it could go 160. We must have put a dozen sets of different hubcaps on it, as it would throw them off all the time. We finally put on the small center caps and painted the wheels black. I have to admit the local police knew us, but their Ford Interceptors couldn’t come close to the Rebel in 1957. Old man Cox, who owned the business, said he paid more in fines than what he paid for the car.
We had that Rebel around for many years, and I remember it lasted until it rusted in half at 269,000 miles. We only put one clutch in it, and the rule of thumb was every 75,000 miles change the timing gear chain or else suffer bent valves and damaged heads when it broke. It never used any oil, and we changed oil every two weeks with Chevron RPM Delo 10/40 oil, a new filter and a grease job. It also loved Sunoco 260 gasoline, and got 10 miles per gallon. It sounded like a 5-Liter V8 Mustang when it started up.
Today, I’m having one of those engines rebuilt to put in my 1962 Rambler Classic 2-door. I’m having trouble finding a 4-barrel manifold and a bell housing, too. Yours in “Ramblership,” Ross D. Sealund, Haverhill, MA. 01830
A: Ross, letters like yours make writing these columns really worthwhile. Thank you so much, and keep us updated on your progress.
Originally posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 3:56 pm
Category: Auto Round-Up News