There is a new organization for Rambler owners--an organization that provides services that many of us need badly. The News has obtained a short transcript of one of their meetings, which is reproduced below.
Leader: If everyone has their cookies and coffee, the meeting will now come to order! Who will be first? You there, please stand up.
First speaker: Hello, my name is Joe, and I own an old Rambler. It started out when aunt Millie died and I needed cheap transportation. I got her '65 Ambassador. I enjoyed driving something different, and I could fix it myself.
But one day I noticed that the tail light had broken, and then my troubles began. I looked all over for that thing. I went to wrecking yards and swap meets, I subscribed to parts magazines, I joined clubs in distant cities, and I sent SASEs to everyone in the country. I finally found one, but it scared me bad.
I began to buy parts I didn't need just in case. My house and garage became filled with dusty and smelly boxes full of old carburetors, lenses, lights, knobs, handles, headliners, bumpers, armrests, and every description of car part. Many of the parts were for cars I didn't own and didn't even like, but I kept them in case I could trade them for something I needed, or just "to keep some Rambler on the road." It's a good thing my Rambler's seats folded back O.K., or I'd have had to go live in a shelter.
But now I'm on the road to recovery. With the help of my HP (I do not mean horsepower), someday I'm going to get rid of all those parts and I'm going to deal with my car troubles one day at a time. So that's my story and I hope you all can help me. Say, and before I give up the floor, does anyone know where I can find a couple of good spindles?
Leader: Thank you, Joe. We know how it is and we'll do our best to help you. Who's next. How about you, mister?
Second Speaker: Yes, good evening. My name is Arnold, and I own an old Rambler. My family always drove Ramblers, even back into the Nash and Hudson days. They were the best cars ever built. I got my first Rambler, a '64 American, when I was 16. Boy, was that a great car. I drove it everywhere, and it always started right up no matter how badly I treated it. Then my uncle Ned gave up on Ramblers and got a Ford; he gave me his 63 Classic. Now that was a pretty nice car too. I drove 'em both for a long time. Then I had a chance to get a 65 American. It would provide me with some parts for my other two cars, or maybe I could restore it--the engine was still in good shape though I don't know about the rust.
Over the course of the next ten years I bought dozens of Ramblers. Some I drove, some I sold, some I took apart, but most I just kept. I just couldn't let them get away. Either they were in such great shape, or I really liked some feature they had, or they would help some other car keep running, or I was just afraid the wrecking yard would get them. Like stray cats, those Ramblers just kept coming to my door.
I had Ramblers all over the place; two in the garage, four in the front yard and three in the back. I parked one in my place at work and commuted by bus. People I had bought cars from kept calling me up to find out when I was going to move them off their land. I shuttled those old cars around like bad checks, just trying to keep a step ahead of the angriest person on my list. My wife left me, too. Where she went I don't know, but it was pretty far away. I think she took one of my Ramblers too--I thought I had a green 66 Ambassador somewhere, but it might be parked either over at the Hobsons' or on NE 4th Street in Freeburg.
Anyway, I was hounded by neighbors, relatives, people I had bought cars from or sold cars to, by local officials, the police, the sanitation department, towing companies and the EPA. I never got a moments rest. I spent so much time moving the cars around that I never got to work on them.
But I'm going to be O.K. now. With your support I'm really going to restore those cars. I'm going to work on one at a time until they're done. And I'm going to get rid of the cars I don't like or that aren't good enough to restore. You can help me. Would anyone like to buy a 62 American station wagon, or a 59 Club Sedan, or a . . .
Leader: Thank you Arnie, that will be all please. It's time to let someone else speak. You there, what's your name?
Third Speaker. Hello, my name is Rudy, and I own an old Rambler. I've got this beautiful 67 Rogue. It was owned by an old lady whose husband died, and it only has 35,000 miles on it. Not a spot of rust either. I've had it completely reconditioned inside and out. The paint job alone cost plenty, and then I had the engine rebuilt--it didn't run that badly, but I have to have everything perfect. I also got new upholstery and carpets, made from the original materials by this old guy who said he used to work for the jobbers who did AMC's upholstery. They were perfect.
All this set me back a bit, but it really makes a difference when you see the car. Of course you can't leave a car like that outside, so I had to build a garage in my yard, and because of the zoning laws, I had to take the bedroom off the house to make room for it. That cost a bit, but it's O.K. because there's still some room left in the living room to sleep. I've had everything redone in this car. I scrubbed the whole thing inside and out, and picked out the dirt from the engine compartment with a toothpick. There's nothing wrong with this car, and I get prizes wherever I go.
My family has been great. I've spent a fortune on this car, but they don't mind. The kids seem content to go without shoes, and even though my wife and I haven't gone out in years, she doesn't complain. In fact, when I saw her last, just last month, she told me how glad she was that I'd found such an absorbing hobby, and she introduced me to this guy Bill who visits the house alot because of some work he has to do in the neighborhood. You know, he has an authentic AMC dealers sign that he's going to show me some day. He's a great guy . . .
Leader: Rudy. Rudy! I'm sorry I have to interrupt you now. Our meeting time is up. We hope you will keep coming to our meetings. It helps to get together with other people to get support and better understand our dependence on these old cars. Please come again next week when our theme will be "Carburetors and Children; How to Keep Yours Well Adjusted."
-- Doug Patton