Marlin History

AMC was one of the oldest automobile companies in the US when purchased by Chrysler in 1987 and ceased to exist in part thanks to the Stock Holder Buy Out.. Rambler was the second car to be mass produced in the US (1902) , The FIRST JEFFERY (
The first was the (1901) Oldsmobile , and third was the Ford (1903) .

It was in 1963 that American Motors, then known as Rambler, decided to upgrade its image and compete against the sweeping new cars offered by the big three, namely the Ford Mustang, Chrysler's new Barracuda, and General Motors pony cars slated to come out, the Chevy Camero, and Pontiac Firebird. The job was given to Dick Teague and his design team Stuart Vance who was the manager of the Engineering body development (the prototype shop) they had to come up with a sporty 2+2 body design to compete against them. Vince Geract certainly contributed to final look of the Marlin. So did Teague's right hand man Fred Hudson (who later design the Javelin) Robert Nixon, Jack Kenitz, And Donald Stumf, Neil Brown, Jr., Bill St. Clair, and Jim Alexander Designed the Interior.

According to Alexander (who stands six feet six inches) were strategically positioned closest to Marlin's windshield pillars to make the roof look just a bit lower than it really was. Vince Geraci

Tooling for the 1964 model year was already set, so working with platforms already available it was decided to modify the American chassis. The result was the 1964 Rambler Tarpon (link will open in new window) with it's sweeping fastback roof line, lowered two inches for an even more dynamic look. A new swept back double compound curve windshield was also added to further enhance the look. The interior received a full augmentation of dial type gauges under a padded dash, a deep dish aluminum steering wheel rimmed in walnut, and custom bucket seats. On the outside, Tarpon received aluminum 13 inch wheels, instead of the standard 14 inch steel wheels found on the rest of the Rambler line, and striking paint job of gold flaked vermilion. The car was debuted at the February 1964 Society of Automotive Engineers show at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, and was an instant success. The Tarpon made appearances at other car shows that year and attracted a lot of positive attention. But the car never went into production.

In 1964 George Romney, head of Rambler, was elected governor of the state of Michigan, and Roy Abernethy took controls of the company. He almost immediately shelved the Tarpon, wanting instead a bigger car, an intermediate sports sedan based on the larger Rambler Classic chassis. Abernethy wanted to match the "big three" model for model, option for option and shed the economical compact car image Rambler had worked so hard to create. The idea was now to create a 3+3 sports car. The fastback design was kept, but the roof line was raised one inch for increased head room, the windshield was also changed back to the standard glass used in current Classics. The new car was to be called the Marlin. To try and maintain the sleek look, the rear side windows were swept back even further and a striking two color paint scheme with contrasting chrome trim was available. The 13 inch aluminum wheels were changed back to the standard 14 inch steel wheels and Marlin wheel covers added. The custom 2+2 bucket seats were gone as well as the full augmentation of dial gauges. All of these changes were done in less than a year and as a testament to the engineering ability of AMC, the new Marlin was ready for début in January of 1965, February 10 1965 was the officially introduced , the base factory price was $3100.00 and hit the dealer show rooms in March of 1965. The car meet with great success selling 10,327 cars the first year. A lot of its success was due to its price, and some very good engineering. The Marlin came stock with 4 piston power disc brakes on the front coupled with a tandem master cylinder and non-servo type rear drum brakes. It also received the Twin-Grip Differential for sure footed traction. Options included the Shift Command Flash-O-Matic floor shift that allowed the three speed automatic transmission to shifted as a "standard" or shift by itself. Air conditioning, power widows, AM/FM radio, tilt steering wheel, and a host of interior seating choices as well as engine and transmission choices rounded out the choices. The Marlin received its own unique sales brochure (this a rather large file and will open in a new window) and owners manual for 1965. 65 & 66 Specifications 

1965 Chicago car show 1965

In 1966 Factory base price was $2601.00 only miner changes were made to the Marlin. Cosmetically the Marlin received new wheel cover options, the Rambler logo was removed from the front and rear of the car, and a new grill for the front. Under the hood was another story. For 1966 Marlin received 2 new engine options, a higher output 2 bbl carbureted 232 inline six cylinder rated at 155 hp, and a lower output 2 bbl carbureted 327 cid V-8 rated at 250 hp. Also a new four speed manual transmission was added to the line up. But the disc brakes became an option instead of standard equipment. Cruise - Command Automatic Speed Control becomes available , and 4 Way Hazard Warning Signals. Sales dropped by almost half to just 4,547 units.

A little known fact is that in 1966 Teague had another car built, the Marlin II. This vehicle was basically a 66 Marlin with an Ambassador front end. It was a one off car made for and driven by Teague and was sold in 1967. The car was reported lost in an accident, but as of this time it is still alive and being restored. Marlin I ( Another one-off car that still survives today was the Tahiti, a custom show car fielded by AMC to help keep interest in the Marlin high with perspective buyers. the car featured special paint and an ornate interior scheme complete with rhinestones. This car is in the hands of a member of AMCRC who has done much to maintain the car in its original configuration.

While Dick Teague lost his battle to save the Tarpon in 1964 and have the Marlin become a secondary sports car on the Ambassador chassis, in 1967 he got one of his original wishes, the Marlin was moved to the Ambassador chassis. Marlin 1967 Factory base was price $2963.00 This was a total new look for the Marlin. The Marlin grew six and one half inches in length overall , gained six inches in wheel base, and four inches in width. The move allowed for newer engines such as the new 290 cid and 343 cid V-8s, and 300 lbs. heavier. But along with this move Marlin lost its distinctiveness. It no longer had its own owners manual, or its own sales brochure. Gone also was the torque-tube drive system , the most important engineering change was the open air drive line , with a four link suspension distinctive rear side window treatments.. In 1967 Marlin sales plummeted to only 2,545 units. Teague felt the '67 was the best of the Marlins in appearance, but one has to wonder why so much was put into a car design, when the fastback was already slated to end its run in 1967.


"Gosh, give me a break," Romney said. "I wasn't embarrassed because the Marlin was new; I was embarrassed because it was ugly. It looked like a golf shoe. It was terrible."
      The ad complements Romney's "work days," where he's pitched in as an auto mechanic, a road-paver and a garbage man to cultivate a lunch-pail image. Romney said the work days have given him the chance to talk to Bay State workers after living mostly out-of-state for three years, but his campaign has made little secret about feeling the need for Romney to shed the corporate-raider image that plagued his U.S. Senate campaign in 1994.
      While Romney's efforts to come across as an ordinary working stiff have been mocked by Democrats, the lengths to which the O'Brien campaign went to strike back reflects a genuine concern that the tactic could succeed in appealing to all-important independent and moderate voters, some Democrats acknowledged this week.
      As for the advertisements, Romney said that he hasn't pretended to be anyone he isn't.
      "I don't recall in my ad suggesting that I was a poor, struggling student, and let's set the record straight: I was not a poor, struggling student," Romney said. "By the way, I think we've reached a level of silliness in the campaign that's hard to surpass."

Contributing: Associated Press

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