Tag Archives: #station wagons

Car Spot: 61 Rambler Cross Country

A time when wagons roamed the country

Just in case you couldn’t tell, I have a soft spot for the cars and Jeeps made by American Motors Corp. Maybe it was because my dad worked there for 17 years starting in 1963 and ending just after Chrysler bought AMC. Not sure why he did, because his dad was into Chevys and my mom’s dad was a Pontiac and Hudson salesman. It was just something about a certain pluckiness of the company that would almost always come up with something the other manufacturers weren’t offering.

Did you know that at one time AMC was No. 3 in sales, ahead of Chrysler? Part of that was because of the station wagons they produced, like this week’s car spot, a 1961 Rambler Classic Cross Country I found on a car lot in Johnson Creek, Wis.

In 1961, the redesigned Classic Cross Country wagons were among the most popular station wagons in the land and Rambler moved nearly 82,000 of them that year pushing them into the No. 3 sales spot with a car that had not seen much change since 1956. Studebaker, still selling cars, was fifth.

RELATED Spot: This Rambler’s grandkid, the AMC Pacer.

Unique Rambler door handle. I remember these.

Among the things that made the Classic such a value was its standard engine, the 195.6 Inline Six. Not as powerful as Chrysler’s 225 Slant Six, but with up to 138 hp from the 2-barrel version it got the job done. Better than Ford’s anemic Falcon Thriftmaster or the Lark’s Skybolt, which tended to blow its head gasket.

This almost always happened though, throughout AMC’s history, the other manufacturers out-engineered the company, this time with their magic door gates and Vista Cruisers. The ride was over. AMC would slip to No. 4 until Chrysler bought the firm in 1987.

RELATED Spot: When AMC joined the pony car race with the Javelin.

The Rambler logo. Notice some pitting on the chrome, This was also on other chrome pieces on the car.
Power rear windows were still a few years away. This one is an old-fashioned crank.

This one will sit on this dealer lot for a long time since it has a super high price at $29,000!

Wayyyyy too high as these cars normally go for around 11 grand or less in really good shape. Not sure why the dealer thinks this one is an exception. Maybe because it’s a survivor.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next week for another one of my spots along with some history behind it. Have a great weekend.