Frugal Fastback: 1966 AMC Marlin – Sold?
December 17th Update – We just confirmed the Craigslist ad for this rare AMC Marlin expired and with no replacement listing found, we’re assuming this car sold. This one may have got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330.
December 3rd Update – We just noticed the private seller of this ’66 AMC Marlin just lowered the asking price in their original ad by $1,000 to $9,500.
While Plymouth’s Barracuda introduced the concept of a fastback roofline using a huge glass backlight, American Motor’s Marlin set the stage in 1965 of the roofline relying on a more traditional flat rear window. Despite being one-year early to market before the Big Three’s fastbacks came along and backed by an extensive marketing campaign, AMC’s Halo Car Marlin never really took off sales-wise, and consequently, sighting one today is a rare treat. So imagine our surprise when we happened on this 1966 Montego Light Rose example originally listed in November 2020 on Craigslist in Addison, New York (Elmira) with an asking price of $10,500 or best offer. Despite being a very pretty driver-quality example in a great color combination, the entry-level 232 cubic inch inline-six mated to a three-on-the-tree shifted manual transmission actually holds back the pricing on this rare car. Specifically, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool confirms the asking price falls between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $7,850 and its #2 “Very Good” appraisal of $11,200 before factoring in a twenty percent deduction for the powertrain. While the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool does not provide deduction factors for this car, this guide confirms this private seller has their Marlin priced between the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $8,500 and the #3 “Good” appraisal of $12,900.
Here’s Hagerty Insurance’s Summary of the 1965-1967 Marlin:
Under the direction of stylist Dick Teague, AMC designers went to work on a small two-door fastback with 2+2 seating. Based on the Rambler American and dubbed the Tarpon, it was the car company leaders hoped would shed AMC’s stodgy image. It received a warm response at its limited showings, but by the time the car hit the streets as the Marlin in 1965, the philosophy behind it had changed: The car’s proportions grew significantly and seating was now for six. Still, the fastback design was striking if not controversial, and it represented a new concept in American auto design.
Power came from AMC’s 232-ci six, which put out 155 horsepower. A trio of V8s gave the Marlin some oomph: a 287-ci unit delivered 198 hp, while a 2-barrel 327-ci V8 provided 250 hp and a 4-barrel 327 put 270 horses to the rear wheels. By the end of production in 1967, the 327 would grow to 343 ci.
Amenities set the Marlin apart from its rivals. Standards included power disc brakes, deluxe interior and exterior trim, and reclining seats. A long options list offered a little something for everyone, including an AM/FM stereo, power windows, power steering, tinted glass, the Twin-Stick manual transmission, heavy-duty suspension, air conditioning, a limited-slip differential, and more.
Changes for 1966 were minor and mostly aimed at distinguishing the Marlin not only among its competitors but within the AMC lineup: The car received a new grille and all Rambler emblems were removed from the exterior. In 1967, the Marlin was restyled and moved to the larger Ambassador platform, a calculated move to make room for the Javelin, due in 1968.
The Automobile History USA YouTube Channel has this great TV sport for the 1966 Marlin posted:
True to its form when new, this driver-quality Marlin is a great value to get into the collector car hobby with a great looking car that is almost guaranteed to have people asking you, “What is that?” every time you drive it. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1966 AMC Marlin
232 6 cylinder
3 Speed manual
chevy dodge ford“
Do you have an AMC Marlin story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!
Ive always had a soft spot for Marlins, for all the reasons you described. ‘Big coupes’ were a bit of a thing in the mid/late 60’s, with the Dodge Charger being the hottest performer with the available legendary 426 Hemi, followed closely by the Ford Torino and it’s various engine options. The Plymouth Barracuda was more of a smaller pony-car wannabe, but was in keeping with the seafood genre with the Marlin.
The Marlin marched to the beat of its own drummer. Its styling was the most distinctive of the ‘big coupe’. Arguably maybe not the most beautiful, but certainly the most distinctive, with that huge, flowing fastback and rear window. AMC could rarely compere head-t0-head with the ‘big three’, but they did their best with unique styling features but mostly on price (they were the cheaper/cheapest option).
The big coupes didn’t seem to be made in huge numbers, and they’re not seen as often at shows as the usual muscle and pony car options, which makes them that much more interesting. The Marlin was, and is today, the rarest of them all. I’ve always thought these looked best in the turquoise or red they were offered in. I’ve never seen this pale purple.
If it wasn’t for a raging pandemic, I would be in my car today making a beeline for Elmira NY to bring this rare beauty home.
Thank you for sharing this!