Comfortable Compact: 1961 AMC Rambler Classic Cross Country – Sold?

by | Nov 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

December 7, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Timing is everything, especially in the automotive industry.  A recession sparked in 1958 combined with the growing need for many families to have a second car motivated consumers to want more compact cars.  American Motors positioned itself nicely during that time with its Rambler Classic line exemplified by this 1961 Rambler Cross Country currently listed here on Craigslist in Orlando, Florida.

Reported to be thoroughly sorted and updated, the current caretaker is asking $19,995 for their 1961 Rambler Classic. While the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool continues to omit values for these cars for their database, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $14,625 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $23,000.

When Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Car Company merged to form American Motors in 1954, the Board of Directors of the new company tapped George W. Romney to lead it. Romney’s passion for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars helped the company increase market share by the late 1950s the Big Three domestic automakers had yet to offer any compact cars.

A key part of AMC’s strategy during this time was the launch of the Rambler Classic in 1961.  The Classic took the place of the Rambler Six and Rambler Rebel V-8 names, which were retired at the end of the 1960 model year.  Classics could be had as either six-passenger four-door sedan or Cross Country station wagon versions.

Ramblers were available in two sizes and built on different automobile platforms. The larger-sized Rambler series was based on a 1956 design and was renamed as the Classic for the 1961 model year to help create a stronger individual identity and contrast from the smaller Rambler American line.  The 1961 Classic featured a new front end with a one-piece, rectangular extruded aluminum grille, new fenders, hood, sculptured door panels, and side trim, as well as one-piece bumpers. Models included the Deluxe, the Super, and the Custom (featuring bucket seats in a four-door sedan).  The Classic came standard with a 196 cubic inch inline-six with a 250 cubic inch V8 optional. The suggested retail price for the basic Deluxe four-door sedan was $2,098 and was only $339 more for a station wagon.

Despite new competition (think Falcon, Valiant, and Corvair) launched during the 1960 model year, American Motors “defied the detractors” with its emphasis on economical and compact-sized cars achieving a sales total of 370,600 vehicles in 1961. That amount of production lifted the automaker to number three in sales for 1961.

The Osborn Tramain YouTube Channel features this 1961 AMC commercial highlighting the Rambler Classic lineup that year:

Based upon the seller’s description combined with the pictures provided, this 1961 Rambler Classic Cross Country appears to be a well-sorted example.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This 1961 American Motors Rambler Wagon is ready to take you on your next adventure. This extremely clean Rambler wagon is originally out of Texas and shows no rust issues. The exterior and underbody are in excellent condition. The owner has rebuilt the entire driveline: motor with new Daytona carburetor, transmission, rear axle. It has a 196 cubic inch Inline 6 cyl paired to a 3-speed manual transmission. The suspension has new shocks and new 2in lowering springs. The interior carpet is new and sound deadener was also applied at that time. The tires are in good condition and are Copper Cobra, the wheels have been professionally powder coated. There is an aftermarket unit in the glove box and the suitcase in the rear has built-in speakers. The cooling system has been upgraded and now has an aluminum radiator. The speedometer has recently been rebuilt and is accurate. The interior is in great condition including door panels and headliner. This is a turn-key car ready for a new owner. We have a clean and clear MN title. We have additional photos and video available. We are happy to answer any questions.”

Show or go: what would you do with this Rambler Classic Cross Country?  Comment below and let us know!


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