Video: 1967 Rambler American Wins at Daytona!

Here’s the ultimate fish-out-of-water story: the little Rambler American going through its paces at Daytona International Speedway. Check out the unusual sales pitch in this original 1967 AMC commercial. 



We don’t often think of the universal grandma’s car, the Rambler American, and Daytona International Speedway at the same time. But in fact, American Motors products usually did well in one event at the famed Florida raceway, the annual Pure Oil Performance Trials. Ramblers excelled in the series of acceleration, braking, and fuel consumption tests, in part due to their good power-to-weight ratio and solid, conservative engineering. This particular commercial trumpets the victory of the Rambler American 220 in Class VII for compact six-cylinder sedans.

Make no mistake, in those days the Pure Oil Trials were serious business for the Motor City automakers, who were hungry to cash in on the valuable publicity. In the 1967 event, nine of the 10 Pontiacs in the event were disqualified for cheated-up fuel systems. (The mechanic on these entries was listed as one Vernon Blank, an associate of Smokey Yunick.) As this commercial illustrates, the Class VII victory was a powerful bragging point for the modest Rambler American 220, which at only $2,073 was the lowest-price domestic car sold in America. Well done, Grandma. Video below.


9 thoughts on “Video: 1967 Rambler American Wins at Daytona!

  1. I considered these to be among the most cleanly-styled small cars around. Good visibility, solid construction and available power plants made them good. My stepfather and mother had a Rogue, the two-door hardtop version with a V8. Really nice.

  2. Just what is a cheated up fuel system? A stock OHC six Tempest Sprint would blow the doors off any Rambler six and most small V-8’s of the day.

  3. Pontiac made a habit of cheater Pontiacs. You may have heard the story of the 1964 Car & Driver GTO vs GTO road test that pitted a Pontiac against a Ferrari and declared Pontiac the winner. Except that they never drove the Ferrari, only referring to the spec sheet. Pontiac had secretly swapped the 389 with a 421 that could only be found in full-size cars and had it prepped by Royal Bobcat. Who would have guessed that John Z DeLorean was an unscrupulous businessman who would go to any length to win?

    • Actually Royal Pontiac was the factory back door performance chosen dealer by Jim Wangers who controlled the press fleet and Pontiac advertising. Wangers was given authority back in 1959 by Knudsen to find such a dealer. This authority continued under the direction of Pete Estes when he became GM of Pontiac in the fall of 1962, and then continued to DeLorean in the fall of 1965 when DeLorean became GM of Pontiac.
      The 64’s ( 2 ) that were prepped by Royal Pontiac, one a 389 the other a 421 for the C&D road test. Both cars were prepped with the stage 2 Bobcat treatment. The Bobcat treatment was initiated in 1959 originally named ROYAL TREATMENT.
      Just for the record;
      The GTO was the brain child of De Lorean
      Marketing the GTO was done by Wangers.
      Approval to circumvent GM’s rules and release the GTO was done by Pontiac General Manager Pete Estes, It was Estes who put his career or neck on the line for the GTO to be launched.

  4. That Rambler American sure is a great looking car! And even went on to be produced in Argentina for many years afterwards. One of the finest automobiles ever built.

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