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Wheels in the grass

...from the brochure

...from the brochure

1966 AMC Ambassador 990, Olean, N.Y.

1966 AMC Ambassador 990, Olean, N.Y.

What you’re looking at is a 1966 AMC Ambassador 990, parked in the dirt of a used car lot in Olean, N.Y. It’s significant in that it was the first year that Ambassadors weren’t badged as Ramblers any more; the Ambassador (along with the Marlin sports coupe) was marketed in 1966 as a separate AMC make, even though you’d be hard put from a block away to tell a ’66 AMC Ambassador apart from a ’65 Rambler Ambassador. This was pretty much AMC’s last gasp effort to keep up with The Big Three. AMC tried to pretend that they could match them model-for-model, but when you came right down to it, many of its cars were cut from the same cloth — and the buying public wasn’t fooled. In a further effort to stretch the number of different badges, the ultra-luxurious new DPL hardtop, conceived to compete with the Ford LTD and Chevy Caprice, wasn’t officially an Ambassador — but was just an AMC DPL.

1966 AMC DPL - not an Ambassador!

1966 AMC DPL - not an Ambassador!

In 1968 the Ambassador made news when it became the first volume car to make air-conditioning standard across the board — something not even Cadillac or Lincoln could boast of. Alas, it didn’t help much, and the Ambassador departed from the AMC lineup after the 1974 model year.