The Rebel’s first appearance is as a power option package for the Rambler Classic for the one year only in 1957. The Rebel was back for one more year in 1966 as a luxury option for the classic in a two door hard top model with bucket seats and special trim.
The 1967 Rebel is on a 2” longer wheelbase, with 4” more width than the Classic it replaces as the midsize offering from AMC and it has as much room as the “full size” models from the “big three”. It is available as a two door hard top, four door sedan, and four door wagon. A pillared coupe is offered in ’67 only and a convertible model was made available for ‘67 and ‘68. The Rebel has a smooth rounded appearance with a sweeping roof and lots of glass improving visibility. Safety is important and the Rebel has a collapsible steering column with the controls and gauges under a hooded binnacle with the dash slightly forward and away from passengers. Another feature of all the AMC cars everyone likes is the reclining front seats and the self adjusting lap belts. The six cylinder engines were newly designed in ’66 as well as a 289 cu in (4.8 L) V8 and a 343 cu in (5.6 L) V8 which produces 280 hp (209 kW) with a four barrel and they stayed the same in ’67. The Rebel refines these engines as well as introducing more power engines from the same family. The front end of the Rebel uses the AMC independent front suspension with extra long control arms with high mounted coil springs but the rear end now has a four link trailing arm rear live axle suspension system with coil springs for a better ride. The torque tube AMC has also been scrapped in favor of an open drive shaft design.
The base Rebel is the 550, one step up to the 770, with the top model the SS and this one is only available as a coupe. AMC was often the first in many things such as safety and ’67 the company introduced another first – the most comprehensive warranty ever given with up to two years on everything or 25,000 miles and five years or 50,000 miles on the engine and drive chain. To prove the reliability of the car the company sponsored Rebel did a 30 hour endurance run to the tip of the Baja peninsula and set a record. This traditionally budget family car could also be a muscle car for a budget minding investment. The stock 383 cu in (5.6 L) in The Rebel SST hardtop equipped with the automatic transmission did 0-60 (97 km/h) in 9 seconds reaching a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h) and Popular Science, that did the test said the Rebel was the quietest of all the tested models.
The 1968 Rebel in appearance changes little from last year’s except a convertible is added to the line-up and the company name changes from Rambler to AMC. With the new name came a new 390 cu in (235 kW) engine V8 and a change in racing policy – the Rebel started to make an appearance on race track all over the country. A few new safety requirements in ’68 are shoulder straps for the seat belts, side marker lights, and exhaust emission requirements; The AMC also integrated a flush mount paddle style inside door latch as a safety feature.
The 1969 Rebel no longer offers a convertible model and the 550 and 770 designations are eliminated. The light body changes are a new grill, the tail lights wrap around the side, as well as some trim and ornamentation is added.
1970 Rebel “The Machine”
© Raytags | Dreamstime.com – Classic Car Photo
The 1970 Rebels roof line changes a bit as well as the rear view on most models and the tail lights are integrated into the bumper. The power options are the big news for ’70 – the 290 is replaced with a 304 cu in (5.0 L) that develops 210 hp (157 kW), the 343 is changed to a 360 cu in with the two barrel it produces 245 hp (183 kW) or the optional four barrel produces 290 hp (216 kW). All the performance options can have a center console with a pistol grip shifter. The AMX 390 cu in (6.4 L) produces 325 hp (242 kW) is an option on SST models but a special 390 putting out 340 hp (254 kW) is standard equipment on the high performance “The Machine” and it has muscle. The Machine is fast but the most striking thing about this model is the either patriotic or in your face paint job of red, white, and blue.
© Ananthkrish | Dreamstime.com – 1970 AMC Rebel Car At The Car Show Photo