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1960 Rambler Cross Country Wagon

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randychase View Drop Down
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Joined: Feb/06/2013
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    Posted: Feb/22/2013 at 3:13pm
Hi all, I posted this thread about a car I was interested in-
http://theamcforum.com/forum/1960-rambler-cross-country-wagon_topic47213.html



My plan is to buy the car and drive it home, a trip of about 600 miles.  Am I nuts? :)












So I bought it.  My plan was to drive up with my fiance in the Prius and then back from the Bay Area to San Diego last weekend.  The Prius would be a back up car and carry tools (vice grips, baling wire, and duct tape!) that is more difficult to do in a plane ride up there. 

The night before I was planning on leaving, a friend from the bay area called me to ask if I would look at a used BMW motorcycle he was buying in San Diego.  Long story short... he agreed to pick up the Rambler and drive it down to me and then take the BMW back up.

What happened next was (in his words) the worst driving experience ever.  We think the head gasket started to fail. Small puffs of smoke eventually became billowing clouds.  He went through 4 quarts of oil.  Some over heating issues.  Oil coming out the breather tube and spraying on the headers.  He had to keep pulling off to cool it down and get more oil in it.  It started also running more rough and dying at idle.

He eventually got it to my house... though we were ready to send a tow vehicle.  He almost gave up 18 miles from home... but made it.

So now it is parked in front of the house and has been there for 6 days.  I have not driven it more than 20 feet yet, as it is not happy running.  I started looking it over and trying to get a good grasp of what needs to happen, and what I want to do in the short term and long term.
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randychase View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randychase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/22/2013 at 3:19pm
What interested me the most with this car, was that everything was stock.  Stock working radio.  AC from Sears.  Headliner, upholstery, paint, etc.  There is only 63,000 miles on the odometer and it seems like it could be accurate.  Most of the wear just seems to be 50+ years of time.

My goal was to develop this car into a daily driver... keep in mind I do not drive much and certainly not daily.   I also would like to have enough reliability that it would not be a problem to have a long road trip. I love doing Route 66, I have done it twice in the last 4 years and am considering it again this year...though maybe not in this car. :)

I also like to use it for light towing.  MY tow needs are less than 1800 pounds and minimal tongue weight.  I feel the mass of the car is enough, but I do not know if the engine and tranny can handle short tows like this.

I want to restore it... but I do not feel compelled to keep it perfectly vintage.  Modern stuff that is hidden in the car is fine.  For example, I want to add a hidden stereo system with modern speakers and MP3 ability, and leave the working factory radio installed.
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pacerman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/22/2013 at 3:53pm
Of course you'll need to replace the head gasket first and when you do, take the head to a machine shop and have them check for cracks.  The old 195.6 should do OK with light tows.   Those wagons were in daily use for years and people went on vacation in them pulling campers.   Joe
Happiness is making something out of nothing.
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randychase View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randychase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/22/2013 at 5:05pm
Thanks Joe.

Step one is indeed fix the head gasket.

I am not of the school of thought that towing requires massive engines and huge vehicles.
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randychase View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote randychase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/22/2013 at 5:10pm
The short list of things to fix

1.  Head gasket issue.  Clean up oil around headers.
1A.  Replace bolts?

2.  Front upholstery.  Replace fabric and foam.

3.  Rear passenger door does not open.  Remove interior panel and review mechanisms?

4.  Re-upholster interior door panels

5.  Fix or replace cig lighter.  Install aux lighter for 12V stuff in hidden location.

6.  Install hidden MP3 player and speakers so I can have real tunes on longer drives.

7.  Install aftermarket hitch and wiring harness

8.  Replace driver's side front running/parking light lens (broken)

9.  Fix AC.  Replace anything? 

10.  Paint


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ramblage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/12/2013 at 10:34pm
WOw nice wagon! Im currently working on a 60 rambler 6 also but not a wagon but its along ways from getting back on the road!
1959 Rambler Custom
1960 Rambler Super
1972 Dodge Dart Swinger
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