Do you remember the day that you bought your first car? Do you remember the feeling you had when you first laid your eyes on it? Do you remember the first time that you took it out for a cruise all by yourself?
My first car was a 1966 Rambler Rebel I paid $100 for it. I bought it from a friend of my dad’s and he told me that I would have to fix the shifting linkage because it didn’t have a first or reverse. So I had to be careful how I parked until I got a chance to work on it.
That was my first shade tree mechanic job on my own car. That was the start of my education as a shade tree mechanic. My Rambler Rebel was a 2 door hardtop, white with black vinyl top, gray interior, inline 6 cylinder with 3 speed on column. See bottom of article for more info on the 1966 Rambler Rebel.
The Rambler Rebel wasn’t the coolest car for a teenager to have in 1972 but it was affordable and it got me to school and to work and back most of the time. The desirable cars in 1972 were the Camaros, Chevelles, Mustangs, Chargers, Roadrunners etc. Most of the same cars that are desirable and sought after today.
Late one Friday night a couple of buddies and I were driving my Rebel down Hampton Road on the way to my house to crash for the night, when Cathy a girl we all knew from Desoto passed us in her dark green 1969 Dodge Charger. We were the only two cars on that long straight stretch of road from Wheatland Road to Wintergreen. One of my buddies yelled out lets race her. I responded, my car doesn’t have a chance against that Charger. My buddy said so what it will be fun. So I floored the Rebel and started gaining on the Charger.
When we passed the Charger I watched it in the rear view mirror and my buddies watched out the rear window. When we saw the headlights of the Charger raise up we knew Cathy had engaged in the race. It didn’t take the Charger long to catch up. When the Charger was even with us I glanced over at Cathy and she had a look on her face as if she was asking me, “Are you serious? I gave her a big grin like I was having the time of my life and then I looked straight down the road ahead and tried to push the accelerator through the floorboard to get more speed from the Rambler Rebel 232 c.i. straight 6. Then I heard the bellow of the Charger’s 4 barrel carb as the Charger pulled away and the taillights began to fade in the distance.
Then I heard loud BAM!!! And immediately lost power and started coasting. My first thought was I had blown the engine. I started flashing my headlights in hopes that Cathy would come back and save us a long walk. That was way before everybody had cell phones. The best we had in those days was a CB radio, and usually only my goat roper friends would talk on them.
After flashing my headlights we saw the brake lights on the Charger and then we saw it making a U-turn. Cathy was coming back to see what had happened to us. When she pulled up behind us and asked what happened, we had determined between the three of us that we blew the clutch. Cathy gave us a ride into Desoto where we picked up my buddy’s car to get us home. The next day when I removed the dust cover from the bottom of the bell housing on the Rebel the clutch plate had turned to dust. Nothing was left except the metal center piece.
Was your first car a 1966 Rambler Rebel or a 1969 Dodge Charger?
Whatever it was we might be able to help you find one like it.
We have about 250 classic cars and trucks available at this time.
Click on Classic List at top of page and view 150+ vehicles and see if your first car is on it.
The Rebel name was used on previous year models and reappeared in 1966 on a version of the Rambler Classic two-door hardtop.
This model featured bucket seats, special interior and exterior trim, as well as a revised roof line. The base price of this top-of-the-line model was US$2,523 with the standard 232 cu in (3.8 L) I6; however, more sports oriented options were available that included a manual four-speed floor-mounted transmission, dash mounted tachometer, as well as the 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 producing 270 bhp (200 kW) for only an extra $65. This effort moved AMC once again toward the muscle car market segment; however the Rebel was criticized for its antiquated torque tube suspension system.
Total production of the Rebel model was 7,512.