The Rambler Marlin stays a uncommon sight on this planet of traditional automobiles, however the automobile’s completely distinctive look makes them a welcome customer to any venue. Naturally, that point we heard the Marlin Auto Membership was holding a “Gathering of Marlins” on the American Motors Homeowners Affiliation (AMO) Worldwide Conference in Rockford, Illinois, we needed to test it out. A fair 10 Marlins—principally 1966 fashions for his or her 50th anniversary—turned out for the Gathering, and a pre-production Rambler Tarpon clone even dropped by the AMO’s huge present the second day. We additionally bought an opportunity to speak to artist Vince Geraci, head of the American Motors Company’s design studio answerable for of the AMC Marlin, who gave a quick presentation on the automobile.
Marlin Prehistory: The Rambler Tarpon Idea
The unique idea for the Marlin got here within the aerodynamic type of the Rambler Tarpon that debuted on the 1964 Chicago Auto Present, the place Richard Teague’s design marked a radical departure from the usually conservative look of Rambler’s and AMC’s choices. Whereas a bit smaller and missing a number of the refinement of the manufacturing Marlin, the Tarpon was basically the identical fundamental idea: a pillarless coupe that fell someplace close to the private luxurious coupe market. Probably the most placing characteristic is the sloped fastback roofline that terminates on the rear bumper. That lengthy aerodynamic “teardrop” form harkened again to mid-century designs like AMC’s predecessor, the Nash Airflyte.
Constructed on a convertible Rambler American, the Rambler Tarpon toured the nation on the auto present circuits and got here again with favorable sufficient reactions that AMC president Roy Abernethy greenlit manufacturing of the automobile with a brand new title, Marlin, for the 1965 mannequin 12 months.
A Pony Automotive Is Born
Just like the Tarpon, the ’65 was constructed on the Rambler American platform, however the general design was modified from a 2+2 coupe that may have slotted into the burgeoning “pony automobile” market to a bigger 3+Three household coupe designed to attraction to the market’s development towards larger automobiles with extra appointments.
The request for extra passenger room was dealt with in no small half by Geraci and his designers.
“The suggestions got here that the headroom in again was inadequate,” Geraci stated. “They wished 1.5 inches extra of headroom [for the rear seats]; We hated that, thought it took away the sleekness.” Nonetheless, Geraci’s studio went to work on Abernethy’s request for extra headroom.
“[Designer] Kevin Goodnough disguised that change very properly, I believe,” Geraci stated.
AMC Rambler Insignia
The small trunk opening on the slanted rear wore an unmistakable glass Marlin insignia badge and the general look was spruced up from the Tarpon, together with the addition of a lip to the rear deck, giving only a tiny nod to the design’s borrowed aeronautical components.
The Marlin’s first two years of manufacturing did not lead to excessive gross sales quantity, however with the introduction of a brand new AMC platform in 1967, the Marlin bought a redesign on the Ambassador’s wider observe width and wheelbase. “[The ’67] was essentially the most engaging Marlin as a result of we had been capable of get a brand new package deal with a brand new physique,” Geracis stated. That new physique included a redesigned roofline and a smaller C-pillar. The corporate branding additionally switched all Rambler badging to AMC in 1967, making the ’67 formally the “AMC Marlin.” Gross sales struggled with only some greater than 2,000 being offered in 1967 and Marlin manufacturing ended.
Even amongst AMC’s up to date designers, opinions on the Marlin’s design are a combined bag. Bob Nixon, who labored for AMC and Jeep for many years, has been quoted calling the Marlin an “ugly embarrassment.” However Geraci nonetheless thinks extremely of the design and the proof is at all times within the pudding for him.
“The ’65 Marlin continues to be a beautiful automobile,” he stated. “If you take it to a automobile present, in a sea of 150 Corvettes, individuals at all times gravitate towards the Marlin.”