Name: 1957 AMC Rambler Rebel
Year(s) Produced: 1956-1957
Number Built: 1,500
Class: Mid-size family car
Body Type: 4-door hardtop sedan
Engine: 326.7 cui, AMC V-8
Power: 255hp @ 4700 RPM
0-60mph: 7.5 seconds
Top Speed: 115 mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 191.14 in./ 71.3 in./ 58 in.
Wheelbase: 108 in.
Base Price: US$2,786
Highest Price: US$50,000 (Hagerty)
When AMC, or the American Motors Corporation, started in 1654 as a result of a merger between Nash and Hudson, many thought that nothing extraordinary will come out of it. AMC after all, is not known for making cars that can wow its way into the hearts of the motoring public. But like a thunderclap out of nowhere, AMC suddenly surprised the world in 1956 with a creation that will be remembered very well in the annals of automotive history for being the first factory-built, intermediate-sized performance car responsible for the start of the muscle car revolution.
The 1957 AMC Rambler Rebel introduced itself to the crowd as a high-performance lightweight, mid-sized vehicle shoehorned with AMC’s latest big block 327 cui V-8 engine – a first for any vehicle to be outfitted with such during the post-war era. It simply stood out from the rest because GM, Ford, and Chrysler did not offer any intermediate sized during the time. The Rebel is not just a brute, it was also a gentleman. Among the items included with the Rebel’s $2,786 price tag were reclining seats, power steering, power brakes, a “continental” tire carrier, windshield washers, a radio, back-up lights, full wheel discs, a padded instrument panel and sun visors – a duly noted economical edge given the power it can muster. The Rebel walks the talk with its exclusive monotone body paint accented by a silver-and-black interior trim.
It is good that AMC seems to have it made with the Rambler Rebel, but all these specs are nothing if not actually tested on the road. Motor Trend back then conducted its own series of tests with the Rebel and concluded that this sedan was faster from a standing start than the 1957 Chevrolet Corvette with mechanical fuel injection due to the Bendrix Electrojector electronic fuel injection (EFI). It was a great advantage for the Rebel however, cold, inclement weather prevented it from starting properly forcing AMC to forego the installation of an EFI in other builds. Since then, the rest of the production Rebels used a four-barrel carburettor. Only 2 pre-production Rebels were known to be fitted with EFI.
AMC capitalized on the Rebel’s bragging rights for “amazing acceleration and speed”. Backed up by test results derived by Motor Trend, it had a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds while Hot Rod obtained 9.4 seconds. Top speed has been recorded at around 115mph. With such results, AMC’s Rebel was defiantly proud when it did short acceleration run at Daytona Beach in February of 1957.
Such speeds are attributed to the Rebel’s light unibody construction resulting to a power-to-weight ratio of about 13 pounds per horsepower with its standard 255 hp engine. The car was available only in one particular color scheme, refusing to be donned with any other. Its silver metallic paint is accented with gold anodized aluminum side inserts.
Unfortunately for AMC, the Rebel was short lived with only a total of 1,500 Rebels ever produced in 1957. Nevertheless, the Rebel left a legacy that served as a precursor to the muscle car era.
So what do you think? Do you agree that the ’57 Rebel Rambler is the grand daddy of the muscle cars? Let us know in comments section below.
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