“Standing before you is the car you’ve always wanted,” said a December 1969 Hot Rod magazine ad showing the Rebel “Machine,” which bowed at the NHRA World Championship drag races two months earlier.
The ad warned, “Incidentally, if you have delusions of entering the Daytona 500 with the Machine, or challenging people at random, the Machine is not that fast. You should know that. For instance, it is not as fast on the getaway as a 427 Corvette, or a Hemi, but it is faster on the getaway than a Volkswagen, a slow freight train, and your old man’s Cadillac.”
The Machine’s “standard stuff” included a 4-speed gearbox, Hurst shifter, a hood tach, Ram-Air, a 3.54:1 or 3.91:1 rear axle, H.D. suspension, low-back-pressure dual exhausts, sway bars, 15-inch RWL tires, styled wheels, high-back buckets and disc brakes.
The first 100 cars were white with blue lower beltline stripes and hood. The upper body sides were red striped. Red-White-Blue stripes ran across the rear fender tips and deck. “Machine” emblems decorated the front fenders and rear trim panel. For buyers who didn’t like the color scheme, AMC said, “You can order the car painted in the color of your choice.” Such cars had silver striping and a blacked-out hood. The original color scheme became a $75 option.
The base retail price of The Machine was $3,475. Vital statistics included a 114-in. wheelbase, a 197-in. overall length and a curb weight of 3,640 lbs. The 390-cid AMC V-8 produced 340 hp. That was good enough for a 6.4-second zero to sixty time and 1 4.40-second quarter mile with a terminal speed of 98 mph.
“The Machine” was an AMC-Hurst joint venture, but this association wasn’t promoted to buyers. AMC sales VP Bill Pickett said the Machine was another youth-oriented car introduced in recognition of the important marketing axiom: “Youth must be served.” AMC built 2,326 Rebel Machines.
Today a perfectly preserved or correctly restored Rebel Machine will bring up to $40,000, but if you are thinking of buying one as an investment, be warned that the resale market is small. Members of the American Motors Owners Association (www.AMONational.com) represent the biggest group of potential buyers, but the larger body of collectors would probably go for the 427 Corvette or the Hemi Mopar first.
Article courtesy Speedville.