The Ambo story

During the fall 2001 I got a call concerning a very cheap AMC. Here's the story I was told.

The car was a '64 Ambassador which used to be a V8+automatic car, and used by Neste Oils as a company car for 15 years. After this (or so I was told) it was bought by an elderly man whom looked after it with care. Years after (somewhere around late 80s) the elderly man passed away and the car was left unattended outside. Five years (or so) passed and the car was finally sold, but without the title (but it was promised to be delivered later on as the estate cleared). Soon after this most of the rust problems were fixed and the stalled 327cid V8 & Borg-Warner automatic was SADLY replaced by a 258cid & T-14 from a '74-'77 Jeep Wagoneer. A couple years passed and the car was worked on every now and then. Now the car was for sale, and for cheap since the seller had lost his garage.

I called the seller and he confirmed the story, '64 Ambassador, decent shape and on sale pretty cheap.

So after two weeks of preparation for the trip, I managed to sell the 258cid+manual in advance to cover the costs of the trip itself (I'm a poor student I can't afford across the country-trips). I spent a few days looking for a car to haul the trailer I borrowed from a friend (whom also bought the engine+tranny combo for his '66 Classic STW). Finally I found a car suitable for the long trip from Pori to Mikkeli and back and so I, along with a couple friends, took the trip to Mikkeli. Over there we met up with Kari Kokkola, another AMCCF members whom drove his daily-driver from Helsinki just out of curiosity to check on the car.

Anyway, I was told on the phone that the car was situated in the centre of Mikkeli, but soon after arrival we found out that it was around 25 kilometers west from the centre itself. And let me tell you this, never use a VW van for long trips that would require a Jeep. The rabbleroads aren't all that fun.

And here's what we saw upon arrival. A quite rusted, almost totally stripped car, non-moving, brakes jammed, tires empty, but still decently intact. The biggest problem should be obvious to any AMC nut with any basic knowledge of Ambassadors. The car was a '66 Ambassador 4D, NOT a '64 Ambassador. Entirely different body/interior. I was pissed off. I drove across the country to pick up a car that wasn't what it was supposed to be (will I ever learn...).

But to make the best of the situation I checked the car thoroughly. It was a '66 Ambassador 990 (top line) 4D Sedan. I found all the missing crome/lists in the trunk/backseat and basically all the parts missing were either inside the car or in the garage in the back. We discussed about the price and the seller dropped the price to a reasonable level. The engine turned ok, but we didn't start it up coz it was getting dark fast. We loaded the car on the trailer, put the bumpers in the tow-car and took off to a near-by gas-station to settle the price.

So we sat down and I got some cash out of the 'ATM machine' and got something to eat. This is when the seller dropped the big bomb. The car doesn't have a title. I inquired on the title, if it was available somehow, but got turned down fast. No title, and no chance to get it from the old-man's estate. By now I had lost all hope in the car, but since it was already on the trailer and though, fuck it, and gave the seller the cash and headed out to the car. Well after closer inspection by the gas-station the situation wasn't all that bad. The car had disc brakes, both boosters and a decent interior. Since the engine+tranny was sold these were the major 'cash-in' stuff in the car. Also all the crome was in decent shape and basically I realized I'd break even on the deal and maybe even get some profit out of it. So things weren't as bad as they seemed. I cooled down and accepted the situation as it was. Soon after we were on our way back to Pori.

Here's me feeling out the car after realizing that the trip wasn't a complete waste

Basically all I did to the car was take out the interior, and the engine and then sold it to a fellow club member whom needed the brakes, boosters & some dash pieces for his 2D HT '66 Ambo. Then soon after this I sold the interior to another club member whom needed it for his '66 Classic Cross-Country Kustom. Now that I think of it, the trip wasn't much use for me, but some club members sure got useful parts out of it, and for a very reasonable price. Though, I don't think I'd do it again if I knew what was waiting...