Awww, Don’t Make Me Do This

Defend Mitt Romney that is. God, I already feel filthy just saying that. But I have to do it. Blame the Cornertards, starting with Byron York, then again, then the Pod Person, then Romney’s paramour, the Wingnut Pork Genie. Gah.

Romney’s an idiot for announcing at America’s most flaming anti-semite of the 20th century, Henry Ford’s museum, but he’s absolutely right to announce in front of — indeed, to be proud of his familial connection with — a Rambler. First, York misidentifies the make of the car — it’s not a Ford Fairlane, it’s a Rambler Classic in what looks like 660 trim. But why does this kar krap even matter? Because the only good thing George Romney, Mitt’s Daddy, ever did was save and vastly improve the American Motor Company, the last independent American carmaker; George Romney was a damn good businessman.

Yes, American Motors — AMC, the wonderful folks who brought you the garish yet cool cars of the 70s like the Gremlin, the Pacer, the Hornet, the Javelin, etc.

The 1950s, Greater Wingnuttia’s halcyon epoch, brought about massive consolidation in automaking; if Oligopoly Watch had been around then to keep track, maybe half of his entries would have been about the auto industry. The big three gobbled everyone up or drove them out; the little guys had to merge to stay alive. Packard and Studebaker joined together, which didn’t work out so well; Hudson and Nash joined too, and with different results, mostly because of George Romney, who saw that a niche could be filled with economy cars. The Nash Rambler was made a flagship — so much so that, although the new company was officially known as the American Motors Corporation, the make was known as Rambler.

Sensible cars, made well for the price, which was fucking cheap. Under George Romney (and, admittedly, much thanks to Ike’s recession), Rambler became the number three make in sales volume for a brief while, passing up Plymouth.

Anyway, Romney didn’t stay long, and the new leadership forgot Romney’s rule — niche marketing mostly in the econo genres, using conservative styling so that tooling costs would remain cheap and the cars would need fewer redesigns. AMC would have tanked sooner than it did were it not for the Jeep line; expensive (for the company) bombs like the Pacer and, especially, the new-in-’74 Matador[1] killed the company; Chrysler bought the remnants in 1987.

I’m sure most won’t care for this post, and that’s all right. But I was once a motorhead, owned and drove a 1970 AMC AMX, which, by the way, I should be shot for selling. Anyway, all this is from memory so there may be errors; I have a history of the company somewhere, which I haven’t read in many years, but it’s not handy right now.

Above: Retardo Montalban HTML Mencken and his beloved 1970 AMC AMX, many years ago.

[1] — Perhaps the company’s fate would have been different had all the Matador coupes come with the ‘transform into an airplane’ option, like Christopher Lee’s turd brown one did in The Man With The Golden Gun


Comments: 53


Tha Bond movie was hilarious because AMC got the automotive product placement. So in every setting, you see these AMC cars EVERYWHERE.

I had a 70 Hornet. Due to a design defect, the fenders alongside the hood would catch and trap salt underneath, so it would instantly develop two lines of rust through on either side of the hood. Pretty. Mechanically, though it was a tank: three on the tree, it survived a t-bone collision in the rear door that reduced it to a three door and introduced a noticeable dog-tracking; I still put another 25,000 miles on it before it died at 180,000.

But don’t let them make you defend Mitt again. His dad sounds okay though.


He’s trying to be inclusive. Plus IOKIYAR


Man, those old AMC jeeps were the mode of transportation for the discriminating good ol’ boy. My uncle had one that’s been dunked into the Tombigbee River twice, and still runs to this day. You always knew that in that jeep there was a good ol’ boy with a logging chain and a grin like a mule eating sourbriars just waiting for you to run off in a ditch. They lived for that, man.

I wanted one desperately as a young lad. Even saved up the money to buy one, $200, but my folks wouldn’t have it. My uncle even argued against it. I thought it terribly unfair at the time, but with age comes wisdom, and they had a good point.


My folks bought a ’63 Rambler, opalescent green, when their ’56 Chevy wagon died. Not the greatest car, but better than the ’64 Corvair Monza they bought the next year for my mom to drive. After that they went all European for the rest of their lives: Rover, Mercedes (used), Saab. They just gave up on Detroit (and never accepted Japan). There is much sociology buried in a lifetime’s car choices.


billy pilgrim,

George Romney claimed he was “brainwashed” by the Pentagon during a trip to Vietnam, which was why he had supported the war (until he ran for president in 1968, when, evidently, the brainwashing washed out).

As far as excuses go, that was novel, if not exactly sane. His candidacy foundered soon after, giving Tricky Dick the opening he needed.


No, there’s no way I could have pictured Retardo as a Gremlin driver…


Retardo may have had the fluffy hair of the hippy but he was a greaser at heart. (I can’t believe I remember “greasers”.)


We had an old Nash Rambler as our ‘beach car’ when I was a little girl. It was swell. My dad loved that car.

Does anyone know anyone who owned a Gremlin and didn’t get the gas cap stolen? Because I don’t.

Mitt Romney’s still a prat, though.


I drove a rusted out AMC Hornet station wagon for a while (belonged to the gf). The acceleration was amazing!


Renault had a 49% stake in AMC before they sold out to Chryslter. By then, Jeep/Eagle was the only brand manufactured by AMC.


I dunno, that looks like a white Ford Fairlane to me, dude. (check out ’65 sports coupe in da link

Then again, could be a Rambler American

But why would the Ford museum have a Rambler in it?

My ever-eccentric oldest brother drove a gunmetal blue 1966 Rambler Classic – 4 door and 3-on-teh-column. It was an old man’s car in a young man’s hands.


We had a metallic brown ’74 Matador wagon when I was a kid. It had this horrible carsick-inducing rubber/dog odor.

Fact: The absolute nadir of the Bond franchise: when Roger Moore is about to jump the canal in the AMX and the screeching hillbilly sheriff goes “YOU AIN’T GONNA… ? ? ?” and Moore replies in a horrible southern accent “I SHORE AM, PODNA!” and then there’s a slide whistle sound as the AMC loop-de-loops across the water. GOD I hate that scene.


Nah, dude, that’s a Rambler Classic — same bodystyle as your brother’s, but a two door hardtop version. I briefly owned a Classic 550 Wagon (3-on-teh-tree, with a 287 v-8) with the same front cap. Had a wiring problem, never got it running, sold it and it eventually, I hear, became a pretty cool drag car. Which, I’m glad. It was pimp, one owner before me. Had the illegal mirrored limo tint and everything.

Lesley — I’m still a hippie. Some of the pics Pasty ganked were real — that is before he photoshopped them so amatuerishly.

Teh — I *wish* I’d had a running Gremmie. I knew a kid in high school with one; it was so cool.

Gentlewoman — I know that was pretty common, but I can see why. Hell, I’d like to have one of those gascaps now — the early ones at least had the giant cartoon Gremlin creature on them, which if I remember right, looked like a cross between Grimace and Captain Caveman.


Gaaaah, no tb, that wasn’t an AMX; it was a Hornet hatchback.

The scene was pretty cornball, though, yeah…


Do NOT dis the Pacer. Aside from their little problem with engine overheating — they had to shoehorn a 6-cylinder into a space they’d designed for the Wankel rotary when it wasn’t quite ready for prime time — the Pacer was stylish and my god, man, the doors they weighed like 20 pounds….

I drove the Pacer my father gave to me in the early ’80s, after he’d driven it thousands of miles up and down I5.


The push button AT was pretty sweet, too.


Hehe I’m not dissing the Pacer; it’s just that it was very expensive for the company to tool, sucked up funds that could have been better spent and spread out on other models, and never sold nearly what the company projected. It wasn’t proftable at all.

But I have to ask — what was it like in those things on a hot summer day? All that glass. Christ, it was like they shouted “Kool Aid”, waited for the giant anthropomorphic jar to crash through the wall, dumped the liquid out him, put tires on him and called it an automobile. Which is actually a pretty neat thing.


The only cool car we had when I was a kid was an Opel. Otherwise my mother drove Valiants (very sturdy and durable), and the dreadful early edition Volkswagen Beetle (which stalled continuously in the winter, and had a perpetually broken heater. Cute it was not!).


Hey, I wonder how many of us were hippies. We should have a photo contest.


But why would the Ford museum have a Rambler in it?
It’s the Henry Ford Museum, not the Ford Motor Co. Museum. In addition to the usual suspects of trains, planes, and automobiles (regardless of manufacturer), it also contains industrial artifacts of pretty much every kind you could imagine. I remember being pretty impressed by a steam-powered pump for coal mines that was several stories tall (indoors) – and a couple of stories taller, sunken into the basement. I also remember seeing an REO Speed Wagon for the first time, and realizing that’s where that crappy band that was on the radio all the time got their name.

The place is pretty much a shrine to the Industrial Revolution, Invention, Industrialism, and Unfettered Capitalism. Dearborn Village, which adjoins the Museum, does the same sort of thing only with buildings: the Wright Bros bike shop, one of Edison’s labs, etc.


How about a hippie gunfighter? Early seventies, fort worth, texas….



My folks were Plymouth drivers until 4 kids came along and then they ended up going through a couple of Ford Country Squires and Galaxies. My dad’s last American car was a nile green LTD that must have been 40 feet long, in my memory. It had a vinyl top that peeled off completely by the time the car went to its last reward.

Then they started buying Camrys, and that was that.

I am embarrassed to admit that my car choices have always been a little eclectic. The first car I really owned was a Renault Le Car (blush!). It did have that cool soft vinyl sun-roof, though.


The first car I really owned was a Renault Le Car (blush!)

Three lug nuts per wheel! Wheee! But yeah they looked kinda cool in a spacey way.

Mikey — very cool threads, man. But gahh… Lone Star on draft? Don’t you know they put rat poison in that stuff?

Still, it’s not as bad as Pearl, which is surely the liquid equivalent of Soylent Green crackers. Awful stuff, isn’t fit to dump in a sewage lagoon.


that wasn’t an AMX; it was a Hornet hatchback.

That’s great! All the more ludicrous. They might as well have done it in a Pinto.


HT. The real deal was Shiner, but at that point I hadn’t been in TX long enough to know…



Wait a minute.

HTML (great name) is Retardo?

Nobody tells me anything.

Smiling Mortician

Welcome back, MrWonderful. Sit down, have a drink, get to know some people.


protective static : GREENFIELD Village. If you live here, you have to go every other year on a school field trip. And I had to spend the night with the Girl Scouts (I was the mom)
HT: When I first went to college I worked for Dominoes Pizza. The company delivery cars were Gremlins with the passenger seat taken out for the hot box. Yeah, I delivered pizza in a Gremlin. There was something about the distributor cap, the clips that held them on would not stay put. Once you started it, the cap would come off. If you turned the car off, it wouldn’t re-start unless you put the cap and clips back on. Most college kids could not do this, and 30 min delivery promise meant that we had two sets of keys so we could lock it and leave it running.


Thanks for the post on AMC, grew up with the Ramblers. Here’s what todays print edition of the Detroit Free Press had to say about Mitt Romney, ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Mitt Romney

Age: 59

Family: Married, five children

Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Brigham Young University; master’s of business administration, Harvard Business School; law degree, Harvard Law School

Business: President and chief executive officer, Salt Lake Organizing Committee, 2002 Winter Olympics; CEO, Bain & Company Inc., a management consulting firm; founder, Bain Capital, a venture capital firm

Political experience: Massachusetts governor, 2003-07; lost U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, 1994

Key mich. Romney backers

• Peter Karmanos, chairman/CEO of Detroit-based Compuware

• L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive

• Robert Taubman, president of Bloomfield Hills-based Taubman Centers Inc.

• John Rakolta, chairman/CEO of Detroit-based Walbridge Aldinger Co.

• Several of Michigan’s nine Republicans in Congress

• About 50 members of the Michigan Legislature

Romney on the issues

Abortion: Opposes constitutional right to abortion. Let states decide. Previously supported abortion rights.

Gay marriage: Opposes gay marriage.

There is also an article on-line where they actually use the word Mormon and explain his “flip-flopping” on those oh so important conservative issues. That article to my knowledge was not in the print edition. The excerpts I’ve included in this post were part of a front page article.


Hey, Mikey is cute.

Here’s my hippay contribution. Sullen much?


Wow, Lesley, I thought I was the only sullen hippie. You pull it off with way more charm, though, but then you’re cute and I’m a retard. C’est la vie!


Hey, I wonder how many of us were hippies. We should have a photo contest.

Look, I just have long hair and a beard, okay? Yes, I actually like the Greatful Dead. Yes, I’m down with the whole idea of peace, love and cool tunes. Of course, I eschew what our culture considers a “normal” adulthood, prefering a bohemian vagabond’s existence. Obviously, my politics and overall concept of culture skewers hard to the left in almost every instance. Yes, I’m all about “doing your own thing” and “not causing harm”, that weird mix of Hippocrates and Alisteir Crowley. Yes, my wardrobe is mostly blue jeans and band t-shirts. And…uhhh, yeah…much as I hate to own up to it, definately got a jones for the sweet leaf.


Well, shit. Damnedest thing is, every self-professed hippie my age or younger thinks I’m a redneck at first blush because of the accent, the hick background and unashamed love of Hank Williams Jr. The older hippies rarely give a shit.


mrstrailerco – mea culpa, maxima culpa… It’s been – oh, I dunno, 25 or so years since I’ve been there. Actually, “Keep On Loving You” was being played to death in 1981/82, so we can call that a sort of cultural carbon dating: 25 years it is.

It was kinda cool when I was 14; speaking as a parent of a school-aged child, I can’t imagine it as chaperone. My hat’s off to you 😉


Retardo, I don’t know how old your sullen hippie pic is, but mine dates back to the late seventies. Now I’m short-haired and heading towards cronedom (which, oddly, I’m looking forward to because… well will anyone arrest me if I beat some Bush-like creep over the head with the cane I expect I’ll eventually have at the Gray Panther demos?). Old baby-boomers are gonna be awesome! Just try and deindex our pensions!

Matt, I don’t see many ‘genuine’ (back to the land Woodstock-variety) hippies today. And when I run into them at the annual local folk festival I chuckle because they’re my age, balding and have stringy grey dreadlocks.


“George Romney claimed he was “brainwashedâ€? by the Pentagon during a trip to Vietnam, which was why he had supported the war (until he ran for president in 1968, when, evidently, the brainwashing washed out).

As far as excuses go, that was novel, if not exactly sane. His candidacy foundered soon after, giving Tricky Dick the opening he needed.”

SInce he was a MEXICAN!!! not an American, he never could have held the Presidency. He wouldn’t have passed the “natural born test” Read wikipedia like a good liberal!


Pro S – Thanks, but I’m still not showing you all the pix with the Barbra Striesand “A Star Is Born” perm. My mom has all of those. She uses them as blackmail everytime I say “assisted living facility”.

Mehitabel the Abyssinian

So who is this “ZZ-Top” to whom my house-ape is regularly compared?
And because I am a cat, I do not understand all the talk about Aqualung and Jethro Tull, either.


“Read wikipedia”

Yup, that’s teh source nondisputatem for all facts known, unknown, and yet to be invented.


Dude, I would so love to cruise in that car, blaring some Foreigner, Styx, and Boston… All I had in high school was a black 1988 LeBaron with ground effects that kept falling off.

“I’m a dirty white boy!”


Still, it’s not as bad as Pearl, which is surely the liquid equivalent of Soylent Green crackers. Awful stuff, isn’t fit to dump in a sewage lagoon.

As my dear grandpappy always used to say, “If it ain’t fit to dump in a sewage lagoon, might as well drink it.”

Okay, as far as I know, he never said that. But it’s the sort of thing he would have said.

Okay, my grandfather was actually a teetotaler. Um… [casts about desperately] Why would Henry Ford have owned a Rambler?


Also in Wikipedia, the March 26, 1790 Naturalization Act: “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or outside the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”

Derek Jeter - the other one

I actually worked at an AMC repair shop for a couple of summers in college. We always rolled our eyes when a Pacer came in – in addition to being ugly, having a turning radius the size of Rhode Island and did I mention ugly, they also were bears to fix because they had a whole separate parts line that we were always running out of.

Also, the Ramblers had a LIFETIME warranty on their mufflers so in 1977-78 old ladies were bringing in their 55 Ramblers for free repairs. Another round of eye-rolling.


“As Mitt breathed a sigh of relief over being missed by both vehicles, he never heard the oncoming roar of the propellors…”


“While riding in my Cadillac, what to my surprise,
A little Nash Rambler was following me, about one-third my size.
The guy must have wanted to pass me out
As he kept on tooting his horn (beep beep).
I’ll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.”

We had a Rambler, though it wasn’t a Nash by that time. “Mem-ries…”


I am fortunate enough to belong to the age cohort which allowed me to be a (young, aspiring) hippie AND a punk.

And no, I’m not posting any photos of either incarnation of myself. They’re all stuck away in a box somewhere, anyway, to keep the cats from licking the emulsion off the prints.

You brave souls who did post photos were and are really attractive, btw. Who knew we had such a good-looking community here? Well, besides the Pie Twins, I mean.

And oooooo mikey, the open shirt! Teh Hawt!


Kindly show our ex-Governor due respect when writing about him and use his real first name, Willard.

Besides, Willard Romney is a much funnier name than Mitt! (if such a thing is possible.)


That rambler was the best dating machine ever. The fronts seats reclined flat. That fact accounted for at least one sale that I know of.


mikey said,

February 15, 2007 at 3:32

How about a hippie gunfighter? Early seventies, fort worth, texas….


Leaving Texas, fourth day of July.


Mitt Romney

• L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County executive

That’s Detroitese for “corrupt political machine boss”.


Thanks for bringing back some memories. My entire family worked for American Motors at one time or another I and my 2 brothers were sold with the furniture and leftover Spirit and CJ parts when Chrysler bought the whole mess off Renault in 1987.
I remember sitting on the hump in the back of our AMX’s when I was a kid (no rear seat–but factory sidepipes. Sweet ride).
My first car–a 70 AMC Ambassador in puke green. 390 V-8 and eight mpg. God, what a tank, but worth the $225 it cost me in 1977, even if I had to bondo the thing every six months to keep fenders on it. I also owned a 71 matador, 72 Hornet and, yes, we had about 10 different Pacers at one time or another.
With the factory installed CB radios.


mikey, dude, if you were a hippie in early 70’s Fort Worth, you probably knew my big brother. Especially if you ever made it out to any parties on the shores of Lake Worth.

As for me, I came of age in the early 80’s looking pretty much exactly like Napoleon Dynamite. I don’t wanna talk about it.


My grandfather still have his Jeep, even though his been buying used Jeep car parts now and then just to keep his favorite car running which also built by AMC. I really guess that it too old like grandpa that needed to be buried sooner or later…

Maybe if i were born on the 70’s I think also bought a jeep just like grandpa, As he always say “This car has so many memories for me”…


How about an old Jeep bikini top? would it go to a museum.. LOL…


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