To showcase its all-new 232 cubic-inch inline six engine, in 1964 American Motors introduced a limited-production Rambler Classic and called it the Typhoon.
In 1964, American Motors wasn’t really in the performance car business. After all, it was in ’64 that the company introduced its famous print ad proclaiming, “The only race Rambler cares about is the human race!” But every now and then the Kenosha carmaker would show a little style and flash, for example with the 1957 Rambler Rebel and the clever Twin-Stick transmission. Here’s one more interesting example: the limited-production 1964 Typhoon.
By the early ’60s, AMC’s venerable inline six engine family, first produced way back in 1941 for the Nash 600, had grown horribly obsolete. Plunking down $45 million, a serious investment for the little automaker, AMC engineered an all-new six-cylinder engine line and a manufacturing plant to go with it. Justifiably proud of the new Torque Command Six, as it was called, AMC whipped up a special edition of the Rambler Classic 770 hardtop, its top of the line mid-sized model, to serve as a showcase.
While the old Rambler six was conservative to a fault (there was still an L-head version in production well into the ’60s) the new Torque Command Six, above, was state of the art. With a bore of 3.75 inches and a stroke of 3.25 inches, the layout was generously oversquare, while the roomy 4.38-inch bore spacing allowed plenty of coolant circulation. And down below, seven main bearings and a fully counterweighted crankshaft provided a stiff and sturdy lower end.
The initial displacement was 232 cubic inches with an output of 145 hp, but the engine was continually revised and refined over the years, enjoying an impressively long production life. In 1970 American Motors acquired Jeep and in 1987 American Motors was in turn acquired by Chrysler, and so it came to pass that Jeep vehicles used an updated version of this same basic engine package through 2006.
The new inline six was a $59.95 option in the Classic and Ambassador for 1964, but standard in the limited-edition Typhoon, which is distinguished by its Solar Yellow exterior paint and gloss black roof, along with a blacked-out grille, black-insert side trim, and unique badging. Additionally, all Typhoons apparently (we’re not entirely certain) sported a black vinyl interior with bucket seats and a console. Based on the Classic 770 two-door hardtop, the Typhoon received a late mid-year introduction in April of 1964, and only 2,520 were produced. Still, a remarkably high number of them seem to have survived, so you’re likely to encounter one from time to time in the hands of a dedicated AMC enthusiast.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.