The concept of the “Spring Special” to spur sagging interest in new cars is somewhat a lost concept. In these days of blurred time boundaries, new models up for sale are just given the next model year title. In the past however, new features and running model updates more often than not got a fresh round of marketing to spur along sales of current models.
Chrysler was notorious for flamboyant color options and names, Ford for bodystyles and powertrains. When AMC had a special announcement up its sleeve for April of ’64, it took pages from both their books. With a fancy new engine and a striking color scheme, the 1964 Typhoon was born.
Perhaps the name had more of a punch than the actual product however. Where Ford announced more muscular versions of its V8s with mid-year styling updates, the Typhoon announced the first modern Inline Six from Kenosha. Finally replacing the hoary Flathead adapted to accept overhead valves, the 232 cube unit produced 145 horsepower.
It did so with finesse not seen before from the company’s six cylinder units. It also proved to be a sturdy and long lived unit, long outlasting American Motors. The basic architecture saw service in the Jeep Wrangler through 2005.
The rest of the car was pretty much standard fare Rambler Classic. All new Motor Trend Car Of The Year Winning for 1963, the addition of Hardtop Coupes for 1964 alonside a heavy handed nose job showed AMC making an effort to engage excitement fueled by competitive Detroit brands. Convertibles would return to the Classic and Ambassador lines for 1965.
Unlike the mortally wounded Studebaker, Rambler wasn’t going out without a fight. Fighting against its dorky, pocket protector/spinster lesbian librarian image only rivaled by basic Plymouth offerings, feisty creations like the Typhoon went a long way on trying to sell America on nuanced virtues in their vehicles. In the long term, it didn’t work out for AMC as it eventually became another also-ran independent brand in the 1970’s. It did leave behind some colorful offerings promising a sting that didn’t hurt too much though.