1966 Marlin Was A Drag Racer

By Suzanne Edmonds

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a 56 year-old woman who has always had the car gene. I got it from my father and passed it on to my son, who is majoring in Automotive Restoration Technology at McPherson College. I have been married for 28 years to a man who also enjoys classic cars. In fact, our first conversation was about my car (‘65 Rambler) and his car (‘77 Ventura). I like most cars – I am particularly fond of those from the 1930s.

How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?

I think a friend’s post took me to it.

What Cool Rides do you currently own?

Cool is relative. We tend to have cars of sentimental value to us, and we tend to hold on to cars forever. Currently we have several that were purchased new by family members. My 65 Rambler Ambassador 990 Cross Country was bought on April 1, 1965 by my parents. It became my first car in 1976 and I drove it through high school and college. It ended up sitting for 20 years, and was not running when my husband and I decided to restore it (starting in 2009). It was our first restoration and we learned a lot on it. We did as much as we could ourselves.

It’s gone on to do well in shows and has been featured in several magazines. I also drive it. It is not a trailer queen and has gone on several long-distance trips. The next family car we brought back was a ‘72 Jeep Wagoneer Custom (AMC 360). It also was bought new by my parents. My father gave it to my son, and it was running, but not well. My son Matt has done most of the work on it himself and is keeping it as a survivor. My husband’s car is a 1977 Pontiac Ventura V-6 231 odd fire that he bought new, put almost 200,000 miles on, and then, over 10 years ago, donated to a club that was interested in restoring it. Ten years later, the club was no longer able to continue with the car, so we got it back and restored it.

My son’s daily driver is a ‘77 AMC Hornet he picked up for $550.00 on Craigslist. He has made it his project car at college, rebuilding the engine and redoing the interior. He drives long distance in it. My daily driver is an ‘87 Toyota Celica I bought new. It’s still a fun little car to drive, still turns heads, and is actually starting to be collectible.

In the wings we have a couple of other projects – my grandparents’ 73 AMC Ambassador 4 door (360) – which will be our son’s next project, and a 77 AMC Eagle which was, literally free…so how could we turn it down? The ‘66 Marlin belongs to my sister. She had a similar one as a new car (327 4 speed) and sold it in 1973. We managed to find it just when she was wanted one. It had been sitting in a garage for 30 years with the original engine pulled out of it (but available). It’s an original car and in good shape, but the engine needed a total rebuild and there were now peripherals to go with the engine (starter, brackets, etc). My son did the work on it and he is currently taking caring of it for my sister. My wagon is also a 327 car, but is automatic. My favorite ride is the’ 65 Rambler Ambassador Cross Country. I remember being a kid when my mom was driving it and I remember learning to drive it in high school. Getting it back on the road was a dream I never thought would happen.

What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?

My favorite memory – oh, winning best of class with it at the AMCRC National Convention, and my dad being there to see it. My Mom had passed by the time we started on the car, but my dad was very much there to see a car he bought become sort of famous.

What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?

We don’t have a lot of mods….we try to keep them mostly stock, but finding the parts for the Marlin, particularly the T-10 4 speed, was tough. They made so very few with that configuration. The car was used as a drag racer before getting parked (using a 401 we think), and so the 327/ 4 speed specific parts were long gone.

What is your dream car?

Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow.

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online community to know about you?

I think whatever car brings people joy is cool. I like odd cars, ones you don;t see every day, and the old family vehicles brought back because they are time machines. I have had grown men cry when they see my wagon because it was like their mothers’. I also encourage people to just jump in and see how far they can go towards fixing up a car – it takes time and patience, but most people can actually do so much themselves, and it is so worth it. I also encourage those other car-girls out there to enjoy the hobby.