The father-son link is a major theme in the car hobby because the natural tendency is for a father to pass things along to his son.

In this case the father passed something along with a deep family connection–his grandfather’s 1964 Rambler Ambassador.

Jerry Sutherland

Daniel Cox is the latest in the line of succession. He explained how the Rambler came into the family: “My Great-Grandfather purchased the Rambler from the original owner in Florida in 1970. He used it as his daily driver in Florida during the winter until he sold it to my Father in 1984–still in its original condition”.

Daniel explained the complicated family route to his ownership of the Rambler: “I was born in 1996, and my parents moved to a bigger house that didn’t have a garage, so my father sold the Rambler to my uncle (still on my Great-Grandfather’s side)”.

He was patient during his pursuit of the family legacy: “It was mostly in storage for 16 years, I got to ride in it twice growing up and I was determined and hooked that this was my dream car, so in 2013 when I needed a senior project for my automotive technology JVS program, I convinced my dad and uncle to let me learn to work on the Rambler.

Daniel explained how the car had weathered the long hibernation: “The Rambler had 64,000 miles on it when I began a “rolling restoration”. The brakes were full of sludge, the original carburetor had never been cleaned, the engine bay had not been repainted, and many other odds and ends needed looking at. The body had already been repainted by my father in 1990”.

He knew what he had to do: “After getting it running and most importantly stopping properly, there were only a couple of big repairs I did–pulling the engine to do all of the freeze plugs due to rust pinholes and replacing the rope rear main seal which was interesting. While apart, I was able to confirm that all of the original rings and bearings were in excellent condition”.

The Rambler is close to what his great-grandfather drove over 50 years ago: “It still has the numbers- matching Rambler 327. It’s a higher output option with a higher compression ratio and optional Holley 4-barrel which both are rated at increasing 20 HP and 20 ft-lbs of torque totaling out at 270 HP and 360 ft-lbs of torque”.

Daniel is surprised by the drivability of his car: “The Rambler is a blast to drive! The torque from the 327 when you manually up shift with the floor shifter puts a smile on your face, especially when all 4 barrels of the carb kick in. The seats are very comfortable, the ride is smooth, and the view is a definite highlight with the hardtop’s windows down. I usually drive it every weekend when the weather is good. I like going to car shows whenever I can”.

He’s used to the attention he gets at shows: “When the Rambler is at a car show the most common reaction I get is “is that a Rambler?”–or “my family had one, but it was a straight six wagon” Overall it gets a lot of positive attention and breaks the mold of what people think a Rambler is typically like”.

Daniel has a few things left on the checklist: “As far as remaining tasks, this year I need to replace the turn signal flasher which is stuck on and learn how to rebuild the original horns. There is one spot of paint that needs touched up. Other than that, I just need to do my yearly maintenance and enjoy”.

The final question was simple. What’s it like to drive a car with this much history? 

I’m very grateful and happy to still have this family heirloom and that it’s a rare and special car as well. I would highly recommend keeping it in the family and it’s never too late to start a family heirloom project. Those types of cars are the best to me!

Daniel Cox

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

Please re-post this if you like this article.