- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2008

“My dad had one of these,” Gary Himelfarb says while seated behind the steering wheel of his 1961 Rambler.

While electronically cruising Ebay last summer he saw a white over teal Rambler Classic Super four-door sedan on the auction block. On a whim he placed a bid and, says, “I was surprised when I won.”

Transportation arrangements were made to get the car from Ohio to Mr. Himelfarb’s home in Bethesda.

The outstanding original condition of the car impressed the new owner. “It’s a true bottom-of-the-line, no frills car,” Mr. Himelfarb admits. The car brought back many childhood memories and strange as it may seem Mr. Himelfarb says, “I bought it mainly for its looks.”

American Motors manufactured a total of 370,685 Ramblers during the 1961 model year. Each one had a base price of $2,268 before accessories were added and the original owner of Mr. Himelfarb’s Rambler didn’t add any accessories.

The 2,923-pound Rambler is equipped with standard features including:

• Black carpeting.

• Two rear ash trays.

• Weather-Eye heater.

• Gray painted dashboard.

• Two-spoke steering wheel.

• A front seat that can be reclined to create a nap couch or a twin travel bed.

The stubby, modified fins that end over the taillights have their beginning at the other end of the car on the front fenders above the dual headlights.

Under the hood is the 195.6-cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine that has provided 127 horsepower for all of the 71,000 miles the car has travelled.

An uppercase “R” is at the center of each wheel cover on the 108-inch wheelbase on which the car rides.

“I don’t think so,” is all Mr. Himelfarb will volunteer when asked about the 120 mph speedometer in his Rambler. In warm weather the interior of the non-air-conditioned car is kept ventilated via the air vents under the dashboard.

“I like the car’s originality,” Mr. Himelfarb says.

An unusual styling feature is a protruding lip over the rear window. At the front of the passenger compartment the windshield is kept clear by wipers so long they overlap.

Mr. Himelfarb’s sons Eric and Ian have been enlisted to help care for the Rambler — a task they don’t seem to mind.

“The car has no particular redeeming quality,” Mr. Himelfarb says. “Still,” he continues as he pats the chrome-plated ‘Classic’ label on the front fender, “There’s nothing that I don’t like about the car.”

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