PCH, Red, White, And Blue Flames Edition: Austin America Or Rambler American?

Illustration for article titled PCH, Red, White, And Blue Flames Edition: Austin America Or Rambler American?

For the first time, a single car part beat an entire car in a Project Car Hell matchup, according to the results of our most recent Choose Your Eternity poll. Today we're going to celebrate the Fourth of July, but not by getting all liquored up and firing large-caliber handguns into the sky. No, we're going to celebrate our freedoms by sentencing ourselves to years of thankless labor in the garage, on vehicles so patriotic that they're literally named after America.

You superpatriots might be screaming about the inclusion of a British car in this matchup- especially on a holiday celebrating the day we told our cruel colonial masters to hit the road (thanks for the backup, France!)- but Britain gave us our language, the basis for our legal system, and Top Gear. And come on, how can you not love a car named for its target market? What if Chrysler had made a version of the Dart called the Dodge Deutschland and sold it in Germany? OK, we admit that argument isn't so compelling, but you won't care once you take a look at this '68 Austin America, which is priced to move- though not under its own power- at just $500. The seller wants us to know it's an "easy restoration," and we couldn't agree more! The "motor is not frozen up," the glass is all there, and it's a California car so you get yellow-on-black plates and (maybe) not much rust. It's conceivable- though not likely- that you could get away with buying and shipping just a handful of parts from the UK to finish this project.

That Austin would be fun, but front-wheel-drive from 40 years back is still front-wheel-drive. How could you do good old-fashioned American donuts in the Circle K parking lot without a rear-wheel-drive car? Exactly. That's why a Rambler American, made by the American Motor Company, is the only choice approved by the House Un-American Burnout Activities Committee. If you've got 600 bucks in your pocket (and plenty of welding expertise), this somewhat rusty '60 Rambler American could be yours right now. In stark contrast to the Austin America, the American's engine is seized... but that's no problem, because you'll need to ditch that antique flathead six and replace it with a great big thirsty AMC 401, equipped with a huge tunnel-ram intake and Cherry Bombs. While you're building this engine- which will be the easy part of the project- you can also start fixing the rusted-out floor pan. Don't despair, because at least "all glass, head lights, tail lights all in tact." It can't be that hard, right?


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Rob Emslie

Austin America? That's nothing, I've probably got most of the parts to get it running sitting around in my garage. Now, that being said, I have amassed a stockpile of small British car parts over the years of owning small British cars.

I have a buddy who restored an MG version of this car, first with the A-Series engine and then later with a Honda Si mill. So that's not hell. UNLESS, it's an automatic. The automatic gearbox in an America is like having a dog turd rosebud on the top of your strawberry shake, meaning it would significantly reduce your enjoyment in partaking.

So I'm going with the swiss cheese floor Rambler. That and because it's the real American.