Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where we highlight fascinating cars we found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
Carspotting is a lot like fishing. If you’re patient and know where to look, sometimes you can bag one of the big ones. Sometimes you can bag a Marlin. About a week ago in Bushwick, I was lucky enough to pull that off.
Marlins like this are not common. In fact, in this city of salt and rust, AMC survivors are a real treat to spot so we like to tell you when we see them. Based on Dick Teague’s 1964 Tarpon show car, the Rambler Marlin was only built for a few years between 1965 and 1967. This particular car has a 327 cubic inch V8, but other ‘65 Marlins could be had with a smaller 287 cubic inch eight-cylinder block or a slightly smaller inline-six.
Now, the styling. I’ve always been a fan of this design. It’s far from conventional with the tapered fastback sloping far behind the driver’s seat between the two squared-off fenders still sporting some vestigial fins. Compared to an equivalent Detroit product of the time, it was at once futuristic and dated.
Not everyone was impressed with this thing, though. Senator Mitt Romney, whose father helmed Rambler parent AMC when this car rolled off the line, wasn’t a fan of the brand-new Marlin he drove to his high school prom back in 1966. Jalopnik forefather Murilee Martin reports that he called the car “kind of awful” when running for governor of Massachusetts back in 2002, at once betraying the class tone-deafness of an ungrateful driver of a brand new car in high school as well as his unrefined taste in personal luxury coupes.
Me though? I love this thing. I’m a sucker for non-conventional packaging and styling choices like the white trim that accentuates the oval shape in the C-pillar, not to mention the expanse of headroom afforded to rear passengers. I also love the badges. Any car named after an animal really ought to have a badge shaped like its namesake. It should be a law.
And if it were, this car would make the cut. The marlins plastered all over this thing are incredible and I wish we had more imaginative badging like this today. After all, if you caught a real marlin, you’d have that baby stuffed and mounted above the fireplace, right? You’d want to tell the world. AMC knew that, and they covered the car with them.