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This car rolled off the east end of the Kenosha, Wisconsin production line on June 14, 1968. The dash plaque reads 01244. It began its life as a 343 floor shift auto that was painted Laurel Green Iridescent. The car was first purchased in Victoria, B.C., Canada, and has remained a B.C. car ever since. The first owner kept it for 20 years and put an estimated 50,000 miles on it. When the second owner got his hands on it, it had been repainted Chocolate Brown, the carpets and dash pad were done up in green shag, and the headliner was orange fun fur. Wow, did the 1970s ever do strange things to people's taste!

The second owner was thankfully very motivated. He brought the body and interior back from the dead, and its current magnificent state is a testimony to his workmanship. I still can not find evidence of the previous color, as the car was stripped to the bare shell before being repainted. He also swapped the 343 and M11 B&W trani for the 390 and M12 out of his 1969 Ambassador. All owners since this fellow were under the impression that the 390 had also been rebuilt when the swap was completed. I was the unfortunate person to discover that this so-called rebuild was limited to that of a spray bomb emitting correct engine color.

The third and fourth owners hardly drove the car. The third owner admitted to being too afraid to drive it at all. In fact, when he sold the car he did not even let the purchaser test drive it. The third owner is the only person who made money on the car as far as I can tell. The worst thing that has happened to this car during the last 10 years is it sat around motionless for too long.

I am the fifth owner, and hopefully the last. The fourth owner was gracious enough to let me have it for what he paid, seeing as the car had cost him nothing during his 3 years of ownership. I have taken this project one significant step further and given the car a whole new lease on life. To begin with, the front drum brakes had to go. The fresh AMC disc brakes were a much needed improvement. The engine, to my surprise, was frighteningly close to spinning a bearing. In fact, the rod bearings were virtually non-existent. To my delight, the engine was completely unmolested having never been opened before by anyone. Having spent many years in a family sedan, it was in great shape overall. It went back together with the same pistons as an over-bore was not even required. The M12 auto got left on the garage floor, and in its place went a T-10 4 speed. All parts used were authentic AMC, and the VIN is the only way to tell that the car was not manufactured as a manual. The 2.87 gears required immediate swapping to a 3.54, as I almost burnt out the new clutch in the first 2 days of driving. This car has exceeded my expectations in every way and I look forward to owning it into ripe old age.

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