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©2007 Publications International, Ltd. AMC took the time-honored muscle car route, putting its biggest engine in a compact body, and with help from Hurst, created the 1969 AMC SC/Rambler. See more muscle car pictures.

Laugh if you will, but the 1969 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler could blow the doors off some pedigreed muscle cars. Too bad AMC had to compensate for its slim advertising budget by making a billboard of the car.

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Having dipped into performance with the '68 AMX and Javelin pony cars, Detroit's No. 4 automaker decided to expand into the budget-muscle arena with -- don't snicker -- a Rambler Rogue compact. Directed by Hurst Performance Research Inc., the project followed the simplest hot-rod canon: stuff in the biggest available V-8. In AMC's case, that was the AMX's 315-hp 390-cid four-barrel. A Borg-Warner four-speed with a Hurst shifter and a 3.54:1 limited-slip completed the drivetrain.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. A free-breathing 390-cid V-8, performance drivetrain, and light weight made the Scrambler pretty quick.

Heavy-duty shocks, anti-sway bar, and anti-hop rear links fortified the suspension. E70Xl4 Polyglas tires and the AMC's optional heavy-duty brakes with front discs were included. Inside were reclining buckets. Instrumentation was standard Rogue with the exception of a Sun 8000-rpm tach strapped to the steering column.

The car debuted midway through the model year as the AMC SC/Rambler-Hurst; most called it the Scrambler. Only 1,512 were built, and they were potent little screamers. But that exterior treatment! No one seemed to like it. A "tri-colored nickelodeon," said Car and Driver.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The Scrambler was a sort of supercar caricature, with an exaggerated hood scoop and lampoonish paint and graphics.

All SC/Ramblers started as appliance-white hardtops with two-tone mags, racing mirrors, blackout grille and tail panel, Hurst badging, and a real ram-air hood scoop with an upthrust snout that unfortunately recalled the nose of a hound sniffing for the scent. About 1,200 Scramblers went full "Yankee Doodle," with broad red bodysides, wild hood graphics, and a fat blue dorsal stripe. The rest made do with only simple rocker-panel striping.

With ETs in the low to mid-l4s, however, some unwary rivals wouldn't have to look at the whole car. "This sort of acceleration," said Road Test, "is going to show the Hurst emblem on the back to a few GTOs, Cobra Jets, Road Runners, and Mach 1s."

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For more cool information on muscle cars, see:

  • Even AMC, the champion of the economy car, caught muscle car fever. See profiles, photos, and specifications of AMC muscle cars.
  • Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
  • Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.

These muscle car profiles include photos and specifications for each model:

  • The engine is what gives a muscle car its flamboyant personality. To learn everything you need to know about car engines, see How Car Engines Work.
  • Muscle cars wouldn't have much muscle without horsepower -- but what exactly is horsepower? How Horsepower Works answers that question.
  • NASCAR race cars embody the muscle car philosophy of power. Read How NASCAR Race Cars Work to find out what makes these charged-up racers go.
  • Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.