Enthusiasts This AMC Hurst SC/Rambler Is the Barely-Streetable Monster of Nightmares
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The 1969 Hurst SC/ Rambler was a scrappy car. It was an unexpected jaw-punch, dealt by Detroit's number four automaker. While the 1,512 units that AMC put on pavement weren't going to turn the tide of the muscle car war, they certainly left some Ford, Chevy, and Dodge owners with bruised and battered egos. For the today-unimaginable price of roughly $3,000, buyers were rewarded with a stripper model capable of low 14s [in 1969] and the perfect look-at-me paint scheme to bait in unsuspecting stop-light prey. Really, it's a shame there weren't more of them.
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Scramblers, a moniker they've absorbed over the decades, aren't your usual swap meet fare, but Ken Maisano and business partner, Scott Tedro, the duo behind MASCAR Classics, have a penchant for finding and building rare rides. In fact, this isn't the first creation out of the Costa Mesa shop to attract Car Craft's attention, nor is it the first time this car has graced these pages. Maisano's garage, featured in a previous This Guy's Garage segment, actually had the Rambler in it, although long before they started turning wrenches on the car.
"Scott bought the car on eBay for like $5,000," said Maisano. "It was all rusty, so we said 'if we're gonna do something with this, let's really do something. Every year we build three or four cars for the MCACN show. We pick a theme for each and just go. It's a shop-owned, collaboration deal. "
This AMC Hurst SC/Rambler Is the Barely-Streetable Monster of Nightmares
The 1969 Hurst SC/ Rambler was a scrappy car. It was an unexpected jaw-punch, dealt by Detroit's number four automaker. While the 1,512 units that AMC put on pavement weren't going to turn the tide of the muscle car war, they certainly left some Ford, Chevy, and Dodge owners with bruised and battered egos. For the today-unimaginable price of roughly $3,000, buyers were rewarded with a stripper model capable of low 14s [in 1969] and the perfect look-at-me paint scheme to bait in unsuspecting stop-light prey. Really, it's a shame there weren't more of them. Research Research New Used New & Used Make (e.g. Mazda) Model (e.g.
The theme for the Rambler wasn't as cut and dry as previous projects. In fact, it's a little bit of everythingbut most importantly, it's fast.
"You could call it an all-out, killer, modernized Pro Street Car," said Maisano. "But, there isn't much street about it."
The team working on the Rambler, which consisted of Maisano, Tedro, and Dennis Cross, cut into the car, ditching pretty much everything but the sheet metal. "It's a complete tube chassis built by Dennis," said Maisano. All of the new bits, including the floor, were fabricated in-house by Cross including a full rollcage NHRA certified to 7.50syou, knowstreet car stuff. "We could have got it certified into the 6.50s," said Maisano. "But, that would have required more of funny car-style cage, and this was supposed to be a street car."
The rollcage flows rearward into a custom 4-link, rear suspension that supports a narrowed, Mark Williams 9in axle. In keeping with the Pro Street-esque, styling, the axle is shod in Weld Racing wheels with big tireshowever, not too big. "I didn't want to go crazy on the car, so it's got a Super Stockstyle 14inx32in tire on the back.
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Out front, the roll cage carries into the engine bay, supporting a strut-style suspension with coilovers. Steering has been converted to a modern, rack and pinionstyle setup, and braking duty is handled at all four corners by big, Wilwood brakes. But it's what's in the middle of that bay that really matters.
The powerplant is a Maisano-built, all-aluminum AMC. It's big, nasty, and the aftermarket's best stab at AMC components. Gone is the original 390ci, iron mill. In its place is an all-aluminum unit from Indy Cylinder Heads. Maisano did the machine work in house and punched the block out to a 4.375-inch bore which he filled with Diamond pistons. The bottom end of the engine carries a Moldex 4.250-inch stroke crankshaft, and Eagle Specialties, 6.200-inch connecting rods. The moving parts combine to yield a 13.7:1 compression ratio and displacement of 511ci of AMC.
Induction duties are handled by a pair of aluminum Indy Cylinder Heads castings, an Indy single-plane intake manifold, and a 1150cfm Holley Dominator carb. An MSD Digital 7 ignition box, coil, and Pro Billet distributor provide the spark, while custom headers, fabricated by Cross, with 2.25in diameter primaries and 4in collectors funnel exhaust in a rearward-ish, as the car lacks a full exhaust.
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Don't think for one minute this is an all-show, no-go setup. Just looking at the cam specs, which measure 282/288 degrees at 0.050-inch with 0.750-inch of lift on the intake and exhaust valves, paints a very clear picture of performance. On the engine dyno at Westech Performance, the engine cranked out an honest 870hp at 7,300 rpm and 695 lb-ft at 6,900 rpm on race gas. In order to stand up to that power, and help the engine get right up to its powerband, a Mike's Transmission's Powerglide and sky-high 6,300 rpmstall torque converter were employed.
Without a doubt, one of the most instantly recognizable features of a SC/Hurst Rambler is the color-burst paint scheme and hood scoop, two facets that were cleverly retained.
"These cars had an A paint scheme and a B paint scheme from the factory," said Maisano. "Scott didn't like either but wanted it to look old school. So, we made our own, which we call an A/B paint scheme. It has colors from both factory schemes in it."
Scott Tedro and Adam Stankus worked off of Scott's vision to come up with the wild A/B-scheme rendered heavily in metal flake. Ken Maisano expertly applied the multiple layers of candy, color, and flake.
In order to keep the goofy, AMC scoop, but add some modern functionality, Maisano combined two OEM-style scoops into one. "I bought two replacement, OEM-style hoods, cut them and half and put them together to make it replicate the original style, but fit the dominator carb underneath," he said.
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The aesthetic MASCAR has achieved is a spot-on blend; equal parts funk and ferocity a look only an AMC can pull off, and an instantly recognizable homage to its Hurst SC roots. But what stamp does one apply to quantify the style? Hard to say. "If I had to call it anything, I'd say it would be a great Street Outlaws carbut needs another 2,000 hp," says Maisano. Regardless of what you call it, "It's a scary ride," he laughs.
Who: MASCAR Classics (Scott Tedro and Ken Maisano)
What: 1969 AMC Rambler SC/ Hurst (Scrambler)
Where: Costa Mesa, CA
Based on an aluminum Indy Cylinder Heads block, the engine is filled with a Moldex crankshaft, Eagle Specialties connecting rods and Diamond pistons. Indy cylinder heads and intake manifold move the air while a massive cam and Jessel rockers work the valves. Fuel is supplied by an Aeromotive pump and regulator and a Holley Dominator 1150cfm carb. An advanced MSD box, coil, and distributor deliver the spark. Maisano did the machining in house and assembled the engine.
To deal with the AMC engine's torquey temperament, a Mikes Transmission Powerglide is employed. To help the engine get up to its powerband in a hurry, a Mikes 6,200 rpm stall torque converter was chosen.
Providing the perfect Pro Street look, and the strength to match, is a Mark Williams 9in axle.
Suspension and Brakes
Suspension consists of a custom-fabricated 4-link in the rear with a strut type system up front. Coilovers are used on all four corners, as are big, Wilwood brakes.
Wheels and Tires
Weld racing wheels, big in the back, skinny in the front are wrapped in competition-grade Hoosier rubber.
On the outside, the Rambler is all steel, with a factory-esque paint schemealbeit with some candy, flake, and clever re-scheming. The hood scoop is constructed from two OEM-style pieces joined together by Maisano.
The interior is sparserace carstyle but features Auto Meter gauges, a sturdy, custom-fab'd roll cage, and twin bucket seats.
On the engine dyno at Westech Performance in Mira Loma, CA, the engine belted out 870 hp at 7,300 rpm and 695 lb-ft at 6,900 rpm on race gas.
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