AMC Ambassador Optional Interior - Very distracted driving.

AMC used to be a car company. They spent their entire existence in the role of "industry underdog", and they wore the mantle with a certain pride, as you can tell from this ad. Because they always had to try extra hard to get customers' attention, they did lots of kooky stuff, like the Gremlin, the car whose width was the same as it's length, and Pacer, the car with different-length doors. Let's not forget the Eagle, which was a four-wheel-drive car that was available decades before anyone wanted one. They also offered a houndstooth check interior on their otherwise-sensible Ambassador model. Think that sounds nice? Tilt your eyes ten millimeters downward and ask yourself again.
Flipping the page to this ad made me literally jump and blink a few times. It's a startling feast for the eyes. It almost looks like a magic-eye picture. If you stare long enough at the seats, you may be lucky enough to see a picture of Tommy Smothers.

This interior was available on the top-line version of the Ambassador- the "DPL" which, according to Wikipedia, was an abbreviation of "diplomat". I can only imagine picking up Indira Gandhi from the airport in a car like this, to take her to the U.N. She'd decide right then and there to invade the U.S.
AMC Ambassador DPL. Business on the outside, party inside.
If you got the Ambassador with the special houndstooth interior, it came with two matching pillows, presumably for the back seat. Pillows in a car. This is new to me. We can assume these pillows are for general luxuriousness, and not for sleeping. As if anyone could sleep with this fabric just outside your shuttered eyeballs.

None of this is to say that this interior option should not have been made available, or that AMC should not have done so much crazy stuff. The auto industry has, for as long as I can remember, been burdened with laziness and stagnant ideas. Change happens slowly from one model year to the next. Arguably, this is because cars are so expensive to produce, manufacturers only make the most conservative decisions whenever possible, for fear of not sucking up to the most average and boring consumer segment. Notable exceptions are things like the Nissan Cube.

We needed AMC, and we still do. We need a car company that makes rash decisions and releases batshit-crazy products. I would probably never buy a car with this interior, but I want to think I might. I'm glad AMC manufactured a car like this, and that some people did buy it. Of course, AMC paid the price of craziness, and that's obscurity and death. Too bad the vast majority of consumers are too dull to enjoy a weird car... reliability aside. There are far too many beige Toyotas on the road.

"A little nonsense now and then is treasured by the wisest men."   -William Wonka

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Ypek said...

I really would like to have a Nissan Cube (in black) with the AMC interior. (But I'm from the Netherlands and I like checkers).

Craig F. said...

Let's bear in mind, shall we, that (in the days when it took five years to design a car) this abortion must've been green-lighted by Mitt Romney's dad.


PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Ho-ly crap. Weeird. Now I'm trying to think if it would be good to live in a country as insane as AMC was.

Damn good find, Craigf! Thanks for the scary dreams I'm going to have.

Romney The Elder was definitely behind the AMC Metropolitan, which is a favorite of mine. I have a yellow and white Johnny Lightning of that car on my desk. It was produced from 1954 to 1962: the exact tenure of Romney as CEO. Bizarre.



Steve Miller said...

Looks like the DPL was a '66 model. Design director for AMC was Richard Teague, who had worked at Packard in its last throes... After a stint at Chrysler, Teague went to AMC, where he was responsible for, among other cars, the Gremlim, the estimable AMX, and the Jeep Cherokee.

Doesn't mean he chose the dazzle camouflage fabric; Studebaker at one time touted their fabrics as selected by some fashion designer I'd never heard of. That's what happens when the marketing department roils the waters...

And who could forget Ford's effort to have poetess Marianne Moore choose the name for its Project X: the "Utopian Turtletop" probably wouldn't have sold more poorly then it did as the Edsel.

Comatoast said...

I think houndstooth is a great choice actually. I think the fact that the pattern is extremely large in comparison to most modern houndstooth textiles you find in fabric stores today is the reason it looks so clunky. It's okay Ypek. I'm from American and I like it too!

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