1964 Rambler Classic 550

I just realized that even though this blog is called “Roadside Rambler,” we had not, until now, featured an actual Rambler in any of our posts. So, to assuage any concerns of false advertising, the oversight has been remedied in the form of this car.

This particular Rambler is a base-model 550, equipped with AMC’s 232 cubic inch straight-six engine, the second year for an engine that lasted until 1979. Its parent family of engines is one of the more well-regarded designs in motoring history: introduced in 1964 in the Rambler American, it continued on until 2006 and included one of the most iconic American motors of all-time, the Jeep 4.0L straight-six. This particular example is finished in the lovely shade of Woodside Green.

But one of the most interesting parts of this car is its scandal-ridden salmon license plate. The situation went like this: Oregonians who spent an extra $30 (initially, plus every two years to renew the plate) were assured that this money was being used to fund salmon conservancy efforts: a worthy cause. However, in a shocking example of a severe public funds misappropriation, half of the money raised was actually being funneled to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, paying for, among other things, staff salaries and a website improvement project. The total misallocated funds ranged into the millions of dollars, prompting an understandable scandal and a hasty vote by the Oregon legislature to fix the issue.

Lesson learned: always double-check where your money is actually going.

Portland, OR

Photos by The Professor

1992 Subaru SVX

1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX

The SVX never really caught on, partly because it looked so odd and partly because it was so expensive.┬áJust look at those side windows…They may look cool, but are very impractical in everyday driving. The only other car I can recall that had windows like that was the DeLorean.

It was also only available with a 4-speed automatic, stunting the performance from its boxer-six engine; not only that, but the slushboxes were notoriously unreliable. Just 14,257 were sold in the US and it’s rumored that Subaru lost up to $3,000 on every one sold.

Portland, OR

Photos by The Professor

1981 Chevrolet Caprice Landau

1981 Chevrolet Caprice Landau 1981 Chevrolet Caprice Landau 1981 Chevrolet Caprice Landau 1981 Chevrolet Caprice Landau

Most cars with “Landau” in their name have a vinyl roof of some sort; it seems that this one’s is restricted to the rooftop, which looks like it has a different texture. This 1981 model likely has the 5.0L V8, unleashing all of 155 horses under full throttle; or 31 horsepower per liter. Compare this to the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG of today, which makes 355 horsepower from its 2.0L turbo 4, translating to 177.5 horses per liter. That’s over 5 and a half times as many HP/liter! And it gets better fuel mileage!

But that vinyl though…

Portland, OR

Photos by The Professor