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1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon Feature
Photo by Mike Mieczkowski

CarShowz Features

1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon

Being an automotive enthusiast we have all walked around a car show trying to find the next amazing build, perusing through the show field to see what catches our eye. That task particularly becomes hard when you are jam packed inside a convention center with…ummm, let’s say 180,000 spectators. On this day, we made our way through the central hall and came across this beautifully executed wide-body 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon. Your instincts are to take it all in, look over every inch of the car to appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into this build. With this particular event, SEMA, your time is valuable, you only have 4 days to take in everything. However, this 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon was worth every bit of our time! Not just my time, but our entire coverage team!

As we made our way around the AMC Rambler, Suzy Bauter greeted us by the wagon and I thought the 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon was very impressive, there’s nothing more fascinating then listening to the story behind the build. What makes this an even better story is Suzy and her Husband built most of the car out of their garage. The interior was also hand-crafted by, you guessed, it Suzy Bauter.

Check out their story of how this build came about…

The Story Behind the 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon

It started with a fortune.

“Something with four wheels will soon bring you great joy” knowing that she wanted to autocross alongside her partner Rodney Prouty, Suzy started the laborious hunt on Craigslist and eBay for the low-cost wagon. Having a Ford Falcon as a child, Bauter started there. As the prices were deemed too costly, the want for a wagon waned to other less expensive models like a Corvair and finally landed on a nearly straight AMC Rambler. Suzy knew right off the bat that she wanted a wagon but wasn’t going to take on the autocross in a traditional long roof with hundreds of inches between the wheels. The fifty year old Rambler fit the bill to a tee.

Four days after the fortune was told, Suzy hauled home a 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon that she immediately referred to as “Sugar” for its sweetness and white color. Underneath blue tarps and sheltered by the cab-over portion of a camper, Sugar left the trailer park home she’d had for several years and the effort to have a car running again began.

Removal of shag carpet and some hidden rust was paramount. Having the flat-head rebuilt by an old school race engine builder commenced and the money started flying out the window.

Fast forward five years and two cross-country moves later and ‘Sugar’ is now anything but sweet. During the five years of on and off-again building of the Rambler, Suzy started autocrossing Rodney’s 1968 Camaro. it didn’t take long to realize that the rebuilt flat-head six cylinders and three speed manual transmission were not going to cut it around the cones. Sugar is now the “Flare With Project” with a lot more horsepower, a lot more fabrication and a beautiful Washington Blue paint job courtesy of Best of Show Coachworks.

1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon Photos

Photos provided by Jeff Cantagallo and Mike Mieczkowski

Check out a few photos of the “Flare Witch Project” tame for now inside the central hall at SEMA 2017 and a few roll out photos.

Build Specifications of the 1963 AMC Rambler American 440 Wagon

Type: Chevrolet 5.3 Liter LS (LM7) 
Block: GM Iron
Rotating Assembly: Factory GM
Cylinder Heads: Factory GM LM7
Camshaft: Factory GM LM7
Valve-train: Factory GM LM7

Edelbrock carb conversion

Carb: Edelbrock 750
Air Induction: Spectre Air Penum
Oiling: Moroso Track Pan
Fuel System: Fuel cell

MSD LS Timing Controller

Wheels & Tires
US Mags customized ‘Spade’ three-piece aluminum 18×10.5
BF Goodrich Rical S 315×4

Rear End
Factory GM 5th gen Camaro

Front: Baer Brakes 14″ Pro+ 6 piston
Rear: Baer Custom Pro+ 6 piston with Eradispeed® rotors

Transmission: Factory GM 700R4
TCI Automotive Autocross valve body
TCI Automotive Ratchet Shifter

Rear Suspension
Factory GM 5th Gen IRS
Viking Performance Berzerker
ASM adjustable coilovers

Suzy Bauter

Chassis Front Suspension
Factory GM 1st Gen Camaro sub frame
Global West Upper A-Arms
Detroit Speed Lower Control Arms
Custom Suspension Geek Spindles, etc.
Viking Performance Berzerker
ASM adjustable coilovers

To check out more SEMA 2017 photos and video, check out our coverage article here at CarShowz.

An Infrastructure/Information Technology Manager by day, an automotive enthusiast the rest of my spare time. Most importantly a Father, Husband and a U.S. Navy Veteran! Combining my experiences and skills and came up with the ultimate creation of Armed with a camera who knows where this journey will take me but stay tuned, it's going to be an exciting ride!

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