All American Hero – John’s 1964 Rambler American 330
When John Eklofe saw this 44k original mile 1964 Rambler American 330 listed online he enthusiastically showed his fiancé. “It looks like a grandma car,” she shot back. Undeterred by the senior citizen vibes, John pulled the trigger. “I like cars you don’t see every day and this little 1964 Rambler American 330 is certainly that,” Eklofe enthused.
In Iowa, the summer cruising season is a relatively short window so getting a summer cruiser is a regular thing for car guys in the Plaines States. After selling his ’32 5-window coupe last year, it dawned on him one day in early spring that he was without a summer car. That’s how John’s journey with the Rambler started.
Prepping for the summer show and cruise season was a breeze for John. The RideTech air bags were already installed on the stock frame. All that was needed were some simple tweaks and wax, polish and fluid changes. He mounted some Yokohama red stripe tires to the Billet Specialties Vintec 18×7” wheels on all four corners. The simple addition of a Petronix distributor kit and coil woke up the motor a bit but John was steadfast about keeping the stock drive train intact for this summer.
That stock drivetrain has grandma written all over it. His fiancé was right in that regard! A 90 horsepower flathead straight six is all she’s got, but John actually enjoyed this summer’s journeys with just 90 ponies to call on. “The engine and Flash-O-Matic drivetrain will get you to the show every time, you just can’t be in a hurry,” he laughed. “I love bringing the car to the local cruise night. People point and debate what it is. Then I pop the hood and they love seeing that little flathead six in there. It’s good fun.” The simple addition of a Cal Custom-style finned air scoop and polished oil filter adds a subtle amount of hot rod flair to the benign bullet.
The lil’ Rambler carries its factory color of Bengal Ivory (which was freshened with PPG products in 2008) and all of the original trim and chrome adding even more curb appeal. Same goes for the interior and cabin – its all factory including the art deco horizontal speedometer. One look at the headlight and wiper knobs transports you back to the days of Lyndon B Johnson. We especially like the patterns of the original, fully reclinable bench seat and Rambler belt buckles.
John’s approach to acquiring and caring for the car is brilliant actually. There is no mad rush to race down the road sucking gas to get a good parking spot at the show. He and his fiancé get there when they get there. Sounds relaxing right? Add to that the fact you can pick up a classic car like this for well under $10k, put your own touches on it and roll down the road. It’s always amazed me what a proper stance and wheels can do for a car. While some car guys would cruise it for a while, keep it clean and tight, then sell it that’s most likely not going to happen here.
John has fallen in love with his 1964 Rambler American 330 and will not be letting it go anytime soon. In fact, he has “big plans” for the car including a potential engine swap. “But no matter what I do to it, my fiancé will still call it a ‘Grandma Car.’”
And that’s fine with John. It doesn’t bother him at all.
Photography by Steven Bunker