Kenosha’s Wildest Ride Stakes a Claim in the North­east

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Scotty Lachenauer

Kenosha’s wildest ride stakes a claim in the North­east

Leave it to the ma­ni­a­cal minds at Kenosha’s Amer­i­can Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion to take a frumpy Ram­bler fam­ily sedan and turn it into a lean, mean, street-fightin’ ma­chine: the AMC Hurst SC/Ram­bler. AMC’s bid to play with the Big Three in 1969 was ar­guably the gut­si­est move of the mus­cle car era, and the boys in Kenosha did it by sim­ply fol­low­ing the ba­sic mus­cle car for­mula that had been forged years ear­lier by its com­peti­tors in the Mo­tor City.

By tak­ing the light­weight, base-model Ram­bler, in­fus­ing it with its big­gest and hottest mo­tor to date, and throw­ing in a four-speed rowed with a T-han­dle Hurst shifter for good mea­sure, AMC cre­ated a car sport­ing one hell of a punch where it counts. Throw in some wild paint schemes and a price well be­low the cost of the other bar­gain-base­ment brawlers, and you had a recipe for suc­cess, or at least a shot at some pretty low e.t.’s!

Push­ing out 1 hp for ev­ery 10.19 pounds of car, the AMC Hurst SC/Ram­bler had one of the high­est horse­power-to-weight ra­tios of its era. This would help pro­pel the rad­i­cally hand­some lit­tle box through the traps at times usu­ally only ob­tained by big-block mus­cle mon­sters built by the Big Three.

Chuck’s Luck

If you are a loyal MCR reader, Chuck Fisher’s name will prob­a­bly sound fa­mil­iar. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool mus­cle car fa­natic whose cars have been fea­tured in sev­eral of our is­sues. Though he has a size­able hoard of orig­i­nal cars, by no means is he a hoarder. His cars are not put up and pam­pered; he drives them of­ten and en­joys them for what they were built for: run­ning them out on the streets hard and leav­ing a black-streaked call­ing card on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Like all Chuck’s cars, this one has a tale to tell. The story starts in 1969, when Steven Posick (Sam to his friends) and his buddy Frank Lu­cuk walked into Stahls’ AMC deal­er­ship in Derby, Con­necti­cut. They both planned to buy a hot new AMC of­fer­ing that day and were ready to lay down some cash.

They spot­ted a pair of beau­ties sit­ting side by side: a Big Bad Green 390 Javelin and a SC/Ram­bler. Frank stepped up first and took the Javelin, which left the boxy lit­tle SC/Ram­bler for Sam.

Sam brought it to his re­pair shop, Steven Posick Mo­tor Sales, to prep it for quar­ter-mile duty. He had al­ready cam­paigned pretty much every­thing Detroit had of­fered up to this time, and had re­cently run a 390 Javelin from Stahls’ on lo­cal tracks like Dover (Con­necti­cut) Drag­way and New York Na­tional Speed­way.

The first thing Sam did was re­move the mo­tor and send it to S&K Speed in Long Is­land, New York, to get a dose of power.

In the mean­time, the al­ready race-proven, S&K-built 390 out of Sam’s Javelin was in­stalled in the SC/Ram­bler. A set of 4.11 gears went out back, along with a set of slicks mounted on Cra­gar rims. The fi­nal touch was adding the let­ter­ing on the side, which fea­tured Stahls’ AMC as its main spon­sor.

Within weeks the car was pulling off con­sis­tent 12-se­cond quar­ters. The turnover was so fast that even the orig­i­nal dealer sales in­voice was still at­tached in the win­dow. A short time later the SC/Ram­bler’s orig­i­nal engine came back from S&K and was put into Sam’s Javelin. Soon they were both back hit­ting the track hard, and un­der Sam’s care they both did pretty well.

The owner/driver was known lo­cally as a wild man, both on and off the track, and it was not un­com­mon to see ei­ther car street rac­ing. He cer­tainly wasn’t shy about get­ting into it at high speeds on the lo­cal roads. He be­came a sort of lo­cal celebrity in his brash AMCs.

Sam had other driv­ers in his cir­cle of friends, so on week­ends the two Stahls’ cars would hit dif­fer­ent tracks in the area. His pair of AMC aces was al­ways fast and com­pet­i­tive, and al­ways seemed to place well. How­ever, by 1972 he was grow­ing tired of the runaround. He de­cided to re­spray both cars back to their orig­i­nal paint schemes and sold them through his body shop, the SC/Ram­bler let go with its built-up race engine and run­ning gear still in­tact.

The Javelin dis­ap­peared, never to sur­face again. But the SC/Ram­bler stayed in the Con­necti­cut area and close to Chuck Fisher’s home. It was sold to a lo­cal fel­low who used it as trans­porta­tion for years, driv­ing it daily and park­ing it out­side in the in­hos­pitable New Eng­land win­ters. It was prac­ti­cally a land­mark in the area, as the owner parked the brightly painted sedan where it was vis­i­ble for all to see.

The weather and con­stant driv­ing in the salty win­ter months took a toll on the car. How­ever, in 1990 the car’s for­tunes im­proved. Chuck’s good friend Jim Wis­neski spied an ad­ver­tise­ment for a 1969 Ram­bler SC in the lo­cal want ads for $1,500. He knew the his­tory of the SC/Ram­bler and wanted to save it, so he grabbed a fist­ful of Ben­jamins and headed over with his tow truck.

Jim soon was learn­ing the ways of a true hot rod junky. In­ter­est­ingly enough, he was em­ployed by Sam him­self as a mus­cle car me­chanic, so he knew the his­tory of this wild ride first­hand. An­other in­ter­est­ing twist to the story was that the last owner of the SC/Ram­bler had stored the car in the lot ad­ja­cent to Stahls’ new deal­er­ship lo­ca­tion in town.

Af­ter get­ting the car for just $900, Jim tore into a ro­tis­serie restora­tion, tak­ing the car down to the core. He soon found

out that even af­ter all these years and miles, the engine was still as S&K built it. It needed just a fresh­en­ing with new rings, bear­ings, and a valve job to get it up to snuff. They kept the enor­mous solid-lifter cam in place, as it brought an evil, lopey grunt to this par­tic­u­lar 390. Since there were no AMC re­pro­duc­tion parts at the time, Jim bought a six-cylin­der Ram­bler parts car and used its near-mint black vinyl in­te­rior to re­place the rav­aged orig­i­nal char­coal gray in­te­rior in the SC/Ram­bler, though the SC/Ram­bler’s dis­tinc­tive red, white, and blue head­rests stayed in the car. Now the AMC was a stun­ner. Though it was not a 100-point restora­tion, it made the car once again com­plete and ready to show and go.

“The SC/Ram­bler had one of the high­est horse­power-to-weight ra­tios of its era”

Ram­blin’ Man

Af­ter two decades of Jim’s own­er­ship, Chuck took the SC/Ram­bler off of his good buddy’s hands. The 20-year-old restora­tion was show­ing its age, so Chuck cleaned up some of the car’s is­sues. He de­cided to keep the black in­te­rior be­cause it was part of this par­tic­u­lar AMC’s back­story, and Chuck likes to keep mod­i­fi­ca­tions in­tact on his street and race cars. To bring it back to day-two sta­tus, he de­cided not only to in­stall a set of Cra­gars like it had back in the day but also to let­ter the car to look like it did when it ran on the North­east’s race­ways. Good friend Scott Bow­den grabbed his brushes along with a few vin­tage pics of the car and worked his magic, re­peat­ing his­tory once again.

Now a lo­cal leg­end is re­born and back in full race re­galia. Know­ing Chuck, this car will not sit idle. He is putting it through the paces and keep­ing it up to spec; that hopped-up 390 is ready to per­form when the urge hits him. Thanks to him, an­other clas­sic mus­cle car is be­ing saved for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to ogle over and drive.

n There were 1,512 SC/Ram­blers built in two dif­fer­ent paint schemes. The more prom­i­nent A scheme (shown here) fea­tured red on the flanks over the white base, while the B scheme was more se­date: just red and blue rocker stripes on the white base car. They both fea­tured the wild “in­duc­tion” graph­ics on the hood. n The SC/Ram­bler’s 390 was re­built by S&K Speed in Long Is­land, New York, back in 1969. No one knows for sure if this is the car’s orig­i­nal engine or the one taken from owner Steven Posick’s 1968 Javelin. The lack of VIN stamp­ings on AMC’s blocks makes it dif­fi­cult to iden­tify orig­i­nal pow­er­plants. Nev­er­the­less, this is a real-deal 390 built with the quar­ter-mile in mind. The paint in the engine bay is orig­i­nal.

Steven “Sam” Posick, the orig­i­nal owner of Chuck Fisher’s SC/Ram­bler, bought the car new from Stahls’ AMC in Con­necti­cut. It, as well as his ear­lier race car, a 1968 Javelin, were spon­sored by the deal­er­ship while they ter­ror­ized the North­east’s dragstrips through the early 1970s.

n Once new owner Chuck Fisher got his hands on the SC/Ram­bler, he knew this ride would get a set of orig­i­nal Cra­gar SS wheels just like it ran back in its days as a racer. These tires have been with the car for the last 20-plus years. The front skin­nies are Shell tires; yes,Shell sold tires back in the day!n

Wis­neski didn’t like the throw of the orig­i­nal Hurst T-han­dle shifter, so he bought an af­ter­mar­ket one and in­stalled it in the car. He did try to bend the Hurst more to his lik­ing, putting a torch to the lower end of the shaft. It didn’t work, but the OE piece is still with the car.

n When the car was stripped down for a restora­tion in 1990, the orig­i­nal char­coal vinyl in­te­rior was in poor shape. Then-owner Jim Wis­neski re­placed the seats and door pan­els with pieces sal­vaged from a mint con­di­tion Ram­bler he bought for parts. For­tu­nately he was smart enough to re­use the SC/Ram­bleronly head­rests.

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