Muscle Car Review - - Group 19 -

Jim McKee is a rar­ity in the car world and dou­bly so in the AMC niche. He is some­one who was there and can tell how it re­ally was back in the day. Even rarer, he is the orig­i­nal owner of a hot street ma­chine and still owns it.

In the late 1960s, Jim was a typ­i­cal hot rod­ding kid, try­ing to get the best wheels on a high schooler’s bud­get. He must have been bet­ter at it than most, as he talked his mother into a 1968 AMX be­cause “Ram­bler made nice, re­li­able cars.” His fol­low-up act was to con­vince his mom that a SC/Ram­bler made a good prac­ti­cal al­ter­na­tive to his Austin-Healey for col­lege in the fall.

Ac­quir­ing the SC was a saga in it­self that took about three months. This turned out to be a bless­ing in dis­guise, be­cause while he was wait­ing for de­liv­ery, he be­friended the owner’s son at Ni­chols Broth­ers Ram­bler in St. Peters­burg, Flor­ida, who hap­pened to work in the parts depart­ment. Hav­ing found a kin­dred soul in Jim, he would call him in ev­ery time there was a new part added to the Group 19 list­ing. Fi­nally, Jim had ac­quired nearly all of the rel­e­vant Group 19 bits for his car be­fore he even took de­liv­ery.

As a re­sult of this un­of­fi­cial in­side track, Jim’s SC ended up very well equipped. An R4B in­take, head­ers, camshaft kit, Hol­ley 780-cfm car­bu­re­tor, com­pe­ti­tion rocker arms, and the Mal­lory dis­trib­u­tor and match­ing coil all found their way onto the Bscheme rocket. Jim wanted to have the car at its best when it made its street de­but, so as soon as he got home, he pulled the en­gine and went to work.

The car per­formed so well that it made a name for it­self and, in some cases, gen­er­ated some dis­be­lief. Like the guy in a 1966 GTO with a 421 SD Tri-power that just had to see what kind of Ram­bler could keep up with him. A look un­der­hood re­vealed no magic, just a well-tuned AMC 390. Jim would avoid com­pli­cat­ing things by ex­plain­ing the dealer na­ture of the im­prove­ments and in­stead let peo­ple think this was fac­tory.

The best dragstrip time Jim re­calls from back in the day is 12.54 sec­onds at around 110-112 mph. That per­for­mance level keeps com­pany with things like COPO Ca­maros, 428 SCJ Mus­tangs, and Six Packs, as­sum­ing all cars equipped with slicks.

n Jim McKee’s con­cours-re­stored SC/Ram­bler wears the more un­der­stated B-scheme paint job, which nearly caused him to over­look it on the dealer lot the day he picked it up in At­lanta.

n An ab­so­lutely flaw­less en­gine bay show­cases the orig­i­nal speed parts still with the car after 49 years with one owner.

n As clean as the top, this shows the head­ers and lack of heavy un­der­coat­ing.

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