1969 AMC SC/RAMBLER JIM MCKEE
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.