Steve Marbais' 1966 AMC Marlin
(from Volume 18, Issue 203)

If someone had told Steve Marbais two years ago that he would own an AMC, he would have replied, “Not me, my blood bleeds blue! Ford blue”. Then one day while searching Craigslist looking for cars for sale in his area, which he does everyday, he ran across this 1966 AMC Marlin just 5 miles away from his shop. He had to check it out, having only seen one other in his life.

Upon research, Steve found less than 5,000 were made in 1966, and this one was special. He knew the bucket seats and console shifter were rare, but to have the top of the line AMC 327 cubic inch engine with 270 horsepower and a factory 650 cfm Holley, posi-trac rear end, power steering and power brakes was unbelievable. It was also equipped with an AM/FM radio with “vibratone” (which produced stereo-like sound, since radio broadcasts in stereo were not yet widespread), tilt steering and a cloth interior.

So Steve made the deal and bought the car, though it wasn’t in the condition you see here. He brought it home and got it running, after finding it had two bad valves. With the help of Rob at Central Florida Machine and Speed they got the heads back on, along with a new water pump. The car was now running and moving, but stopping was an issue. Again the internet came to the rescue with information. No parts were available for the disc brake system on the car, but spindles from a 1978-82 AMC Concord would fit. Steve found one in a junk yard in Lakeland, and the car now had working front brakes. Next up were the rear brakes. Since they looked pretty close to his Ford’s, with a little modification the rear brakes from a ‘72 Mercury were installed. Now the car was running, driving, and stopping.

Next came the interior, which was pretty decent except for the carpet and the seats. It was filthy dirty, but still unmolested. Carpet was easy to find, but the seat upholstery was an issue. It was back to the internet, where Steve was able to find SMS Auto Fabrics in Oregon that sells NOS (New - Old - Stock) upholstery. He called them and supplied the interior code, and sure enough they had it....for $89 a yard! But since it was the right pattern, and would be basically impossible to duplicate otherwise, Steve bit the bullet and made the purchase. The headliner proved a lot easier, as he found material that was almost a perfect match for $3 a yard at Joann Fabrics on the discount rack. It all came together very nice!

Lastly it was time to address the exterior. The vinyl roof (which was a factory option) was in great shape, but had faded. Three coats of dye later and it looked like new again. The car had been painted one time about 20 years ago in lacquer, and after about 8 hours of carefully cleaning and buffing, it came out like candy. The wheels are aluminum E-T mags, which were popular in the 60’s and 70’s, so Steve gave them the nod.

With only 54,000 miles on the odometer, the Marlin rides smooth and quiet. It draws a crowd everywhere Steve takes it. It is certainly a seldom seen model these days due to the fact less than 18,000 total Marlins were produced from 1965-1967, only 4,547 Marlins were produced in 1966, and far fewer with the 327/270hp engine and options this car has. Steve would like to thank Christopher for all his help in getting the car back into tip-top shape. Steve told us it is now a keeper, along with his 1933 Ford Vicky, 1953 F-100 pickup (that he uses as a daily driver), 1962 Falcon, 1963 Galaxie, 1964 Fairlane, 1970 Torino GT convertible, 1972 Torino, and 1972 Ranchero. Steve’s latest project is a 1964 Ford Country Squire Wagon....but who knows, maybe if he finds the right car another brand may sneak into his stable of Fords in the future. CN