They built about 10,000 Marlins the first year, in 1965, and less than 10,000 combined in the next two years. I went to the AMC Centennial in 2002 in Kenosha, Wis., and there was a bone-stock red and black Marlin there and I couldn't quit looking at it. I knew I had to have one.
How long did it take to locate this one?
I found it four years later ...I had moved to Joplin, Mo., and I found it 5 miles from where I was living. I just happened to come by at the right time and the guy was ready to sell it. That's really what started me in Ramblers.
A lot of people think the Marlin's styling was copied from the early Dodge Chargers, but that's not true, is it?
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No, this car was built first and anybody who talks to me about it finds that out pretty quick. I get a lot of questions about it... especially from young people who say, 'Hey, that's a cool car' but probably half of them are looking at the rims.
Tell us about those wheels and the other equipment on your car.
They are American Racing Hopsters. The big rim look had grown on me — they are 18 inches in front, 20 inches in back, with Nexin low profile tires. This car came with a 327 Rambler V-8, a BorgWarner 3-speed Flash-O-Matic transmission and an enclosed driveline. Eventually, I want to fuel inject it and plan to go to an 8.8-inch rear end and open driveline.
You had to rush to get the body work done and the suede paint job finished in time for this year's Automobilia show, didn't you?
Yeah, if it hadn't been for my wife, Heidi, helping me all day, I wouldn't have made it. It was all sprayed with rattle cans, originally in black primer. I two-toned it with Krylon Oxford Blue satin. I am pleased with the paint scheme and when it's finally painted, it will be in the same two colors. You probably won't recognize the car when I'm done with it.