Project Car Hellhole – 1971 AMC Rebel SST

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Last year, a very good friend and his friend drove north to check out an AMC Rebel. In a moment of inspired insanity, they bought the devilish thing, and managed to drive it back to their home town. Having made it to the local service station parking lot, a quick dab of the throttle was tried – and one of the rear wheels for all intents and purposes came off. Soon enough, it was surmised that the rear end had been MacGyvered together and was practically unsalvageable. The Rebel was carted to the yard of an understanding comrade, and over the course of the year it was made closer to driveable again. The entire experience reads like a “How not to buy an old American car” sort of guidebook, but had the car not been bought, the lives of that group of friends would be so much more dull. Probably less endangered, but dull.

I got to see the Rebel a couple of days ago. I remain shaken, and I didn’t even hear it run.

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You wouldn’t say the car is as much patinated as it is deteriorated and ransacked. It’s seen some things.

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Want to guess what you’re looking at here? I’ll spoil it for you: a Toyota Hiace rear axle, with Mitsubishi L200 wheels mounted inside out. The ratios are interesting.

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The heart of the beast. 5.9 litres, Edelbrock carb, Hooker headers.

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Amazingly enough, it used to be gold when it rolled out of the factory. Those days are very far behind.

The steering wheel is comically small in comparison to everything else.

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Whatever has taken place in the rear seat has been noted down in the headliner with black marker. “A scoreboard”, then.

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The different textures on this car are just the best.

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The rear plate is a tough fit. Technically, you’re not supposed to do this.

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Talking to Mikko, he said “You should’ve seen your face when you saw the car. You looked shocked.. exactly like I probably looked when you showed me those Citroën CX:s.”

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The car carries a vengeance and a fury buried deep within its murky, angry bowels. Mikko says it hates him like no vehicle has ever done, and it’ll probably take a while before the thing is exactly road legal instead of lethal. When it runs and drives on the tarmac, I’ll be sure to post some video of it in action.

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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17 responses to “Project Car Hellhole – 1971 AMC Rebel SST”

  1. cruisintime Avatar

    Road lethal as opposed to road legal. Everything a " Rebel " should be.

  2. Gooberpeaz Avatar

    Two words: Banger Racing.

  3. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    Last of the V8 Interseptors.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      That interior looks pretty interseptic.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        I was gonna make almost the same comment. Good thing I refreshed first.

  4. XRSevin Avatar

    Drive loudly and carry a big stick to prop up the hood.
    (singing) "He's a Rebel, and he's never gonna be any good."

  5. rustylink Avatar

    Gotta love a true interseptor…..

  6. Mid-life-crisis Avatar

    Thanks for posting this. I actually owned one of these (back in the mid 70's). They were crap then and time has done them no better.

  7. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    It's like getting a rescue animal from the pound. It's been abused, and is likely to be unpredictable, damaged, and to bite you. But, give it some TLC, and that it may become your most loyal companion. Your friend is very brave.

  8. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

    It's well on its way to becoming this… Picture is a linky to the whole story.
    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/10-99-NAS-Burnout-04-550×325.jpg&quot; width="600" </img>

    1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

      That's The Interfector.

  9. Me Tarzan Avatar

    More like inter-septic

  10. bsphillips Avatar

    A four door "SST?"
    S'pose anything is possible over there across the pond (& nearer to the Arctic Circle)
    🙂

  11. Mikko Avatar

    Hi guys!
    Here's some video about this "interseptor". It's the first start after long winter in Finland. You can see that the Hiace rear axle was not yet installed to the beast; At that time we were still trying to figure out how we should actually build it..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYHUDW4cnCQ
    (Yes, that muttering is Finnis, sorry about that..)
    But we still have some believes that we can actually get this thing through inspection and be able to drive this on street as a street-legal car. It's runs pretty well nowadays, goes forward (It's really fast), stops (not that easily though), and so on. Currently we have some alternator related problems going on, so that's why Antti couldn't actually drive it…
    Thanks!

  12. 68 rebels Avatar

    We had 2 68's. A wagon and a gov't surplus sedan. My Grandfater had a 69 & then 74 Matador. I got the Matador but the frame.was.rusted.out.(NH) winters. I love seeing the Rebels. Brings back good.memories.of family vacations

  13. Gary Fish Avatar

    That’s not even an AMC rear axle, 6 lug WTF !

  14. Mika Avatar

    Huh. I bougth the car. I only changed rear axel and rear brakes. And it is on the road again.
    Mikko is just a litle boy who dont understand cars.
    Few hundred euros, abd i have a cool perfect working car. It burns rubber. ITS fast.
    Maybe litle ugly. But so am i 🙂

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