Rambler Tarpon

Pages: 123


The Rambler Tarpon was a concept car, a sporty youth-oriented 2 plus 2 hardtop coupé developed in 1963 by American Motors Corporation (AMC).

The Tarpon was a design study for a small rear-wheel drive two-door monocoque pillarless hardtop. Characteristic was its sleek sloping fastback roof that narrowed as it met the rear bumper. The Tarpon featured two huge and deep taillights that flowed down from the shoulders of the rear fender. The show car was finished in red with a black roof accenting its clean shape from the windshield back to almost the rear bumper. The smooth roofline was unbroken by the almost horizontal rear window. However, there was no trunk lid or outside hatch to access the cargo area. The Tarpon generated wide interest as it toured the auto show circuit starting in January 1964. It was well received at the Chicago Auto Show before the so-called "pony car" market segment was established. The Tarpon appeared together with the Mustang II (a concept design shown before the production version was unveiled) at the 1964 New York International Auto Show.

The Tarpon was made on the compact-sized Rambler American platform. A convertible chassis was used (106 inch or 2692 mm wheelbase), but the Tarpon was slightly longer, 180 inches (4572 mm) compared to 177.25 inches (4502 mm) for the production Rambler American. The Tarpon's roof was lowered two inches making it only 52.5 inches (1333 mm) high for an even more dynamic look. A swept back, double compound curved windshield further enhanced the Tarpon's low appearance. The wheels were also smaller to make the car lower. The Tarpon had polished 13-inch aluminum wheels, rather than the normal production 14-inch steel rims. The interior had a complete set of dial-type gauges under a padded dash, a deep-dish aluminum steering wheel rimmed in walnut, and custom bucket seats.

The Tarpon did not go into production. At that time, AMC was still developing its "GEN-2" light-weight V8 engine that would fit the small Rambler American chassis. If produced, the Tarpon would have been a competitor to the Plymouth Barracuda, a fastback derivative of the second-generation compact Valiant. Utilizing an existing compact platform would have paralleled the Mustang's design approach whose chassis, suspension, and drive train were derived from the Ford Falcon. However, AMC's market research indicated that offering only a six-cylinder power plant would not satisfy the intended target market segment. The new V8 engine was introduced in 1966 in the sporty hardtop model of the Rambler American called Rogue. Moreover, AMC's CEO, Roy Abernethy, wanted the company to move away from the marketing image of Ramblers as being only small, economical, and conservative models and designs.

Some or all of the content comes from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambler_Tarpon