The 1967-74 AMC Ambassador continued a name and tradition from AMC’s predecessor, Nash. It was AMC’s largest ever car, though in hindsight, probably a misstep to build. Traditionally, AMC’s strength was economy cars. Focusing on cheap wheels had gotten Rambler to third place in U.S. sales in 1964. But then things changed. Ex-Packard man Roy Abernathy, who became CEO in 1962 after building AMC’s dealer network from the ashes of Nash/Hudson, and he was convinced that with better marketing, AMC could take on the Big 3 directly - including in large cars.
A sales-driven guy, Abernathy AMC wanted to shake off Rambler’s penny-pinching image, and immediately set about having the company design larger cars, and quick. Abernathy’s bigger AMC’s arrived in 1967 as the mid-size Rebel and (not-quite) full-sized Ambassador. Both replaced smaller designs and shared architecture. The Rebel was now the size of the ’65-’66 Ambassador. The new Ambassador rode a 118” (3m) wheelbase and was 203” long (5.2m) - Plymouth Belvedere sized. AMC hired the best marketers around. Mary Wells Lawrence made AMC’s image exciting, but Ambassadors weren’t an easy sell and the cars had cost $60M to bring to market. Worse, in rushing them real quality ills appeared.
Abernathy’s pricey ideas and so-so results led to his exit in January, 1967, but the Rebel and #Ambassador were long-lived. AMC set about improving both cars and in 1969 the Ambassador was stretched further and heavily restyled, with another update (shared with the related Rebel/Matador) coming in ’71. AMC’s array of sixes and V8s (up to the 401) were offered. From ’67 AMC had offered the “DPL” (Diplomat) trim to rival Ford’s LTD. Neither the Ambassador nor DPL ever really took off, but AMC kept trying new things. In 1971, #Brougham joined the trim list, displacing DPL for ’72.
By this time AMC was profitable again, mostly thanks to the Hornet and Gremlin, but the Ambassador continued to sell reliably into 1973, only really falling behind in the full-size apocalypse of 1974, despite getting a big restyle for that year. The last of these big cars, by then on a 122” wheelbase and 217” long, rolled off the line in June of 1974.