Photo courtesy Bob Majeski.
Ambassadors might not be the most highly sought-after cars, even among AMC fans, but that has proven a boon to enthusiast Bob Majeski, who can cite their off-beat status as a reason his stolen 1958 Ambassador has been found and as a reason he scored a 1965 Ambassador 990 convertible as its replacement.
First, the ’58. It didn’t get very far in the two and a half years since somebody stole it from a parking lot in Smithfield, Rhode Island, as Majeski recounts how it was recently recovered:
“I got a call from a repair shop that was less than 10 miles from where the car was stolen. He found the car parked at his shop among others left for service. It had no plates, no battery and the center trunk antenna was broken off and in the trunk. (The thieves) had cleaned out everything in the trunk leaving the spare and jack. It looks like they had prepped it to sell. However, because of your excellent coverage and web posting about the theft the car was impossible to sell.
“When these jerks took the car they had no idea that all rare cars are not always valuable cars, no matter how pretty they are. Their other problem was that the cost of trying to make the car look different would exceed the selling price. Lastly, its rarity made it impossible to even find a parts car to try and give it a different VIN plate. It would have been much easier if it was a ’57 Chevy.”
Not that anybody’s advocating stealing 1957 Chevrolets, that is. No word on whether the thieves have been identified or caught.
The Ambassador currently sits in an impound lot in West Providence, where it technically now belongs to Bob’s insurance company. He said he would return it to his garage if offered to him, but he’s pretty much moved on now, thanks to another Ambassador he found after the theft. This one, the aforementioned 1965 990 convertible, had actually appeared as a Hemmings Find of the Day about a year before the 1958 Ambassador went missing, but remained unsold. As Bob writes:
“Everyone seemed to say what a great buy but none bought it. Thanks to everyone’s reluctance I was able to talk the price down and bought it at a price that allowed me to redo the interior completely and mechanically go through the car bumper to bumper. New dual exhaust and proper American Classic skinny whitewalls have made this an affordable mid-Sixties convertible to rival the big three. Years ago we called them mini Lincoln convertibles since they only have two doors but the same overall styling. This car also has a great story with it having been owned by one of the owners of 2003 Kentucky Derby Winner, Funny Cide. Can you tell I love this car?
“I had a new boot made in the correct color. The car now has correct hubcaps, tires and has been brought back to a nice clean driver status. The previous owner drove it only 3,000 miles in 19 years which necessitated a re-coring of the radiator and heater core, power brake booster, front factory disc brake rebuild and rear cylinders for the drum brakes. All new shocks and sway bar bushings. Cosmetically gone through as well right down to replacing flash plated blackened garnish screws with polish stainless steel. I used to work in a high priced restoration shop specializing in restoring full classics like Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, Cadillac and Mercedes. So I just applied the same care to detail and ended up with a nice car. It won First Place in the convertible class the first two years that I have shown it at the Four Seasons Annual Show in July. It scored enough for a Silver at the Connecticut AMO show as well.”
Perhaps one day the two Ambassadors will sit side by side, but Bob’s happy with his silver-lining Ambassador convertible, and that’s what really matters, right?