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AUTO BIOGRAPHY: Bob and Mary's Rambler story

Everybody has a favorite Rambler story they enjoy telling Bob and Mary Clark, of Streator, when they see the couple driving their 1964 Rambler American.

It's fitting they share their own story.

They found the car in Oswego a dozen years ago on a used car lot by the Fox River. Mary wanted something truly unique to cruise around in and Bob's eyes were open.

Coming home from work in Aurora, Bob spotted something unlike anything else. After the third day of passing the car, he stopped to look at it.

"I bought it that night," he remembered. "It was in decent condition, but it was barely a runner."

They changed the faded color from rose to black over silver two tone, after hours of sanding, priming, sanding some more, then some expert help from Mary's brother-in-law, Kent. The car sat in a garage with just enough sun beating on it to cause damage, but also enough protection to keep it from rusting.

"If it had been outside, it would have been gone and rusted," Bob said. "You don't see many Ramblers these days."

The engine is the original six-cylinder flathead and the speedometer reads 43,000 miles.

Vicci, from Serena, made new pleated center panels for the seats and reassembled the front and the rear seats. The rest of the interior remains stock. The brakes are new from turned drums.

The couple loves showing off their vehicle in car shows, having won some trophies. They plan to open the season with a cruise in La Salle and a regular stop at Streator's Cruise Night on Labor Day weekend.

They keep a May 1964 National Geographic magazine with a bookmarked ad of the Rambler for historical reference.

"It was an economic car," Bob said. "It's nice to go back and see what people thought of it during its time."

Mary and Bob hear plenty of other people's stories to fill in the gaps.

"We love hearing them. For us, it's unique and a fun car to drive."

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