AUSTRALIAN X

Harry Freemantle lives in Albany, Australia, and is the owner of this 1976 Australian Rambler Matador X. It is one of the approximately 70 Matador Coupes imported in the 1970s. They have "Rambler" badging instead of AMC, and are right hand drive.

Notice that the inner rear tail lights are different than the US version. Harry says, "The two inner rear lights are surrounded by aluminium, possibly because of Australian regulations. They look factory fitted."

By far the most interesting pictures are those of the interior. The dash is totally different than the US version, although the gauges and the light and wiper knobs look the same. The console and shifter are the same, although the shifter release button is on the right of the T-handle instead of on the left. Harry says, "I guess the bits for the dash were from here, possibly from the AMI factory where they put the Australian Hornets together. I should do more research. I will when I get time. The speedometer is in kilometre's which is interesting, whereas the Hornet is in miles. Australia changed to metrics towards the end of the 1960's. The three sliders on the right side of the dash are for the heating and fan. The switch under the cigar lighter, I have no idea what it does. I pulled it but nothing happened. I haven't followed the wires to check it out yet. It may have had driving lights (spot lights) for night driving in the country, but I'm not sure."

As for the back seat area, the most obvious feature is the large air vent on the package tray, along with rear seat shoulder belt harnesses. "The rear defroster is actually a large (well huge) airconditioning unit. I imagine it was fitted here but not by me. The car's first owner lived in Southern Cross, central Western Australia where the summer temperatures sit in the high 30s to mid 40s Celsius (86-115 degrees Fahrenheit). The rear seats have factory fitted lap/shoulder belts as well as the centre lap belt."

At this point, there are no pictures under the hood to show the changes that had to be made there for the right hand drive conversion. They will be posted as soon as they are received. "I haven't any underhood shots yet. When I get the digital camera I will give it a go. I haven't done much to the engine, just cleaned it up. Difficult to paint any of it without pulling everything out. The pollution control pipes are all over the motor making it hard to get at. I am tempted to pull all these bits off to clean it up and perhaps give it more to breath with."


Pictures of the car in primer, with body man Tim at work, and with the first coat of new paint.

"The body was recently straightened and rust cut out, stripped back to bare metal then painted. The motor is in good condition."