1969 Baja 500 A.I.R. Rambler SCRamblers


New Member
I am trying to research the 1969 AIR Rambler SCRamblers that raced in the 1969 Baja 500 and have a few questions. AMC provided 10 of these cars to the AIR team, founded in part by James Garner but at this point was owned by John Crean, Sr. The cars were prepared in Hewett, CA by Jim Wright and Bill Rohrbacher and crew chief Buck Hewson. Two of these cars were converted to 4 wheel drive, with the engine set back to clear the front differential, and an automatic transmission replacing the stock 4 speeds.

The cars proved pretty durable except the stress from the beefed up suspension was transmitted directly to the manual steering boxes, which literally broke apart. Three of the eight 2 wheel drive cars did not finish as a result, and a fourth finished after a replacement was found, but past the 30 hour cut-off. The remaining four 2 wheel drive cars finished 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 13th in class.

One 4 wheel drive car finished 4th on class, the other did not finish (but I don't know why. Steering also?)

I have attached the drivers list as I know it, as done during the race. John Crean Sr. and his wife Doona became very sick the day of the race and were replaced by Walker Evans and ?. Some of the racers swapped cars and were not in the ones that had their names on the side.

I am missing the names of 3 racers to match with the cars: both drivers of car #160, and the co-driver of the DNF 4 wheel drive car along with Jim Wright (and there were two Jim Wrights-one was an automobile magazine writer in car #140, the other was a drag racer who helped prepare the cars and was driving #130). I know Hunter Floyd drove one of the cars but do not know which one. I also have the names Rene Leonharde, Eric Dahlquist, and Rick Hickey as possible drivers. Can anyone help?

There was another rambler American that finished 11th on class, 67th overall, driven by "Samida and Henderson". Anyone know anything about these two, or about the car?

This was the last race for the AIR Team, The cars were possibly left at Bill Stroppes shop. Two went to Chafee College, either one 4 wheel drive and one 2 wheel drive, or both 2 wheel drive. One of these was destroyed in a race, the other?. I have a Bob Korf driving one on the 1970 Baja. The remains of one is still in CA, and the 4th place 4 wheel drive car is currently in a Canadian collectors museum (#110). What happened to the rest? Any others still out there?

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks


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Well-Known Member
Post this in the Vintage Racing forum and you should get replies, a lot of knowledge over there...