Regional specialty car programs lured curious potential customers into dealer showrooms by promising an exclusive offering, often at a tempting price. Even if consumers didn’t ultimately buy that particular vehicle, it still got them in the door so a savvy salesperson could seize the opportunity to sell them a different one.
These packages normally consisted of a group of options added to an existing model, as well as a catchy name announced with decals or emblems, and possibly special stripes and/or paint colors to make the creation standout further.
Some of these distinctive rides went on to become widely known beyond their geographical points of sale, while others were seemingly lost to time.In 1969, New York and New Jersey-area American Motors Rambler dealers offered the “Raider.” Based on the unit-body midsize Rebel, it featured “Electric Green, Tangerine, or Blue—You’ve Never Seen” (as stated in the ad) exterior colors, a black grille, a vinyl top, a bench-seat interior, a sports-type steering wheel, an AM radio, power steering and brakes, and other small items.
We know those colors instead as Big Bad Green, Big Bad Orange, and Big Bad Blue, and our featured Raider’s original window sticker lists “Big Bad Blue.
“Given its aggressive appearance, you may be expecting to hear that the engine was a rumbling 280-hp 343, or possibly the even-more-powerful 315-hp 390, but it was actually a 200-hp 290 two-barrel V-8 with a single exhaust. It was backed by a column-shifted Borg-Warner Shift- Command automatic transmission and a 3.15:1 axle ratio. The powertrain choice made sense to keep the price reasonable and reach a broader customer base.