Classic cars: Everything that goes around, comes around

  • 1969 AMC Ambassador

    1969 AMC Ambassador Photos Courtesy of Matt Avery Media

  • Walter Machulskis Jr.'s Ambassador is painted in AMC's Beal Street Blue.

    Walter Machulskis Jr.'s Ambassador is painted in AMC's Beal Street Blue.

  • Plastic seat covers used for years have kept them in good condition, preventing the need for upholstery work, Walter says.

    Plastic seat covers used for years have kept them in good condition, preventing the need for upholstery work, Walter says.

  • Walter says the 1969 Ambassador is like a time machine, complete with an eight-track player and tapes.

    Walter says the 1969 Ambassador is like a time machine, complete with an eight-track player and tapes.

  • Both Walter's car and the one owned by his father were sold at Parkey American Motors in Chicago.

    Both Walter's car and the one owned by his father were sold at Parkey American Motors in Chicago.

 
 
Posted9/30/2019 6:00 AM

Truth be told, Walter Machulskis didn't set out to own the very same make and model car his dad bought new.

He also didn't plan on buying one that had come from the same Chicago dealership. And he never thought he'd grow to love the car as much as he has.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Those things are all thanks to serendipity -- and a dash of motoring magic.

The story starts with Walter's dad, who during the 1970s was living on the South Side of Chicago.

"Dad was working for a phone company and needed something to commute in," says Walter, who now lives in Streamwood. His father (Walter Machulskis Sr.) was ready to upgrade his 1969 Chevy Bel Air and headed in 1972 to Parkey American Motors on Western Avenue.

After kicking some tires, what caught his father's fancy was an Ambassador sedan, which was the brand's top-of-the-line offering. The cushy cruiser was put right to work, serving Walter Sr. admirably for the next several years.

Life moved on and so did the AMC, being replaced a few years later by a 1977 Pontiac wagon.

Walter Machulskis Jr. of Streamwood, his wife, Laura, daughter Savanah and son Walter III enjoy cruising in their 1969 AMC Ambassador.
Walter Machulskis Jr. of Streamwood, his wife, Laura, daughter Savanah and son Walter III enjoy cruising in their 1969 AMC Ambassador. -
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Fast forward to the fall of 1997. Walter Jr. was looking for a classic set of wheels, but for sure not a sedan. His eyes were seeking a hardworking hauler.

"I really wanted an old truck," Walter says. "Something that sat up high and had room in the back."

A fruitless search had him expanding his horizons. Soon, his car criteria grew to include any old sedan, too. Lo and behold, one turned up in Brookfield. Walter went down to look at it. Lending support to the project was his pops, who joined his son to check it out.

When they arrived, Walter Sr. was greeted by a familiar sight: a 1969 AMC Ambassador. "It was in great shape and looked just right for what I was looking for," says Walter.

More motivation to make the purchase came as his dad did a walk around. "He saw the sticker, but I didn't get it at first," Walter says. "Then he explained that's where he had bought his car. It all clicked -- and I kind of fell in love with the connection."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Walter's dad's Ambassador was painted Yuca Tan with a brown vinyl roof.
Walter's dad's Ambassador was painted Yuca Tan with a brown vinyl roof. - Courtesy of Walter Machulskis

That sealed the deal and Walter drove the Ambassador home. Since then, he's kept driving and enjoying the big four-door. One of his family's favorite places to cruise to is over the border to Kenosha, Wisconsin, home to a former AMC plant where most Ambassadors were built.

"The car is a like a time machine," gushes the enthusiast. "It hearkens to a lot simpler time."

The Ambassador has had one repaint in the factory correct Beal Street Blue color and a few maintenance parts here and there. However, for the most part it is largely unrestored. "It's got the original top and even the seats, which were protected thanks to clear plastic covers," says Walter, who is the vehicle's third owner.

While Walter's return to the AMC brand was totally unplanned, it won't be so for the family's next generation. "Both my daughter, Savanah, and son, Walter (III), are showing strong interest," says Walter. "It's clear they'll be taking on the car and the family tradition."

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com or COPOthebook.com.

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