Why Revere the AMX?

Why Revere the AMX?

Though the AMC AMX was produced for three years, from 1968-1970, and the accepted production numbers hover around the 20,000 mark, they’re not commonly seen. Part of the reason these machines aren’t terribly prevalent is obvious – finding parts for them is a real chore. Therefore, if an ambitious hot rodder wants to restore one of these oddly-shaped beauties, they’ll do well to find a clean, rust-free example, and be ready to spend a pretty penny on parts.

However, this car doesn’t only appeal to hot rodders; the AMX was marketed as a sports car, with the intention of bridging the gap between the two groups. But without back seats, this squared-off sports/muscle hybrid is even more appealing and unique. Its design, largely Nova-esque but with a compactness and a promise of agility that the Nova never had, does combine the grunt and brawn of muscle with the nimbleness of something smaller. In fact, the most similar AMC machine in terms of design, the Javelin, was quite a bit longer – the Javelin had a 109” wheelbase, whereas the AMX had a petite 97”.

Why Revere the AMX?
The spartan interior of the ‘69 AMX – with a speedometer that reaches 140 MPH.

No surprise, then, that the press labeled this machine a “Corvette competitor.” To keep up with the C3 ‘Vettes of the day, the AMX’s biggest engine – one of six options – was its venerable 390ci, 4-bbl V8. Outputting 325-330 horsepower, this stout motor boasted specialized internals and could propel the 3,000-pound AMX to sixty in less than six seconds with the four-speed BorgWarner T-10 manual. Considering the tire limitations of the day, that was quite something.

Why Revere the AMX?
The venerable AMC 390ci engine.

The fastest of all the AMX lineup was undoubtedly the ‘69 AMX SS, which was shipped to Hurst Industries to add two four-barrel carburetors, Doug’s headers and an Edelbrock cross-ram intake to make a whopping 340 horsepower. This could rocket the car to sixty in less than five seconds, and snag the quarter-mile in roughly 12 seconds. Of these, only fifty-two or fifty-three exist.

They also boasted performance figures even more impressive than those already mentioned. In January 1968, two specially-prepared AMXs set 106 world speed and endurance records at Goodyear’s Texas test track to spread the word prior to the car going on sale. The following years, an AMX finished second in the SCCA National Championship in the B production class, and a golden feather in AMC’s cap: the ‘69 AMX was used as a pace/practice car for the 1969 Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb.

Why Revere the AMX?
The Pike’s Peak pace car, as driven by Bobby Unser – note the vanity plates.

 

AMXs Today

Why Revere the AMX?

Some bold builders still use the AMX as inspiration for their muscle car-turned-sports car fantasies. This ambitious build details a man’s desire to plop an AMX body atop a custom tube frame, with a T-56 transmission, an LS engine and massive 315-section tires to harness the modern grunt. This Pro Touring monster simply needs to be seen.

Why Revere the AMX?
This ambitious builder strove to flush out the sports car lurking in the original AMX DNA.

 

Finding an AMX

If the classic lines, unique proportions and promises of performance have swayed you towards browsing for one of these beauties, there are plenty of pristine examples available in our classifieds.

For example, this gem is not cheap, but it certainly looks like quality:

Why Revere the AMX?
http://www.hotrodhotline.com/forsale/vehicles/american_motors/amx/1970/listing/102877

Or perhaps this deep blue example:

Why Revere the AMX?
http://www.hotrodhotline.com/forsale/vehicles/american_motors/amx/1970/listing/117896

 

Either way, it’s impossible to go wrong with the AMX’s combination of style, rarity, and performance. For the full list of AMXs available at Hot Rod Hotline, click here – a variety of mint and fair examples are there for your perusal.

About Tommy Parry 115 Articles
Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, Tommy worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school and tried his hand on the race track on his twentieth birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, he began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a trackday instructor and automotive writer since 2012 and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans and rally cars in the San Francisco region.

8 Comments on Why Revere the AMX?

  1. Obviously written by someone who doesn’t know anything about American Motors… ‘finding parts for them is a real chore’…. False…. ‘oddly-shaped beauties’… Nothing ‘odd’ about the shape….. SS/AMX – ‘340 horsepower….quarter-mile in roughly 12 seconds’ – NHRA factors the horsepower around 420, I believe, and ETs are more like low 11s, if memory serves correctly… Typical distortions.

  2. Absolutely one of the best cars I ever owned as well as being a 3 way tie with my 66 SS Chevelle (put a 454 in it), my 66 389 To Power Ram Air m22 trans , was my ,69 AMX 390 BW T10 which is just a hairs thickness more of a favorite over the other 2.

    While all 3 were fast, the AMX was more fun to drive. It handled great and gathered more attention than any Of the other Vettes, Chevelles , Camaros, GTO’S or Street Rods I’ve owned.

    It was well built and with just minor work it was running in the low 12’s

    The after 1970 versions took AM back 20 years into frumpy looking cars that didn’t sell. Which was a shame, because AM did build good cars, the older pre 68 and newer cars
    Post 1970 were bland looking or just plain ugly.

    I’m looking for another 69 now. It’s gotta be a ,390 – 4 speed

  3. One thing that’s minor but gnaws at me is how many people call AMX, Javelins, Camaros, Firebirds, Cuda’s, Challengers and Mustangs Muscle Cars . They ARE NOT MUSCLE CARS.

    BY the originator of the name Muscle Car I believe was Popular Hot Rodding when Pontiac began selling GTO’ s in 63 for the 64 model year. The author described a Muscle Car as a medium size 2 door car with a big cubic inch engine .

    I also believe it was that same magazine who when the new Mustang was released in early 63 for the 64 model year tested a high powered 4 speed coupe and named it a “Pony Car”. That term caught on and included the High Performance and very rare Cougar XR7, both the AMX and Javelin, Cuda & Challenger, Camaro & Firebird.

    Muscle cars all had big cubic inch engine but not all had Big Blocks.
    The main car without a big block was the car that started it all. The 1964 GTO built with a big inch 389 that was the same outside size as a 326 . Pontiac NEVER built a big block. Nope the 421 and 455 inch engines used the same size outter dimensions as the basic block and heads as the 400, 389 and 326

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