If you are a die-hard Ford Chevy or MOPAR fan you may not give much attention to the AMC brand. Today it is one of the orphaned car lines now included with the Chrysler group due to AMC’s acquisition by them in 1987. However, if you think AMC is all about grandma and grandpa sensible economy cars you are only half right. During the muscle car era of the late 60s and early 70s, they built some very significant cars.
Aware of their image problem with the new car buying Baby Boomer generation AMC moved to create some excitement in its car lineup. AMC built some good dependable cars but until 1968 it lacked anything attractive to the young muscle car crowd.
It was in 1968 AMC joined the muscle car war with the Javelin pony car but it was the AMC AMX that made the motoring world take a fresh look at the company.
Chevrolet’s Corvette owned the American two seater sports car market. Sure, there was the Pantera that was available from Ford but it was expensive and not built in the UAS. There also was the Ford Shelby Cobra but it was on the crude side and based on a car also not built in the USA. Here, in 1968, was little AMC building a two-seat sports car that could be had with a 390 cubic inch engine with a 4-speed!
Chevy had just brought out its brand new shark style C3 Corvette in 1968. It was stunning and fast but had no trunk. The AMX was a different approach to the American Sportscar. It was less sophisticated but could perform and set many speed records.
MCACN Barn Find Room.
Well, as we know, it never went into production. The sale of Javelins and AMX’s as good as they were, just was not enough to justify the AMX/3 or even eventually save AMC. It was just too late to impact the future of AMC plus, just as the original two seat AMX became an option on the larger Javelin the insurance industry and gasoline shortage put the final nail in any more real muscle cars.
In 2019 the first AMX/3 prototype of approximately nine or 10 built was shown in its barn find condition at the Muscle Car And Corvette Nationals (MCACN) in Chicago. It was not a feature car being unveiled with mouth-watering journalists waiting for photos, it was unceremoniously sitting in the Barn Find section of the show. Regardless, it always had a large crowd around it even if most had no knowledge what it was.
The AMX/3 was the product of Dick Teague who was head of AMC design at the time. The cars were produced by Bizarrini in Turin Italy. The cars were reportedly capable of speeds in excess of 160 MPH on the Monza track. After the project was killed the various prototypes found different homes and destinies. This particular car remained in Italy for a few years but was then sold moved to AMC in Michigan in 1973. It soon was sold to a private owner who kept it in a barn for 30 years until his death. He had managed to accumulate a proper 390 engine and rear transaxle for the car along with many other parts. In 2017 the car sold at Scottsdale Gooding & Co. Auction for a reported $891,000.
After being displayed at the 2019 MCACN show the car returned to begin a complete restoration. If you would like to follow its progress or know more about the other prototypes you can visit the owner/restorer’s web site.