If you have looked at our project AMX, this is close to what it should look like when completed!
American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an economy car company. It built good practical cars. They had innovations like reclining seats and small efficient but boxy bodies. Unfortunately the mid 60s was a time of youth. Youth that wanted speed and flash not boring economy cars. It was the hip generation. AMC was late to the party but they came dressed to make an impression.
For the average motorist in 1968 it was no big deal but for the car enthusiast the arrival of the newest American two seat sports car was a major event. AMC introduced the AMX in 1968. Here was some real competition for the Corvette for substantially less money.
The design was unique and to many, beautiful. With its long hood and abrupt rear deck – total car length, 177.2 inches it looked powerful, and was. A wide-track stance comparable to much larger cars, placed on a tight 97-inch wheelbase, was basis for extraordinary road stability.
It had all those mechanical and equipment features you would expect in a true sports car design. Within that design were: powerful engines (V-8’s only) with dual exhausts; special suspension (including rear traction bars) with high-performance tires; floor mounted, four-speed transmission; integral tachometer and a lot more. For example: reclining slim-sectioned bucket seats; carpeted storage area behind the seats; a trunk of nearly 10 cubic feet, with a space-saver collapsible spare tire; and a capacious 19-gallon gasoline tank.On top of these were other features absent in most sports cars. Among them: hefty, deep sectioned bumpers; flow-through fresh air ventilation; large, frame less side windows without vent windows; and smooth contoured outside door handles.In keeping with its character of a “no-compromise” car, AMX offered a full range of options and equipment for that personalized tailoring which was common for the day.Standard under the hood was a 290-cubic inch, 225-hp Typhoon V-8. From there it was a step up to the 343cube, 280-hp version. Then came the “AMX 390” V-8, which puts out a thundering 315 horsepower (in 1968). This was good for zero to 60 in less than seven seconds.An over-the- top racing stripe went with two different performance “Go” packages. The first package started with the “343” V-8 and included power disc brakes, red-line wide profile tires, higher-rate heavy-duty front and rear springs, specially calibrated heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers, Twin-Grip differential, and heavy duty engine cooling system. The “AMX Go” package has the same equipment, but included the “390” V-8 as a base.Additional accessories like a stereo tape player (8 track) certainly did add a great deal to the personal mood of an AMX.
The 1968 AMX and 390 Engine
The new “390” V-8 was introduced with the 1968 AMX. This engine came with the highest-rated power output ever attained by a standard production American Motors engine – 315 horsepower, 425 foot-pounds torque. The thin-cast design brought total engine weight under 600 pounds. Boasting such heavy-duty components as forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods (instead of the usual cast iron) the “AMX 390” V-8 reflected an American Motors engineering objective of extreme reliability as well as power.
The AMX created excitement. The AMX sat on a 97 in. wheelbase; it had an overall length of 177.22 in., a width of 71.57 in. and a height of 51.73 in. The front tread measured 58.36 in., the rear 57 in. It weighed in at just over 3,000 lbs.
Even when standing still the AMX looked like it was travelling 100 mph. Performance was the word, only V-8’s were available, and those were all equipped with Carter four-barrels and dual exhausts. The baseline 290 ci produced 225 hp at 4700 rpm, the optional 343 ci produced 280 hp and the top-of-the-line 390 was rated at 315 hp with a tire smoking 425 ft.lbs of torque. (note: all AMC V-8s are small blocks! the 290, 304, 343, 360, 390 and 401 engines are all based on the same block. This is NOT a Ford 390!) AMC advertised in its factory literature and ads that “once the 390 was broken in, you could roll right onto a race track and be ready to do 130 mph”. If that wasn’t enough there were the Group 19 dealer-installed factory performance parts; Aluminum intake manifolds, hi-lift cams, roller rockers, Detroit Locker rear-ends with gears as steep as 5.00: 1, side pipes, and rear wheel disc brake kits, to name a few.
Even before it was introduced to the public at the Chicago Auto Show on February 23, 1968, the AMX broke 106 National and International speed records with Craig Breedlove behind the wheel. Breedlove would take the AMX to Bonneville and run an official 189 mph with an unofficial run of over 200 mph.
On the streets the competition was finding that the little company from Kenosha had an underdog that would bite. Straight line was fine but when run hard through the corners the AMX really came alive! Mechanix Illustrated tested the car and had this to say: “In summing up, the AMX is the hottest thing to ever come out of Wisconsin and I forgot to tell you they have it suspended so that you can whip through corners and real hard bends better than with many out-and-out sports cars”.
To go along with the performance of the car AMC offered a number of luxury items. Air conditioning, automatic transmission, tilt steering, power steering or quick-ratio manual steering, AM, AM-FM or AM 8 track stereo, tinted windows, remote outside mirror and power disc brakes were on the list with many other options. Reclining bucket seats were standard.
The AMX was the only American steel bodied two seater of its time, the last being the ’55-’57 Ford Thunderbird. The starting factory price for a 1968 AMX was $3,245.00, nearly $1,500.00 less than a Corvette. Hitting the show rooms in March of ’68 resulted in only 6,725 AMXs being built, but the company’s larger goal for the AMX was met, to bring younger customers into AMC showrooms and to show that AMC was finally serious about performance.
1969 was a year of continued success for the AMX, on the track and in the showroom. The exterior of the car remained the same, the interior was updated with a larger tach, 140 mph speedometer, headrests, slightly different door panels and center console (for automatic cars only), a Hurst shifter on the 4-speeds, a passenger grab handle, and a few other upgrades. New options were added; leather seats could be ordered for the interior and 12 new exterior colors were available. In the spring, the Big Bad Colors were introduced for the AMX, these three bright racy colors were real attention getters.
1969 S/S AMX
AMC and Hurst teamed up and in the fall of 1969 fifty-two consecutive numbered AMXs were pulled from the Kenosha assembly line. These 390 4-speed cars were then shipped to Hurst facilities in Michigan where they were modified for NHRA Super Stock racing.
PIKES PEAK HILL CLIMB
In the summer of 1969 the AMX was the official pace car for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Ten to twelve AMXs, all Frost White with red stripes and red interiors, were used as courtesy cars by select participants of the race. Only one of these cars is known to still exist and is documented as being used by Bobby Unser during the week prior to the race.
The total production for the 1969 AMX was 8,293 (this included the 52 S/S AMXs). This was the highest single year production of the three years the two-seater was made.
1969 Selling Facts
• Fast sports car lines and proportions with long hood and short deck.
• Full-venturi grille, deep set in fine silver lines.
• AMX nameplate on grille.
• Circular AMX rear pillar emblems.
• AMX block letters on lower deck panel overlay.
• Twin V-shaped simulated ports on hood.
• Deep, wrap-around bumpers.
• Curved, ventless side windows.
• Mag-style wheel covers with new paint treatment.
• Full wheel cut-outs, front and rear.
• Smooth-contour outside door handles.
• Dramatic full-fastback rear quarters.
• Bright moldings for windshield, rear window, rocker panels, lower roof-line and side window bases.
• Bright dual exhaust outlets.
• Over-the-top racing stripes for optional “Go”package offered in five colors, three new colors for 1969.
• 12 exterior colors, 10 of them new for 1969.
• Individually adjustable reclining bucket seats trimmed in breathable Ventilair vinyl, offered in four colors-charcoal, red, saddle and platinum.
• New optional leather seat trim offered in choice of Charcoal or Saddle.
• Smartly-styled aircraft-type instrument panel with wood-grain center applique and passenger grab handle.
• Simulated wood-grain sports steering wheel.
• New door trim panels with bright trim and wood-grain applique.
• New wood-grain applique on armrests.
• New bright pedal trim.
• Wall-to-wall, nylon cut-pile carpeting, extending to rear window.
• Smart new wood-grained center console provided with optional Shift-Command automatic transmission.
• Exclusive car number individually engraved on a plate located in the center of the instrument panel.
Fuel tank capacity (gallons)……….19.0
Tires, std…………….E-70×14, Wide profile, fiberglass-belted
Spare tire…………..Collapsible Space-Saver
Usable luggage capacity(cu.ft.)………9.6
Body Feature Highlights
• All-welded Advanced-Unit body construction.
• Curved, ventless side windows.
• Deep-dip body rustproofing.
• Triple-coat Lustre-Gard acrylic enamel finish.
• Injection-molded non-corrosive plastic grille.
• Deep, protective wrap-around front and rear bumpers.
• Two-key locking system.
• Smooth-contour door handles.
• Wide-span taillights, which wrap around fender corners for sidevision safety.
• Back-up lights incorporated in taillights.
• Individually adjustable reclining bucket seats with foam padding.
• Adjustable head restraints.
• Safety-styled, heavily padded aircraft-type instrument panel with deep-set, functionally located instruments and controls.
• Printed instrument panel circuitry.
• Padded windshield pillars and roof header.
• Simulated wood-grained steering wheel.
• New 140 mph speedometer.
• New 0-8000 rpm large face tachometer.
• New passenger grab handle above glove box.
• Bin-type, locking glove box.
• New “between-seats” convenience tray with standard 4-speed manual transmission.
• Weather-Eye heater and defroster.
• Flow-Thru ventilation for full-car ventilation with windows closed.
• “Pre-Set Impulse” door locking system.
• Molded, cushioned acoustical ceiling.
• Passenger compartment courtesy lights.
• Cut-pile carpeting.
• New suspended accelerator pedal.
• Cigarette lighter.
• Hood insulation.
• Ball bearing front ash receiver.
• Two-position door checks.
Plus: The full complement of “Safe-Command” safety features.
Power Team, Chassis and Electrical Features
• Typhoon 290 CID, 225 HP V-8 and fully synchronized, 4-speed, manual transmission std.
• 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust std. on all engines.
• Engine-Mod exhaust emission control system with automatic transmission; Air-Guard system with 4-speed manual transmission.
• Modern lightweight, slim wall, cast iron engine block construction.
• Low-friction, long-life engine design.
• Wedge-shaped combustion chambers.
• Over-square, bore-stroke engine design.
• Automatic transmission oil cooler.
• Thermostatically controlled carburetor air cleaner.
• New, smooth-operating cable accelerator linkage
• New fuel filter at carburetor (in addition to fuel tank filter).
• Dry element air cleaner.
• Automatic choke.
• Full-flow oil filter.
• Closed induction type positive crankcase ventilation system.
• Hydraulic valve lifters.
• Aluminized mufflers.
• All-season engine coolant.
• 19-gallon fuel tank.
• 4-speed manual transmission ratios: lst-2.23; 2nd-1.77; 3rd -1.35; 4th-1.00; reverse-2.16.
• P-R-N-D-2-1 sequence for optional Shift-Command automatic transmission allows manual selection of gears or fully automatic operation.
• Short 33.6-foot turning circle.
• Independent front suspension with heavy-duty coil springs mounted above upper control arms.
• Direct, double-acting front shock absorbers inside coil springs, with special provision for bottoming control.
• Lubed-for-life upper steering bearings.
• 24,000 mile chassis lubrication.
• Heavy-duty front sway bar.
• Heavy-duty multi-leaf rear springs with direct, double-acting shock absorbers.
• Rear traction bars.
• Special-duty suspension systems optional.
• New improved rear axle seals for increased reliability.
• Recirculating ball-type steering gear.
• 3-way choice of steering systems:
-Std. manual steering with 24.1 to 1 over-all ratio, 5.1 steering wheel turns extreme right to left.
-Opt. Quick-Ratio manual steering with 19.3 to 1 over-all ratio, 4.0 steering wheel turns extreme right to left.
-Opt. Road Control power steering with 18.1 to 1 over-all ratio, 3.8 steering wheel turns extreme right to left.
• Lubed-for-life tie rods.
• Double-Safe brake system with dual master cylinder and separate hydraulic lines for front and rear brakes.
• Self-adjusting brakes with bonded linings.
• Power brakes optional-drum and disc types.
• Tires-E70 x 14 wide profile fiberglass-belted black side wall with 6″ width wheel rims.
• Collapsible space-saver spare.
• New “Clear-Power 24” intercell battery with “see-thru” case-50 amp. hr. std. on 290 CID V-8; 60 amp. hr. std. on other V-8’s; 70 amp hr. optional.
• 35 amp. alternator std.; 55-amp. std. with air conditioning, opt. on others.
• Sealed, transistorized voltage regulator.
• “Guard-Glo” headlamps with stand by filament which has a longer design life than the main filament.
• Parking lights stay on with the headlamps.
Standard “SAFE-COMMAND” Safety Features
• High-strength thick laminate windshield.
• Tempered safety glass, side and rear windows.
• Extra-strength door hinges.
• High-strength door locks.
• Molded ceilings.
• Padded instrument panel
• Padded sun visors.
• Break-away front ash receiver.
• Non-glare finish on interior and exterior parts.
• Safety-shaped interior door handles.
• Two-key locking system.
Controls and Instruments
• Energy-absorbing steering column.
• Deep-dish impact-absorbing steering wheel.
• Safety-shaped instrument control knobs.
• Safety automatic transmission shift pattern.
• Safety-styled instrument panel design.
Brakes and Wheels
• Double-safe brake system with self-adjusting feature.
• Brake system warning light.
• Mechanical stoplight switch.
• Corrosion-resistant brake lines and fittings.
• Safety-rim wheels.
• Tread-wear indicators molded into tire tread.
Seating and Seat Belts
• Seat belts with refractors.
• Two shoulder belts.
• Front seat head restraints.
• Padded front seat back.
• Safety seat anchorages.
• Automatic seat back lock with manual release.
Accessories and Equipment
• 4-way hazard warning signals.
• Lane-changer feature for turn signals.
• Back-up lights.
• Day / Night inside rearview mirror with twin pivots and protected edges.
• Exterior rearview mirror, mounted on left side.
• Windshield washers.
• Non-glare windshield wipers.
• Defrosters and defoggers.
• Side of car safety markers, front and rear.
• New “Guard-Glo” headlamp units with standby filament.
• Parking lamps illuminated with headlamps.
Major Options-Factory Installed
Heavy Duty and Performance Equipment
• “GO” package available with either 343 or 390 CID engines and includes:
-Power disc brakes
-E70 x 14 red-line fiberglass-belted wide aspect tires
– Special duty handling package. Twin-Grip differential
-Heavy-duty engine cooling system
– Over-the-top racing stripes in choice of black, white, red, blue or silver.
• Heavy-duty 70-amp battery.
• Heavy-duty cooling system (Includes heavy-duty radiator, power-flex fan and fan shroud.)
• Special duty handling package includes higher-rate front and rear springs and 1’/16′ piston diameter shock absorbers.
• Twin-Grip differential.
• Fiberglass-belted “Polyglas” wide aspect E70 x 14 red-line tires.
• Quick-Ratio manual steering.
• Road Control power steering
• Power brakes.
• Power disc brakes.
Comfort and Convenience Items
• Center cushion and armrest (with std. 4-speed transmission).
• All-Season air conditioning (includes heavy-duty engine cooling system and 55-amp. alternator).
• Solex tinted glass-all windows or windshield only.
• “Command-Air” ventilation system.
• Adjust-0-Tilt steering wheel.
• Light Group-lights-on buzzer, trunk light, glove box light and parking brake warning light.
• Visibility Group-remote control outside mirror, visor vanity mirror, electric variable-speed windshield wipers, electric washers and electric clock.
Radios and Tape Equipment
• AM and AM/FM-push button radios.
• Stereo 8 tape player with manual AM radio and two rear speakers (NA with push button radios).
• Leather seat upholstery.
• Turbo-Cast wheel covers . . . wire wheel covers . . . “Mag-Styled” steel wheels with chrome trim ring and painted spider.
• Bumper guards, rear only.
• Rally-Pak-oil pressure gauge/ammeter gauge and vacuum gauge.
• High-riser aluminum manifold and carburetor.
• High-performance camshaft.
• Forged connecting rods.
• Cold intake manifold conversion.
• Heat blocker manifold gasket.
• Special ratio rear axle gear sets.
• Compass (illuminated).
• Rear deck luggage rack.
• Ski carrier-top mounted.
• Door edge guards.
Other happenings in 1969:
1969 Top Songs:
• GET BACK – BEATLES
• SUGAR,SUGAR – ARCHIES
• SUSPICIOUS MINDS – ELVIS PRESLEY
• DIZZY – TOMMY ROEWEDDING
• BELL BLUES – 5TH DIMENSION
• HONKY TONK WOMEN – ROLLING STONES
• AQUARIUS – FIFTH DIMENSION
• A TIME FOR US – HENRY MANCINI
• House – $40,000.00
• Milk – $1.26
• Gas – $.36
• Bread – $.23
• Postage Stamp – $0.06
• Avg. Income – $8,547.00
President: RICHARD NIXON
V.P.: SPIRO AGNEW