By the late 1960s the American Motor Company (AMC) was in deep trouble financially. It was the era of the ‘muscle car’, when Ford, General Motors and Chrysler were engaged in ferocious rivalry for market dominance. AMC didn’t have the resources to keep up with the Big Three but, in a last-ditch bid to snatch back some market share, it produced the AMX.
An acronym of American Motors eXperimental, The AMX was not a true ‘pony car’ in the mould of the iconic 1964 Ford Mustang but AMC certainly marketed it as a car in the GT (Grand Turismo) tradition — a rear-wheel drive, high-performance two-door coupe designed for long-distance travel.
With its long-hooded sleek design, dual exhausts, four-speed manual transmission and heavy-duty suspension, reclining bucket seats, carpet and woodgrain trim, the AMX pulled all the right strings — power, glamour, comfort — to fulfil anyone’s macho dreams. It fitted neatly into the gap between domestically produced pony cars and expensive import models; and it was the only steel-bodied domestic two-seater sports car on the market — the first since the 1950s Ford Thunderbird — its only competitor being the much pricier fibreglass Chevrolet Corvette.
The car was economically manufactured using AMC’s existing unibody technology and engine sizes were based on their standard 290, stepping up to the 343 and 390.
The basic price was a very reasonable $3,246. In 1969 and again in 1970 the AMX won the title of Best Engineered Car. The 1970 model was the last true AMX. In three years, just over 19,000 had been sold — not enough to make it cost effective. But it had done its job of promoting AMC as an upbeat, youthful company, putting it back in the running. The name MIX was attached to a version of AMC’s Javelin instead.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1968 (until 1970)
4.8 I (290 cid); 5.6 I (343 cid); 5.9 I (360 cid); 6.4 l (390 cid) V8
Top speed of around 130 mph (209 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
In 1968 racing champion Craig Breedlove set 106 world speed records in an AMX, and a highly desirable limited edition of 50 red, white and blue ‘Breedlove’ models were manufactured to celebrate his achievement. In the same year, AMC presented Playmate of the Year Angela Dorian with a specially painted ‘Playmate Pink’ AMX. Its number plate displayed her vital statistics.