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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

AMX/3: 50 years before the C8 Corvette, AMC built a mid-engine supercar

More than a half century before the mid-engine C8 Chevrolet Corvette, an American automaker made an exotic mid-engine sports car. It was powered by an American V-8 and sported Italian bodywork. No, I'm not talking about the Pantera that De Tomaso made for Ford, I'm talking about plucky little American Motors Corporation and its head designer Dick Teague's pride and joy, the AMX/3, designed two years before the Pantera.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/the-amx-3-a-half-century-before-the-c8-corvette-lit...
77 REPLIES 77
RokemRonnie
Instructor

It might not be that difficult as AMX/3 #1 is located Northport, Michigan, just a few miles from Hagerty's Traverse City offices.
MustangJim
Technician

Interesting. The age old question:
What could have been?
TG
Gearhead

It doesn't have the cookie-cutter layout that rear engine cars tend to, but it is missing something in the styling layout
tuttle
New Driver

AMC brings back memories. One of our family cars from 1967 to the mid 80s was a Ramber 440 wagon.. 232 six would smoke the 327 Chevy Impala wagon from the red light to about 90MPH. AMC kinda like Harley good products for the most part. The management at times for both were not the most forward thinking folks.
cobra305
Pit Crew

Nice looking car To bad AMC didn't follow through with full production. Probably would have been a great car.
br4271
Pit Crew

Yikees!!
Jnick
Advanced Driver

We had a family friend who was the president of the Iso club in the Bay Area. Our friend was quite well versed in all things Ital design and owned an Iso Grifo, Iso Rivolta and finally a Bizzarini, though Giotto Bizzarini was actually the engine designer behind the original V-12 Lamborghinis, the majority of the vehicles had 327 Chevrolet engines.
After a time as all great things must come to an end, evidently Chevrolet stopped supplying engines, and a few were built with Ford engines I think but the company’s last gasp were powered by AMC engines before the inevitable shutdown.
Such unique, interesting and under represented vehicles thanks for bring Guigaro to the spotlight.
Ken_L
Detailer

I don't remember seeing those AMX 2 / 3 protoype cars at the time they where built. Too bad they never made it to even limited production - great looking cars and sounds like they would have had handling and performance to match for that time.
Billthecat707
Instructor

Great information about a little known vehicle. Thanks. Oh, what could have been.
plank
Detailer

Some excellent research done here to bring this article to this page. Thanks for the education, Ronnie. The 2 and 3 are both beautiful machines.
RokemRonnie
Instructor

My primary source was a piece by Jack Koobs de Hartog and Jürgen M. Wilms over at Hemmings.
MattK
Advanced Driver

Forlorn look " I coulda been a contender."
Solosolo
Detailer

Considering that it was produced fifty years ago, I think that if it were manufactured today, and presented and sold as a 2022 designed car, it would sell like hot cakes! I have been a petrol head nearly all of my 83 years and have never even heard of this car before, let alone seen a picture and write-up of it. In 1989 I even made a special visit to the US and Hershey, Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn and the Ralph Space Museum in Pensylvania, since closed I believe, where I got to see the only other 1916 Premier in the world resided. My friend in South Africa has the other one, and I was very impressed with the vehicles on show, however, this one really got to me. Big thanks go to Hagerty.
Redawgleader
Pit Crew

A couple of years ago, I visited the Fred Phillips auto collection in Calgary. It is an amazing collection of automobiles of all sorts. I noticed in the collection a pair of AMX prototypes. One is a red 'AMX/2', in the same shade of red as depicted in this story. The other is an 'AMX/1 Vignale'. This car was not mentioned in the story. Ronnie, did you skip over the AMX/1 Vignale for a reason, or is the existence of the car news to you? I can send you a photo if it, if you like.
RokemRonnie
Instructor

Thanks for mentioning the AMX/1 Vignale. While it's connected to the design lineage of the AMX/3, I'd say it's on a different evolutionary branch, ultimately more related to the production AMX and Javelin than to the midengine AMX/2 and AMX/3.
StuA
Intermediate Driver

Never heard of these Beauties till I walked into a bay-side museum in San Diego in early 90s. Presumed loaner from some then-local owner? Stunning presence, been a fan ever since. Great to hear the whole story, thanks Hagerty and Ron!
rtbasey
Detailer

I would have liked to see a photo of #6..."the fairest of them all".
mfp4073
Advanced Driver

Beautiful! Absolutely gorgeous! I would like to see a smaller sports car sized E.V. with that styling.
Fieroman3
Intermediate Driver

Awesome designs and story. BUT it was not the only mid-engined car to preceed the C8 :
Pontiac did it with the Fiero ! Yes, the unloved - to this date - "commuter car" at it's start because the famous saying at GM, "There's only one sports car at GM, the Corvette".
It's now well known that the brave Pontiac guys had a proper Sports car in their mind from the very start but had to dig in the parts bins in order to put the car in the market ASAP, being under huge pressure from the bean counters at the Detroit H.O.
And when they upgraded the car for 1988, making it at last a true Sports Car, the cry babies at Corvette had it scrapped on the spot. Remember that then, the Corvette was a slow, lackluster POS.
Ironicaly, the C8 uses many of the Fiero production processes and materials 34 years later ! 😖
MTR
Pit Crew

What a shame, the AMX 2 is drop dead gorgeous.
Makes the DeLorean look like a dropped brick...
brb
Instructor

Good article and great looking car. I'm with the /2 crowd, I like it even better.
xler8rdoug
New Driver

The AMX 68-70 was a beautiful car. The AMX/2 is my favorite mid engine design but the AMX/3 is great too. I was friends with George Doughtie. I have seen his AMX/3 up close. Just loved it. Just for the ones who do not know the early AMXs here is a video of my 70 AMX https://youtu.be/m06GsEcPNMA The body lines were ahead of it's time and still today it does not look dated. A very popular car.
DUB6
Racer

Pretty car!  I agree with you that the early AMX had a great design and just didn't get the respect they deserved in the day.  The Big Three had too much sway on media and public perception, and a fourth Pony Car was just too much, I suppose.  Thanks for sharing your ride!  😊

Soflobeachguy
New Driver

In my opinion, some really forward thinking AMC designers contributed to vehicle concepts that were not appreciated in their time. I thought the Eagle was a great platform. Which btw, has been copied by many other vehicle manufacturers.
SJ
Technician

Cool car!
MATTMERICA
Technician

They should bring this vehicle back as an EV, would be easy to do that today
DUB6
Racer

I think I get where you're coming from, but you might find some argument on how "easy" it is to produce an EV there, @MATTMERICA.  Others who've posted info on this site have pointed out a lot of the behind-the-scenes issues and problems with actually getting to the point of dropping batteries and motors into a vehicle - as well as many more difficulties in maintaining them and then getting rid of them after their useful lives are over.  I think there is significant hype to get the public to believe that pitching ICE vehicles and converting us all to EVs is going to solve everything automotively bad.  I'm sure you're not saying that, specifically, but references to making EVs "easy" does tend to perpetuate the myth.  My personal opinion is that we shouldn't look at EVs as an "easy" answer to anything!

MATTMERICA
Technician

Yes, I meant that with a rear engine vehicle as an EV there is space for the batteries and the car already has a frump. It is also pretty aerodynamic looking, which would help. I won't get an EV until "they" make me.