Really nicely preserved cars. Good to see AMC getting some recognition. My first muscle car ride was in my friends 70 Rebel "The Machine" , 390 4spd and 3.91 gears. Only one I've ever seen in dark green. Bought new by his dad. Saw that Spirit auction RM a couple years ago. Amazingly well preserved and very rare.
When I was a little boy in the late 1960's, I fell in love with Javelins and AMXs. That set up a life long fascination with the Dick Teague era AMC cars that still has not withered. I would gladly have any of the cars offered for auction, but my favorite of this list is the "humpy" 1974 Javelin AMX. Although these days, the appeal of the long roof 1977 Matador is gaining traction.
My first car was a 72 or 73 AMC Ambassador. It had the 360 2bbl. It was a coupe which really looked nice. It had the nicest light green Metallic paint. Green everything, Green vinyl roof, green carpeting, seats, dashboard and green tinted windows. Smacking good looks. Never seen another one like it. Wish I still had it.
That shade of green was on the 71 in the showroom of Schwind Boeker Buick AMC in Davenport IA when my parents bought their 71 Gremlin and I have never forgotten it. Not a blaring avocado shade, but subtle minty mist metallic. What a beautiful color. The next year they traded for a 72 Ambassador Brougham in Cordoba Brown with matching vinyl top and 304 V8. The downsized full size before downsizing became a thing with GM in 77.
I'm a huge fan of the underdog and AMC is my all time favourite, mostly because as a fringe manufacturer they always built stuff a bit unique often serving the fringes of the car world. But on $$$ ?? The pecking order is well established, when all else is equal, Chevy gets top dollar, Ford takes a 5% cut for an identical vehilcle, Dodge drops another 10%, and AMC, International and the rest follow, often 25% less than an equal Chevy. Not that that is bad especially of you love the off brands, it just means your International 4x4 Pickup with a 348 and 4 speed will cost 25% less to buy than an equal Chevy, And you get something which is rare and attracts real attention. No need to elevate the Brand, For us AMC lovers we love the price point.
A Gremlin with the "AMC 4" [ an engine and line purchased from VW/Audi ] would be a find, as would a 78 Concord so equipped. Much more interesting for the Isle of Misfit Cars than a V8 would be. From Granny's 60 Rambler Ambassador wagon [ 327 4BBL ] to the 62 Classic wagon my parents had and their later 71 Gremlin and 72 Ambassador, AMC had a significant influence on my own automotive tastes. Horrible quality control on the 71 and 72 though. There was a reason AMC instituted the "Buyer Protection Plan" in '72. I'd still love to have them both again.
A college classmate had one of those w/ the VW/Audi 4 cylinder. As I recall, the engine was about the only decent piece of workmanship in the entire car (but it got from point A to point B reliably, so who's complaining?). Did not know about the V8 Gremlins...
My dad liked Ramblers. They were cheap to buy and cheap to run and own. The local dealer lived across the street. I can appreciate them now even with sixes. However, I hate that the auctions and car flippers are going to run up the prices on one of the remaining affordable cars.
Bought an AMC Pacer the day they came out in 1975. It was one of the drive away that each dealer got. That car was a blast to drive and would draw a crowd for the first six months. The one car I had that I wish I'd never sold.
Glad to see AMC getting some attention. I think that with most of the big 3 makes/models that have been restored and bought and sold a few times already, that restorers have to go into AMC, Studebaker, etc.. to get the projects now.
I am glad to see AMC finally getting recognized for their line of great old cars. I bought a Javelin SST with a 360 4bbl in Jolly Green new in 72. I loved that car but as a foolish young man I sold it a few years later and regretted it since. I looked for years for a good 72 to replace it but being in northern Canada it was hard to find one rust free. A couple years ago I found one that was @ 90% restored and jumped on it and have finished it off. It is a 360 painted Big Bad Green with a black c-stripe, rear spoiler, big meat etc. It originally was Jolly Green so the interior is the same and when I am in it the great memories come flooding back. Thanks for the great article and I hope you will update us on the auction prices after the sales.
How great to see an article exclusively devoted to AMC! Thank you Hagerty. In a car collector world inundated with GMs, Fords and Chryslers, AMC vehicles stand out with their non-mainstream designs that exemplify the plucky underdog spirit of American Motors. I always have been amazed that prices for the two-seat AMXs, like that of the Studebaker Avanti, are all over the board compared to the run-of-the-mill Big Threes. The cars featured by RM Sotheby and Mecum appear to be great examples, although I must quibble over the grille on the Sotheby 1972 Gremlin X, which should be the color of the black body, not the color of the gold X-stripe.
Most people are all about the 2 seat AMX, but I think the last gen 1971 - 74 Javelins are the coolest looking of the AMC's. I know it wasn't used in the movie, but it's just got a real Mad Max racing down a desert highway vibe.
I started in the car business in 1976 and one of the first cars I sold to family was a jet black 74 Javelin to my younger brother. Super clean and low miles. Unfortunately it didn't have a spare tire and when he had a flat, was stranded! We still laugh about it to this day!
Actually the Rambler 880 was not the top of the line luxury car for AMC in 1963 and did not win Motor Trends cCr of the Year. It was the 1963 Rambler 990 4 door sedan that did that. How do I know, I owned a pristine original example of the 990 until 2 years ago that came with a copy of the Motor Trend magazine with the Car of the Year. I also placed in many local car shows and really was a hit with the "older crowd" since most men with families did not have muscle cars. The AMC 327 was unique in it's own right. The Rambler was the consummate traveling sales man as it split front bench seat would fold don flat with the rear bench seat creating a nice place for a sales person to bunk down for the night. Understandabley, it was also a favorite of teenagers back in the day!
Thanks for the article. I bought a new 1970 AMX 360 4br & 4 speed. The first year I chalked up 150,000 trouble-free miles. After taking it back to the dealer (showing 49500 miles - old style speedometer) for burning oil, it was discovered the valve seals had deteriorated (common problem). Still under the 50K mile warrantee they put in umbrella style seals & double valve springs (service guy said, "I know you're into racing so I put in the better springs"). That woke up the 360 & one day going through the gears it swallowed a valve. Now showing 80K miles (actual 180K) I was left to look for a replacement in a junkyard. Looked for a very long time & finally settled for a 290 (got 20 MPG during the gas crunch of the mid-seventies). Years later found a 70 low mileage 390 Ambassador & dropped it in with new cam & rebuilt dog-leg heads. Punched it out .060" to 401 & sold it after owning it 38 years to a friend who just loved the car. Loved that car.
My Pacer story....my dad bought a new Pacer in 1976 (we all thought he’d lost his mind). Intrigued, as a 16 year old would be, I asked him if I could use it for date night and he agreed. I decided to pick up a buddy instead and we proceeded to go off roading into the woods around the Sarasota airport. I was doing great throwing the fishbowl around on the trials until I met a downed pine log. What happened next frightened me a bit. I got out and looked at the right front wheel and it was kicked out at a 45 degree angle....oh crap I thought. How am I going to explain this one? As a crafty 16 year old at the time, this was easy right? I told my dad an old lady ran me off the road and I hit a curb (of course!). I screeched all the way home with the front tire plowing like someone with a sideways broken foot. I finally arrived home and parked the Pacer until morning. I explained my story and he rolled his eyes at me. It wasn’t until I was 45 years old and my dad was battling cancer, that I finally fessed up with the truth about the Pacer ordeal. He smiled at me and said, “I really didn’t believe your story, but I couldn’t figure out how the hell you did it!” Ah....the Pacer memories!
Wife liked the Pacer so I bought her a 75. Turned out it was a very nice road trip car for two people. Roomy, great views. However, it was less than reliable and we ended up trading it in after about 40,000 miles. Rear brakes word out in less than 5,000 miles, discovered the adjusters were installed reversed so they were constantly tightening. Electronic engine module would periodically shut the engine off and not allow a restart. Found that rapping it with a wrench fixed whatever "gremlin" was causing it and it would run fine until the next time it felt like quitting. Final straw was the rack and pinion failure around 38,000.
Funny side story. Parents bought me one of those roadside emergency kits in a nice case. Car was parked beside the house on a warm day in Denver when we heard a loud boom. Looked outside and didn't see anything. Later, we went to get in the car and found that the tire sealant/inflator can had exploded in the heat, ripped apart the case, and sprayed sealant everywhere. Took days to scrape it off. Lots of glass, lots of solar gain!
I remember when my dad, a travelling salesman, purchased a new red '68 Javelin SST when I was 10 years old. He said he bought the Javelin over the Camaro & Mustang because it had a larger trunk. What really set it off is when he purchased the Motor Wheel Magnum 500's made right there in our hometown of Lansing. He brought home a loaner '69 AMX one time and I recall my brother and I sitting on its carpeted back hump as dad ran through the gears and our heads beating off the back glass on each shift of the 4-speed. We discovered on that ride what a muscle car really was. Dad went on to purchase a '71 Ambassador Bromham wagon, '72 Gremlin X & a '74 Matador coupe.
Around 1967 or early 68 AMC parked an AMX in a faculty parking lot right in the middle of the San Francisco State College campus with a sign on it that basically said "if we build this car would you buy it?" No salesman or literature, no way to answer the question, but I guess they must have either gotten positive feedback or were just trying to generate interest in the car.
When I was a kid in the 1960s I could never understand why people weren't falling all over the Javelin. They had great performance and great looks. Both the short earlier cars and the later longer cars. I had friends as a teen that had one each and they always impressed with their speed, if not the handling so much. I have always been a fan of the underdog unusual cars. AMC fir the mold. The car listed here are beauties. I especially like the Matador wagon, although the Matador sedan was, uhm, ugly. Other than there Javelin, AMC's cars from the '60s on were just too weird to be big sellers. Its a shame considering the roots of the company included some truly great brands. Too bad we don't have anything like an AMC now.
AMC, like Studebaker for before, zigged when the Big 3 zagged. I love their designs and innovation and feel many(not all) of their cars have aged well. The world misses having a scrappy underdog in the automobile industry, unless you're shopping in the Super Car aisle
The first generation AMX and Javelins were truly beautiful cars. Some cars have a style that holds up over the years. C1 Corvettes, 240Zs and XKEs are examples of cars with timeless style. Other cars simply don't. The first generation AMX is in the first category. The second generation AMX is in the later.
I have always liked having cars that very few other guys in my area have. I have been seeing a green 61 Rambler classic 4 door for sale about an hour away that I having been fighting the temptation to stop and look at. After reading this article , i am more intrigued to check it out. No doubt it will be gone , such is my life. 🙂
Would like to get this one back. 1968 AMX 290 4 barrel 4 speed, that nice original green. Drove across Canada 6600 miles in 3 weeks with my girlfriend. Montreal to Vancouver. The seat folded all the way back and we slept in the car a few nights. I had to hold it down in second but didn’t stay there too long. She used to drop me off at the tavern and peel out because the clutch was so hard to let out slow. One of those that got away.
Now we know what John Cena does (did) with all his "BOOST" money! I am from the era of the AMX, Javelin SST, Gremlin X , Hornet etc. Had friends that owned them. Even raced against them in the BFG radial series in the late 70ties. AMC did a great job with very little to work with, including advertising budget. Would like to have an AMX but ever try to find parts? Might as well own a Ferrari.
Good story. Minor correction on original (two seat) AMX 390 engine horsepower: The first two years (68-69) were rated at 315HP. The 1970 got bumped up to 325HP via massaged heads and possibly the cam as well. (I owned a 1969 AMX 390 with the Go Pack).
On my honeymoon in Orlando Fla.in 1976 ( yes I`m that old ) had a Pacer station wagon yellow with wood grain on the sides from a rental car company, brand new 10 miles on it when picked it up. Driving down the Interstate started to hear this whining noise ten minutes later the transmission puked at 97 miles. Called the rental company from a pay phone (1976....what`s a cell phone ? ) they sent a wrecker out to pick it up and brought me a different vehicle a Hornet (dear God) and to top it off it was green. Ever since then whenever I was around an AMC product I always felt a sense of evil. But I have to say it drove well and I love the odd ball stuff like this.
Between Mustangs, Chevelles, Road Runners and all the other muscle that was out there, AMC had an uphill battle. Kind of like George Harrison trying to get a song on a Beatle album. Uphill battle with Lennon and McCartney. Nice to see AMC finally getting a little lime-light. 🏁🏁
I currently own two AMCs. A 1974 Matador coupe and a 1973 Javelin 304. I am the 2nd owner for both cars which may make a difference.....but both cars are very well built. When my Javelin was on a lift at my buddies shop getting a exhaust leak fixed a number of people commented on how well the chassis was restored. I have done nothing to the chassis but a yearly wash. The car has a few minor quirks like the dash voltage regulator stops working above 90 degree outside temp! Not a biggy. Both cars are unrestored but well maintained. I hope the AMC mark gets some respect via higher prices.....just happy I got mine cheap in the 90's!! https://media.fotki.com/2v2E5QburxJcANd.jpg
A little sad to see the 500 special, I purchased one right out of high school and only had it for a month or so as college needed the money more than i did, I kept the build sheet for this car, found behind the passenger seat back. A few years back I saw one go through Barret Jackson and it sold for close to $80,000! Hindsight.....