When AMC senior manager Frank Lipare opened his garage door in Manhasset, Long Island, to reveal a wide-shouldered, blue AMX, teenage Joseph Belfiore was dumbstruck. It was the mid-1970s, and he had sought out Lipare for advice regarding hopping up his own 1970 AMX. The homebuilt race car before him was the meanest piece of American Motors machinery he’d ever seen. Little did Belfiore know that, decades later, he’d buy Lipare’s car—not once, but twice—and spend eight years restoring it in his own garage.
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I’m a Chevrolet guy but I always appreciated the AMC /AMX. Back in 1969 I came across a shop located in ElkGrove Illinois that was building race cars (AMX) they were painted red, white and blue. Really brings back GREAT memories, thanks for the great article.
Yes, that Elk Grove shop was Ronnie Kaplan's shop. He's the guy that AMC contracted to campaign the first two Javelins to compete in the hotly contested Trans-Am series. He started with a brand new, never raced model and competed against teams from the big 3 and others that had been competing in the series for years. He really did well with those Javelins in that first year. He got edged out of 2nd place near the end of the season but it was a "Cinderella story nonetheless."
I always liked the original AMX and Javelins before 1971 when the two distinct models were merged into one. And this is a great story about a special one. What I especially like is Mr. Belfiore did most of the work restoring and modifying it himself. To me, that's a real car guy.
Great memories of my green ‘68 with a 290 4 barrel, 4 speed. Road tripped from Montreal to Vancouver and back. Almost 7000 miles in 3 weeks. The buckets went all the way back for my girlfriend and I. Regret I sold it to this day.
Funny to come across this story today. I just came back from a ride in my 1970
Big Bad Blue AMX.I am the original owner .It was stored for many years after having my second son in 1972 and kept in my nanas garage for most of the 30 years it was stored. I now have 19,800 miles on the car and will hit 20,000 very soon. Many great memories in my car. My first son was connived ,my honey moon ,and great time street racing with my friends. After I finish this post going back out as it is a great day in Florida. My car is stock except for electronic ignition. When I replaced the tires I put original equipment Goodyear polygalas F70-14.Still have same shocks on car.
I took a salesman and myself out for a little test drive back in the day....I had a 1961 Impala 348 3 deuce 4 speed that I thought was cool, but brother, the salesman and I thought that ride was very special and though only 2 seats held me back, I never forgot and always regretted not making the move...always watched the TRANS AM Penske Donohue efforts tho'....
Loved the article ,I have a 68 AMX had since I found it in a back yard in Savannah Ga for $75.00,was in service & took it
to England & Germany for 3 years ,Drove the German Autobauns what a blast ,no speed limits ,still have that car today , when I die they will have to bury me in it .LOL
I met Frank at a car show that was held in the Felt Forum part of Madison Square Garden. He had his car displayed there next to a road race Sunbeam Tiger if I remember correctly.I had a 70 Bittersweet Orange 390 auto Go Package AMX. He was a nice guy and he helped me locate parts for my car. Unfortunately he couldn't find a STR-11 but found some trim. I still have a rocker panel molding but I never got a chance to pick up a grille that he found for me. Frank was also developing the 1979 AMX for road racing and I believe that included the BFG team that went to Germany. I was sadden to hear of his passing years ago but it's good to see that his AMX survives. Good luck and thanks for keeping part of his legacy going.