In mid-1968, soon after American Motors had decided to drop its Javelin-based two-seat AMX, then-Chairman Gerry Meyers commissioned Italian design house Giugiaro to prepare a mid-engine sports car styling prototype and told AMC styling chief Dick Teague to do an alternative design in-house. Teague's far better AMX/2 concept prevailed and was displayed at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show. Both press and public reactions were strongly positive.
The design was further developed into the even better-looking AMX/3, and a serious effort was launched to move it to production at a reasonable cost. When soon-to-come federal bumper regulations and other issues inflated the cost to well beyond volume viability, the program was scaled down to an initial run of just 30 cars to be built by Italian coachbuilder Giotto Bizzarrini, then dropped entirely after only five cars were completed. A sixth unauthorized AMX/3 was put together in Italy from a spare body and parts acquired from a subcontractor.
This examples, chassis number 4, was one of the three sold to Dick Teague by AMC after the project was cancelled. Teague later sold the car to George Doughtie Jr., who then sold it to the Prisma Collection. The current owner acquired it in 2003 after seeing a small ad in Hemmings Motor News. Since then, it has been restored and its original engine was reunited with the car.
Why did AMC, long producer of solid, dependable, family cars being producing fast-moving, expensive sporty cars? Image. In the late 1960's, Richard Teague, AMC's vice president in charge of styling, decided to aggressively court the youth market. Various automobiles came out of their push including the Mustang-inspired Javelin, and two-seat AMX and the SC/Rambler, the most unusual car produced during this time was the AMX/3.
Based on the Javelin, but patterned after European exotic cars like the Lamborghini Miura and the Lotus Europa, the AMX/3 was one of the most unusual cars to come out of Detroit in the late 1960's. The Italian firm of Giotto Bizzarrini handled the chassis development, and BMW assisted wîth testing. With styling by Richard Teague, the mid-engined car's equipment included an Italian transaxle, cast magnesium wheels by Campagnolo and four-wheel disc vented brakes by the German company Ate. With a 390 cubic inch engine, the AMX/3 could glide along at a whopping 160 miles per hour. The AMX/3's major competition would have been the Ford Pantera, a similar vehicle also targeted at the your market. But this was never to be.
AMC's continuing sales problems, projected engineering costs for meeting new federal safety standards, and concern that the selling price might double the original projections of $10,000, conspired to put the AMX/3 on the shelf after just six examples were built. All six of the prototype cars still exists, and this AMX/3 was one of Richard Teague's personal cars. Teague, a long time Museum supporter and contributor, lived north of San Diego. After his death, Mrs. Teague kindly loaned the car to the San Diego Museum for display.
Collection of Mrs. Richard A. TeagueSource - SDAM
The AMC AMX, representing American Motors Experimental, was produced in low production numbers produced during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It had similarities to AMC's pony car, the Javelin, but was smaller and had seating for two. The AMX was not only sporty and attractive, but it introduced many 'industry firsts', including being the first production vehicle to use a one-piece injection molded dashboard which greatly improved safety for its occupants. In 1969 and 1970 it was named 'Best Engineered Car of the Year' by the American Automotive Society of Engineers.
There were multiple engines available to the buyer. From 1968 through 1970 a four-barrel carbureted eight-cylinder engine could be had in 290, 343, 360 and 390 cubic-inch flavors. Power was sent to the rear wheels courtesy of the standard T-10 four-speed manual gearbox. Dual exhaust and a special traction bar were also included as standard equipment. Adding to the sporty persona were extra wide tires which provided extra traction and enhanced performance.
In 1968 AMC produced 6,725 examples of the AMX. The following year 8,2963 were produced and in 1970 sales dipped to 4,116. There were 52 examples of the Hurst-modified SS/AMX drag strip racing versions. These are highly sought after in modern times as collector cars.
The AMC AMX was popular on the racing circuit, especially at drag strips. The potent engines and wide tires made them very competitive. The AMX captured the Super Stock Championship title multiple years. Craig Breedlove, a renowned driver with years of experience and many titles was hired by AMC to help further the career performance of the AMX. He did so by breaking over 100 records including the 24 hour average speed record which he averaged 130 mph. The previous record had been 103 mph.
From 1971 through 1974 the AMX name was used on the Javelin indicating the performance option. It was used again in 1977 as a performance option on the Hornet. The following year it was applied to the Concord and in 1979 and 1980 it appeared on the Spirit.
There were three concept versions of the AMX created, known as the AMX/1, AMX/2, and AMX/3. The first operational AMX prototype was debuted in 1966 and resided for a number of years in the Talledega Speedway museum. Two rolling prototypes were made of the AMX/2, with one being used for many years atop of a pole of a used car dealership. In 1970 AMC commissioned ItalDesign to create a mid-engined high-performance version of the AMX, dubbed the AMX/3. The design was mostly by AMC designer Richard 'Dick' Teague and production was done at the former Bizzarrini factory located in Turin, Italy. Only six versions were created from 1969 through 1972. Located mid-ship was a 390 cubic-inch AMC V8 capable of producing 340 horsepower. A custom made OTO Melara five-speed manual gearbox was used and top speed was achieved at 160 mph. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2006
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