In relation to automotive marques, AMC just isn’t precisely a family identify, and certain unknown to anybody born after the demise of the corporate. American Motors Corporation was wheezing alongside on monetary fumes when Renault acquired a significant curiosity in 1979. By the point AMC was renamed Jeep Eagle in 1988 and at last absorbed by Chrysler in 1990, its finest years have been lengthy since behind the model.
What was once America’s number-four carmaker started in 1954 as the approaching collectively of Nash and Hudson to symbolize the most important company merger in American historical past. In fact, AMC was nonetheless fairly a distance behind the Massive Three—GM, Ford and Chrysler—when it comes to quantity and income, however discovered a distinct segment with a lineup of smaller automobiles just like the Nash Metropolitan and Rambler American. The corporate was not with out its memorable fashions. Some, just like the AMC Pacer, stay the archetypal expression of aesthetic oblivion, however such is that automotive’s attraction. (Squint your eyes and it’s a Porsche 928!) And for a couple of transient years, AMC made some actually thrilling efficiency automobiles.
The upcoming RM Sotheby’s Open Roads auction, held on-line April 21 via 29, incorporates a uncommon assortment of AMC fashions that sometimes come to market, particularly in such exceptional situation. From a single assortment in Nashville, Tenn., these embody a 1979 AMX, a 1974 Javelin AMX, a 1972 Gremlin X (5-liter), a 1970 Hornet SC/360 and a 1969 AMX California 500 Particular. Whereas every of those could also be an odd footnote within the ebook of American efficiency automobiles, every has its personal interesting attributes, and within the case of the 1969 AMX California 500 Particular particularly, a critical collector following.
With pony automobiles just like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang taking the lion’s share of the home performance-car market within the late Nineteen Sixties, AMC jumped in with a daring mannequin referred to as the AMX. The unique design, launched in 1968 and made solely via 1970, was distinguished as the one US-built two-seat sports activities automotive accessible on the time, other than the Chevrolet Corvette. It was additionally notable for its brief wheelbase. At a mere 97 inches, it was one inch shorter than the ’Vette, and at about $3,250, about $1,000 inexpensive.
The identify AMX refers to American Motors eXperimental, a reputation used for some radical idea automobiles proven a couple of years prior. The AMX moniker was used on subsequent four-seat Javelins from 1971 via 1974, in addition to later fashions bearing no relation to the unique—and most notable—automobiles just like the California 500 Particular supplied right here.
AMC’s V-8 engines powered the AMX, and prospects had a selection of a small-block 290 ci, a 343 ci or a 390 ci (6.4-liter). The latter was an enormous block that made 315 hp and 425 ft lbs of torque, permitting the automotive to cowl zero to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, a wholesome quantity for the day. Prime velocity in road gown was beneath 125 mph, however dealing with was the secret for the AMX. A Borg Warner four-speed transmission, entrance disc brakes and traction bars have been commonplace tools. The 12 months 1969 launched “Massive Dangerous” paint choices in Inexperienced, Blue and Orange, and these are the colours that make the first-generation AMX such a stand-out muscle automotive.
This California 500 Particular was a restricted sequence, supplied in 1969 and offered solely via members of the Southern California American Motors Seller Affiliation as a part of a advertising and marketing marketing campaign to commemorate the 1969 season on the Riverside Worldwide Raceway. The tempo automotive for the race was a 390 ci AMX painted Massive Dangerous Inexperienced with black stripes. It was additionally given a saddle leather-based inside, “Sidewinder Exhausts” and commemorative brass plaques. Out of an estimated 283 inexperienced examples made in 1969, it’s estimated that solely 23 have been California 500 Specials that wore the tempo automotive’s similar coloration scheme and accents. Muscle automotive fanatics recognize the AMX for its appears to be like, efficiency and rarity. Of all of them, the California 500 Particular is simply concerning the rarest of the uncommon.