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American Motors eXperimental
AMX in 1968
With the Muscle Car wars raging between the Big Three auto makers, AMC, America's last independent car company, was in financial trouble. They needed an image changer, a statement maker, they needed............
The AMX, a two-seater, a no-backseater. A sportscar, a musclecar!
The AMX created excitment. Here at last was a two-place sports coupe American Motors could be proud to show off, and that's exactly what they did. The AMX sat on a 97 in. wheelbase, it had an overall length of 177.22 in., a width of 71.57 in. and a height of 51.73 in. The front tread measured 58.36 in., the rear 57 in. It weighed in at just over 3,000 lbs.
Performance was the word, only V-8's were available, and those were all equipped with Carter four-barrel carburetors and dual exhausts. The baseline 290 ci produced 225 hp at 4700 rpm, the optional 343 ci produced 280 hp and the top-of-the-line 390 was rated at 315 hp with a tire smoking 425 ft.lbs of torque. AMC advertised in its factory literature and advertisments that "once the 390 was broken in, you could roll right onto a race track and be ready to do 130 mph". If that wasn't enough there were the Group 19 dealer-installed factory performance parts; Aluminum intake manifolds, hi-lift cams, roller rockers, Detroit Locker rear-ends with gears as steep as 5.00:1, side pipes, and rear wheel disc brake kits, and much more.
Even before it was introduced to the public at the Chicago Auto Show on February 23, 1968, the AMX broke 106 National and International speed records with Craig Breedlove behind the wheel. Breedlove would take the AMX to Bonneville and run an official 189 mph with an unofficial run of over 200 mph.
On the streets the competition was finding that the little company from Kenosha had an underdog that would bite. Straight line was fine but when run hard through the corners the AMX really came alive! Mechanix Illustrated tested the car and had this to say: "In summing up, the AMX is the hottest thing to ever come out of Wisconsin and I forgot to tell you they have it suspended so that you can whip through corners and real hard bends better than with many out-and-out sports cars".
To go along with the performance of the car AMC offered a number of luxury items. Air conditioning, automatic tranmission, tilt steering, power steering or quick-ratio manual steering, AM, AM-FM or AM 8 track stereo, tinted windows, remote outside mirror and power disc brakes were on the list with many other options. Reclining bucket seats were standard.
The AMX was the only American steel bodied two-seater of its time, the last being the '55-'57 Ford Thunderbird. The starting factory price for a 1968 AMX was $3,245.00, nearly $1,500.00 less than a Corvette. Hitting the show rooms in March of 1968 resulted in only 6,725 AMXs being built, but the company's larger goal for the AMX was met, to bring younger customers into AMC showrooms and to show that AMC was finally serious about performance.
More for 1968
Read much more on Craig Breedlove's 1968 record setting run in the all new AMX. Written by Craig Breedlove for AMC's Americana magazine. Go > Then watch the AMC produced film "Texas Takeover" at the AMX Drive-In. Go >
1968's Playmate of the Year was awarded a pink AMX by AMC and Playboy magazine. Go >
THE AMX STORY
American Motors Sensational New Sports Car
Walter Mitty dreams for the car lover with a limited budget who used to wind up with a compromise choice of "second-best."
That car buff might have had an eye for the undefinable Italian look of genteel masculinity, or an ear for the throaty sound of "big-cube" Detroit brawn. But he made his down payment on a near "something else". . . because the purchase price for his real dream was just too much. Because there just wasn't room for luggage that you'd think should go with a "sports touring car." Because parts would be too difficult to obtain. Because his insurance man and local bump shop were price-prejudiced in favor of an all-steel body. Or because ... of a dozen things that forced him to settle for less.
Here, for the first time, is a "first-choice" personal car with the design, style and feel - call it "romance" if you will - to deliver legitimate sports car satisfaction at a price within reach of just about all those Walter Mitty dreamers. You'll be seeing it soon in your American Motors dealer's showroom - and you'll see what we mean.
With its long hood and abrupt rear deck - total car length, 177.2 inches - this two-seater has those forward-thrusting lines that imply power... which AMX has. A wide-track stance comparable to much larger cars, placed on a tight 97-inch wheelbase, is basis for extraordinary road stability ... which AMX delivers.
Bred from the exciting original "AMX idea car," the AMX has that masculine look which is so much a part of modern sports car styling. And it has all those mechanical and equipment features you would expect in a true sports car design. Within that design are: powerful engines (V-8's only) with dual exhausts; special suspension (including rear traction bars) with high-performance tires; floormounted, four-speed transmission; integral tachometer ... and a lot more - to include those items which give a sports touring car genuine capacity for touring. For example: reclining slim-sectioned bucket seats; carpeted storage area behind the seats; a trunk of nearly 10 cubic feet, with a space-saver collapsible spare tire; and a capacious 19-gallon gasoline tank.
On top of these are many features absent in most other sports cars. Among them: hefty, deep sectioned bumpers; flow-through fresh air ventilation; large, frameless side windows without vent windows for an "open-air look"; smooth contoured outside door handles and unique "preset-impulse" door-lock system*, and a host of safety features.
With all this (and still more) as standard dress, the AMX gives its prideful owner basis to talk sports car in any crowd.
And yet the price he pays is on a speaking acquaintance with that of those dressed-up pony cars whose owners had to take them as substitutes for the real thing.
Which now means substitute for AMX.
In keeping with its character of a "no-compromise" car, AMX offers a full range of options and equipment for that personalized tailoring so highly desired by the sports car buff.
Such an automotive aficionado will find one of his greatest delights in the engine compartment. Standard under the hood is a 290-cubic inch, 225-hp Typhoon V-8. From there he can step up the storm in the Typhoon category with a 343cube, 280-hp version. Then comes the "AMX 390" V-8, which puts out a thundering 315 horsepower before its new owner starts taking advantage of performance kits offered by American Motors dealers.
There's no mistaking the new "AMX 390" V-8 when the hood is lifted. Contrasting against the engine block's bright metallic blue (AM's color for '68) is the shining chrome on valve covers, air cleaner top lid and oil filler cap. Further, a decal on the air cleaner tells just what the engine is-and implies what it can do (like maybe zero to 60 in less than seven seconds).
There's also no mistaking the AMX whose owner has elected to travel a bit more quickly along the performance route. An over-the- top racing stripe goes with two different performance "Go" packages. The first package starts with the "343" V-8 and builds up with power disc brakes, red-line wide profile tires, higher-rate heavy-duty front and rear springs, specially calibrated heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers, Twin-Grip differential, and heavy duty engine cooling system. The "AMX Go" package has the same equipment, but starts with the "390" V-8 as a base.
A good match mate to either "Go" package is the optional quick-ratio manual or power steering. Other performance items -some of them dealer options can be detailed by your American Motors salesman.
Of course, comfort, convenience, appearance and luxury optional accessories are offered in a profusion normally unavailable in most other sports cars on this or the far side of the Atlantic. Such additional accessories fit in with a modern American approach to sports cars which holds that they need not necessarily be spartan nor uncomfortable. And "nice little touches" like a stereo tape player certainly do add a great deal to the personal mood of an AMX.
But if all this clashes with your concept of a no-nonsense, get moving, masculine sports car, have it your way.
You've got a mighty lot of first choice driving machine to begin with ... a car that sets a new pace for others to follow.
Smooth-contoured outside door handles, set flush, enhance utility, appearance, safety.
Standard reclining seats adjust to the driver's or passenger's choice at a touch.
Pre-set impulse door locking system allows for convenient one-hand locking of doors. Inside or out, the AMX has that true sports car design.
The AMX Engine Rates Its Name
It's appropriate that American Motors' new "390" V-8 should be introduced with the company's new sports car, the AMX, and that it take its name from the AMX. This up-to-the-minute engine suits the exciting sports design of AMX and it comes across with the highest-rated power output ever attained by a standard production American Motors engine - 315 horsepower, 425 foot-pounds torque. Of modern, thin-casting design total engine weight under 600 pounds-the "AMX 390" V-8 is available optionally in the AMX and in SST versions of the Javelin, Rebel* and Ambassador*. Boasting such heavy-duty components as forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods (instead of the usual cast iron), the "AMX 390" V-8 reflects an American Motors engineering objective of extreme reliability as well as power. The engine also will be recognized as one of the easiest-to-service V-8's of its size. This is due, in large measure, to the engine layout and handy-to service forward accessory section.
Just this, plus the reassuring feel of ample reserve power on the open road, is enough for most of us to know. Of course, for the performance-minded car enthusiast, there's a lot more to be learned about the engine - and your American Motors salesman would be pleased to answer any questions.
AMX PRESS RELEASES
Shown below are copies of the official AMC Press Releases for the AMX. The first, dated Monday, June 20th, 1966, is the release for the Vignale Prototype. The second one shown, dated Thursday, February 15th, 1968, is the press release for the 1968 production AMX.
AMX Introductory Offer
Buy the set of three posters for $1.00
The racing jacket, only $9.95
The AMX model $1.75
1968 AMX Print Ads
We, American Motors, have over 2,300 dealers across the country who can sell more AMX's than we can make. And we will only make about 10,000 this year. In other words, we're faced with a mini-Supply of AMX's and a maxi-Demand for AMX'S.
In an effort to give everyone an equal chance to buy an AMX, we're resorting to the best solution we can think of. Like the House of Representatives, we will try to send a fair share of AMX's to each state, based on its proportionate population. For example, California, with a larger share of the people, should receive a larger share of AMX'S. New Hampshire, with fewer people, won't get quite so many.
It should all work out democratically.
What is it?
The AMX is a 2-seater. For people who love sports cars, but haven't the time or the money to take care of one. Priced at under $3,300,* the AMX offers most of the advantages of a high-priced foreign car. With none of the disadvantages associated with owning a high performance sports car. The costly disadvantages of constant maintenance and special engine tune-ups.
In short, the AMX gives you the ease of maintenance associated with a family sedan, along with the sheer fun and maneuverability of a sports car costing thousands more.
The Engine. One Size Fits All.
The AMX body is made of steel. Which, while strong, is also heavy. So we tried an imaginative technique for reducing the AMX's total weight. We selected a lightweight engine block that combusts exactly the same power as a heavy block.
It worked. The AMX engine cradle will hold any of three different engines: Our 290 cubic inch. Our 343 cubic inch. Our 390 cubic inch. (Zero to 60 in under 7 seconds. One, two, three, four, five, six, sev-that fast.)
The incredibly uncomplex design of the AMX means that, once the 390's broken in, you could roll right onto a race track and be ready to do about 130 mph. In pure stock form-without special engine modifications.
All three engines are V-8 configuration, and use similar engine blocks. Which means you don't add excessive size and weight as you go from the 290 to the 343 to the 390.
And though there are cars on the road that are faster than the AMX, we hasten to add that beating other drivers isn't the AMX's main appeal.
In the auto industry "handling" means how fast and how accurately your car responds to your personal driving technique. And how easily. It's the way the car reacts to you as you drive not the usual dull split second later. You get out of the lane, pass the car in front and get back into the lane in one sure motion. The AMX offers one of the fastest steering wheel ratios of any U.S. built car. This means it turns, corners, follows your direction simultaneously.
You. The Layman.
If car advertising never tells you about engineering, it's only because you'd never understand. Ahhhhh ... but then again, maybe you would.
AMX standard equipment includes a 290 cubic inch V-8 with 4-barrel carburetor, rated at 225 HP, a short throw, all-syncromesh 4-on-the-floor, dual exhausts, fiberglass belted wide-profile tires, slim-shelled reclining bucket seats, 8,000 RPM tach, padded aircraft-type instrument panel with deep-set controls, energy absorbing steering column, heavy duty springs and shocks, large diameter sway bar, rear traction bars. And more.
Are Two Seats Enough?
There are 78,000,000 cars in this country with enough seating capacity to carry 450,000,000 people. Or one-seventh the population of the entire world. However, there are only 200,000,000 people in America. Leaving 250,000,000 more car seats than people to sit in them. Ask yourself if you really need more than a 2-seater. Your answer may surprise you.
AMX Inner Space.
While the AMX isn't much of a place to hold meetings, it will hold a lot of sport things because it is a sports car. Back of the dual bucket seats is a fully-carpeted floor space. It's not as big as a trunk, but we can verify that it will hold any of the following: 3 good-sized suitcases, a big TV set, 2 scuba-diving outfits, 4 parachutes, 3 electric guitars and amplifiers.Things of that nature. Or, you can leave it empty. And keep the space a space.
AMX Inner Space Part II.
If you need more space, the AMX trunk is where you'll find it. It's alot bigger than you'd expect a sports car trunk to be. This is possible because we didn't fill the trunk with a big spare tire. We gave you The Airless Spare.
When you need it, it "wwwwhhhhooooosshh!" inflates. The Airless Spare is something every car should have. Because it doesn't take up trunk space with air that you don't need.
AMX Outer Space.
You might think that a car offering all of the luggage space of the AMX must be a pretty long car. But the AMX is an amazing five inches shorter than the Corvette. And the Corvette is pretty short.
Will AMX Number 14 Be More Valuable Than AMX Number 777?
When you buy your AMX, its production number will be set in the dash. While this may mean a lot to collectors in the years ahead, we do want to point out that all AMX's are made with the same attention and quality.
And while possessing a lower number may have a sentimental or prestige value, it does not in any way make one AMX better than another.
Before you rush out to buy the new AMX, you should know where to rush to. The good old phone book has a listing for the American Motors dealer nearest you. He'll arrange your test-drive of the new AMX. If he still has one.
1. Based upon manufacturer's suggested retail price, federal taxes included. State and local taxes, destination charges, options, excluded.