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American Motors eXperimental
Australian Motor Industries AMX
In 1969 and 1970 Australian Motor Industries Ltd. (AMI) began importing American Motors AMXs into Australia after their Managing Director fell in love with the cars while in Kenosha overseeing Javelin KD.
The AMXs were sent in unassembled form to Australia where they were assembled and converted to right hand drive by AMI.
Only 24 of these AMXs were produced between August, 1969 and July, 1970. All 24 were 1969 models.
Unique to the Australian AMXs were: Australian Dunlop Aquajet radial tires, black vinyl behind the AMX quarter panel emblem, Rambler badge on the trunk lid, Lucas 65-watt non-sealed beam headlights,and amber turn signals in back. The biggest difference shows in the interior which was created/made by AMI because of the need to convert the cars to right hand drive. All the interiors were black with gray carpet in the trunk. The dash, door panels, seats, etc. were AMI pieces. U.S. options such as headrests, bumper guards, etc. could be ordered through AMI Parts. These cars were quality hand built at Australian Motor Industries in Port Melbourne.
There were only three colors offered on the Aussie AMXs; White, Safety Wattle Yellow, and Signal Red.
The Australian AMXs all had as standard equipment (optional USA) 343 ci engine, automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, rally pak, rally wheels, twin grip rear axle with 2.87 ratio, and electric wipers. Unlike its USA counterpart where the AMX was sold as a performance car, the Aussie AMX was advertised as a luxury-personal car alternative to the "run-of-the-mill" Mercedes Benz sedan. It's no wonder, with a 1970 sale price of $7,681.10 Australian, they were priced right in the Mercedes, Jaguar league.
The dashboard is made of fiberglass and covered in black vinyl. AMC instruments were used including speedometer, tachometer, clock and oil/amp gauges (similar to the USA rally paks) surrounded by wood. Notice the console and shifter is standard AMC for left hand drive use, making it difficult to see the gear shift indicator from the right hand side. If you look closely you can see that the cigarette lighter is located in the console rather than the dash.
Another interior shot, AMI used quality, thick vinyl. Again notice the cigarette lighter located in the console.
The Rambler emblem and 343V emblem on the trunk lid, or "rear boot" as it's known in Australia.
The engine compartment in the RHD AMX. The most obvious difference is the power brake booster located on the passenger side, and the heater motor is on the passenger side as well. But look where the power steering pump is, in its usual (U.S.) location even though the rest of the steering components have been relocated to the right side.
Unlike its U.S counterpart, the 24 Australian AMXs had an engine number stamped to go with the car. The 343 V-8 for the AMX was stamped Z49001Z - Z49024Z. The 49 goes with AMX. 001-024 corresponds to the body number of the car. The problem however, was that it was pure luck if the correct engine went into the correct car. Some cars did get the matching engine, but several didn't!
Close up of the fender ID Tag on the right side fender that is visible in this photo. It says "AUSTRALIAN MOTOR INDUSTRIES LTD".
Here you can see the black vinyl in the AMX circle on the quarter panel. Of interest is the different shape of the rearview door mirror from U.S. cars. Although not clearly visible here, this car sits on Redline tires.
CURRENT STATUS ON THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE 24 AMI AMXs
Over the past few years a friend ( Craig King ) and myself have been tracking down as many of the Australian AMXs as we can find. As of this date we have located 21 of the original 24. Two cars have been wrecked with 19 left and 3 unknowns (cars 15, 19 and 21). Of the rest I beleive that only six are on the road the rest are being restored or just stored. One car, No 18, returned to the U.S. Car #1 was in a nasty smash in the mid 1970's and a new '70 front was placed on it complete with a ram air set up. Later a 401 was fitted and a wild paint job. The spooky thing with this car is the original 343 was removed and traded on for the 401 in Sydney ( you know they just had some sport thing there so I was told !!!! ) A gentleman then purchased the 343 for his 290 powered Matador. He then moved to Adelaide ( this is where I live ) and now wanted a 401 for his Matador. My brother Dave sold him one and traded the 343. About a month later Craig King bought the 401 AMX from Sydney and brought it round to show us. The color was really something to see light blue and a move color, the same as a 343 we had just traded !! We checked the engine number at this point and found that it was the original engine that came from Craig's new AMX !! He then bought his engine back and will put it back in the car soon. Another rumour was that one of the missing three cars also returned to the states.
Andrew Tuck, Public Relations Officer for the AMC Rambler Club of Australia.
I'd like to thank Craig Norling of the Javelin Register of Australia (VIC) for his efforts and expense in obtaining and sending me these fantastic photos along with the information used here to bring you the rarest production AMXs on the planet.
The only Big Bad Orange AMX in Australia. Not a local build, but an import and conversion.
Thank you to Ray Sprague, who owns these unique and beautiful AMXs.