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American Motors eXperimental
1969 S/S AMX
1969 S/S AMX Muscular Flagship of AMC Racing
By Andre 'A.J.' Jacobs
For the 1969 model year AMC and Hurst teamed up to produce what would be the ultimate AMC muscle car, the Super Stock AMX. AMC was sponsoring cars in SCCA racing (Sports Car Club of America, namely the Trans-Am series in this case) and did have the Grant Rebel Funny car, but they were really looking for a big attention getter in the Drag racing scene.
The SC/Rambler was selling well and was doing its "thing" on Drag strips all over the U.S., but these cars were more in the amateur class. AMC needed a "PRO" car, and that was going to be the SS/AMX.
Super Stock drag racing was one of the popular classes at that time and was just right for AMC to get in to. Fifty three frost white AMXs with charcoal interiors and sequential V.I.N.s (vehicle identification numbers) were sent to Hurst for the transformation. All cars were 390, four-speed models with 4.44:1 limited slip model 20 rear ends, drum brakes, and with the radio and heater deleted.
The original sales price was $5,994 -- about $2300 more than a similarly equipped AMX from the factory!
At Hurst the engine, transmission, rear springs, axles, shocks, sway bar, dash, interior and a variety of body brackets were pulled. Some of these parts were reworked and others were simply canned. Engines received J&E forged pistons, heads specially modified by Crane, manual tach drive, dual point distributor, cross ram intake manifold, and a pair of Holley four-barrel carburetors. The stock exhaust was replaced with headers and a minimal exhaust system. AMC advertised 340 hp, but NHRA factored them in as having 420, a more realistic number!
The battery was relocated to the trunk. A steel flywheel and racing clutch housed in a safety shield were installed. The factory first gear (2:23) in the Borg Warner T-10 was replaced with a 2.64:1 gear ratio, and a relocated Hurst "Super Comp Plus" shifter was used. The rear end was the stock corporate AMC 20 with a 4.44:1 gear ratio and "Twin-Grip" limited slip differential. Hurst replaced the two-piece axle/hub units with single piece axles and replaced the rear springs and shocks with racing units. Rear wheel lips were opened up for 10 inch racing slicks. Race shocks were installed up front and the sway bar was left off; for a drag car it was just extra weight that impeded weight transfer as well (prevents the front wheels from dropping very fast and the front end lifting). Hood hinges, grill supports and fender supports were removed and discarded -- more extra weight. Four hood pins, two holes, and a big scoop were installed on the hood.
On the inside all the carpet padding, sound deadening and the likes were removed, then the interior was reinstalled. Some cars ( the exact number is not known) were painted in AMCs racing colors of red, white and blue. The paint was very bad and must have been done outside on a windy day, AMC received many complaints on it.
These cars were running 11:20s to 10:70s at 125-30 mph right out of the Hurst shops and were a serious threat on the drag strip. They were a real surprise to the competition during the 1969 racing season!
When the 1970 season opened AMC sent out a kit to convert your 69 SS/AMX into a 70 SS/AMX. NHRA did not let this fly and the converted cars were not allowed to race in the Super Stock classes. The 69 sheet metal had to be put back on to run in Super Stock. This marked the end for most SS cars, as there was a lot of time and money spent to convert the cars (most cars were not converted back to the 69 sheet metal and were sold off to other racers who over the years cut and butchered these cars to make them faster in non-Super Stock classes. Chevy, Mopar and Ford engines were used by most non-AMC racers as they had little to no experience with the AMC 390).
The consecutive V.I.N.s ran from A9M397X213560 & 213612, all inclusive. The easiest way to spot an original SS/AMX is to check the V.I.N. If you don't happen to have the number or forgot the sequence, check for the factory radio delete plate and heater delete plate. This won't be a rough cut metal cover, but a factory die stamped plate. Many of these parts are not hard to find except for the correct block of plates (not an SS/AMX part only) and the correctly numbered Holley carbs. You really need to check the V.I.N. before laying out a lot of cash for a car believed to be an SS/AMX but could be just a stripped standard model. Many two-seat AMXs have been stripped for racing! A lot of the SS/AMXs were sold off to run in other forms of drag racing.
I have been compiling information on these cars since 1986 and have located 32 authenticated Hurst SS/AMX cars. I run the Super Stock AMX Registry, and am always looking for photos, info, cars, driver/owners, etc. This is by no means the complete story, you will have to wait for the SS/AMX registry to be put on-line for more info.
Andre 'A.J." Jacobs,
President, Alamo AMC
Owner & Proprietor, South Texas AMC
Shirley Shahan's Drag-On-Lady, probably the most famous S/S AMX, was sponsored by the Southern California Dealers Association. This Association was also the creator of the "500 Special" AMXs.
Photo's caption reads:She certainly doesn't look like a drag racer and that certainly is not the chief race car mechanic with her. Shirley Shahan, who campaigns a Super Stock AMX for the A.M. Southern California Dealers Assoc., recently visited Las Vegas- as the guest of the "Hollywood Squares" television program. During her stay, Shirley met many show business celebrities including Red Buttons (pictured). Maybe Shirley and H.L., her husband, can reciprocate and take Red for a ride in a 10-second, 127 mph. AMX?
Caption reads:Tire-twisting torque and leaping wheel-stand have become the trademark of the super stock AMX throughout the drag racing world. Nat Thompson, driving the "AMX-1"sponsored by Atlantic American in Norfolk, Va., demonstrates a perfect example of why drag fans are on their feet when the AMX's come to the line.
S/S AMX news from the day
AMX Wins WCS Meet
Lou Downing powered his 1969 AMX "Pete's Patriot" through a tough field of Hemi-Barracudas and Dodges to win Super Stock Eliminator at the N.H.R.A. Division V World Championship Series Points Meet at Thunder Road Dragway in Denver, Colo. Downing is the defending Division V Super Stock Champion.
Lou locked up the win by defeating a factory-sponsored hemi-Barracuda on the final run of the day-long competition. He also established a new N.H.R.A. SS/D miles per hour record of 126.96. The previous record was held by Shirley Shahan in an AMX. Downing's win provided enough points for him to take over leadership of the Division's Super Stock category with three meets yet to be run.
Downing is sponsored by Peterson Motor Co. of Kearney, Neb.
Stowe Wins Detroit
Gary Stowe, driving a 1969 AMX sponsored by Hicksville Rambler of Hicksville, N. Y. won the Grand Touring 11 Eliminator Bracket at the American Hot Rod Association Grand American Championships at Detroit Dragway. Stowe defeated such drag racing luminaries as Dick Harrell and Bill Hielscher, both in Camaros, on his way to the win. Stowe recorded an 11.04 elapsed time (e.t.) during the final round of competition. Stowe attributes much of the success the car has achieved to the work of Alfredo Bergna and Floyd Branch who assist Gary in the car's preparation.