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American Motors eXperimental
From Collectible Automobile July, 1984. Richard A. Teague on the AMX/3
Richard A. Teague, longtime design chief for American Motors, is-to use his words a "car nut. " And whether the subject is one of his own creations or something as unusual as the two-cylinder half-scale 1906 Reo touring car he's restoring, you get the distinct feeling he likes nothing better than shooting the breeze with other "car nuts".
Collectible Automobile had a chance to confirm this when Teague spoke with us recently about the AMX/3 project and the yellow number-five car, which he owns, the one you see on these pages. He had made some rear-end modifications to it, and we were curious about why.
Oh, I don't know. It was the very last one and didn't have the right taillights in anyway. It had round taillights, which were done because it was the last running prototype. And for some reason or other-somewhere in the scheme of things between here [Michigan] and Turin, Italy-Bizzarrini elected to use some round taillights off of a Fiat or something, and I never did like those lights very much. So I elected to put [in] Pontiac Firebird taillights-turned them upside down. I couldn't have designed them any better. I designed the thing original, I guess I felt I could probably change it.
CA:Did you make any other changes on that car?
Teague:No. At some point I do want to put a front spoiler on it, because they're the rage now and 14 years ago they weren't. That plus the fact that the car lifts at speed.
CA:You or the company never did any aerodynamic testing on the styling?
Teague:No, but I've always wondered what that thing would have achieved as far as Cd is concerned. I couldn't even guess, but it ought to be pretty slippery.
CA:Were you inspired by any particular existing car when you designed the AMX/3?
Teague:Oh no. I knew nothing about the DeTomaso Pantera, and it's been likened by some as looking similar to it. But, of course, that's a function of the mechanicals -it's very low and it's two passenger and it's mid-engine and the engine is forward of the rear axle-so just by its mechanical layout the AMX 3 appears somewhat similar. Not to me but to others. I personally, immodestly say it's a better-looking car than the Pantera.
CA:Some of the front fender shapes reminded us of a later Pininfarina design, namely the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer.
Teague:I'm an admirer of Pininfarina. I really like those shapes - voluptuous, flowing.
CA:Would you have had to make major changes in the AMX/3 design to accommodate federal safety standards?
Teague:That's what killed the program. The bumper standards were just happening... and soft bumpers were being tested on taxicabs in New York by GM at about this time. The technology really wasn't there to put soft bumpers on the AMX/3 though Pantera made an effort to meet the standards and it did. But it kind of spoiled the front of that car. We just decided the effort involved in all these forthcoming standards... was just too much [on top of] the hassle of trying to get a bodybuilder that could make it at a price that we could sell it for that would be realistic. So all of those things... added up to the program being shelved. But it was a very serious program for a very long time. We tried very hard to make it happen. And we built six prototypes, really. We had a lot of money in the program, not a lot by today's standards, but for a little company that was trying to make a mark it was, I think, a pretty good effort. At least all six of the cars survive.
These beautiful pictures
submitted by Jerry A. Beck II