AMC stands out as a car maker that produced some very ambitious designs, despite having to compete in the same arena as the Big Three of Detroit. During their ownership of Jeep they created the Cherokee, turned the CJ-7 into the Wrangler, and used their ownership of Jeep to create the first joint US-China auto manufacturing venture. That was way back in 1984, when GM was barely getting it’s shit together with the Corvette. Thanks to said Jeep ownership, they were also able to create the AMC Eagle. Essentially a parts bin 4×4 passenger car, it pretty much defines the CUVs of today, while being infinitely more bad ass in the process.
As a side note, the AMC Eagle is on my short list of vehicles I must own. If you’ve never heard of them, I would suggest checking them out.
During the low point of automobile history, they were responsible for stylish, interesting cars like the Pacer, Spirit and Gremlin. I know by today’s standards they’re pug-ugly, but they all look a hell of a lot better than a Mustang II.
To get us to the car featured in the article, we have to travel even a little further back. 1969, the pinnacle of automotive style, power, and overall attitude for many years. Remember earlier when I said AMC was ambitious? This 1969 AMX is what I would define as a “Lifestyle” vehicle. A lifestyle of kicking ass and taking names. With it’s insanely short wheelbase, all-steel body panels, two-seat layout, V8-only engine options, it competed directly with Chevrolet’s Corvette while being almost nothing like it, and much more affordable. I don’t think it gets any more ambitious than that in 1969.
If only given a passing glance, it comes off as a very sporty Nova, but if you really give it a long look, there’s many styling cues that will foreshadow a shift in car design that’s about a decade a way. Society would still have to slog through the opera windows, padded vinyl tops and big body, small passenger compartment designs of the next decade.
The AMX ran for three model years, 1968-1970. Personally, I think the 68-69’s have the best looks, I really like how the headlights stand on their own outside of the grille.
AMC obviously didn’t leave a lasting mark in mainstream culture with any of their vehicles, but cars like this AMX prove that they made competitive vehicles that had an identity all their own that really have a lasting cult status on the thinking man’s gear head.