My one shot at a collector car
Came in 1987 while living in Green Bay. I always kept an eye out in the papers, this was before that interweb thing got big, looking for, well, I wasn’t sure. Then, bingo, a 1970 AMX was for sale in Milwaukee similar to the image of this model I built to remind myself about the experience. I had to have it. Never mind I hadn’t even seen it yet. They seller didn’t want too much for it, $2,500, which should have been a red flag, but I was laser focused. I needed fast cash since I didn’t have that much saved up and this was an impulse purchase so I went to my local bank where I held a savings and checking account to the get loan. Faster than a speeding bullet, I had the cash, and walked out not having to even fill out the paperwork. Oh did I mention that I was doing sports on WLUK-TV11 at the time and good friends with the branch manager? I mean, it’s not like I could just disappear, right? Hopped on the hound to Milwaukee where my dad picked me up and dropped me off and the seller’s house in South Milwaukee. Nope, not even a chance that it’s not the car I was looking for so I paid the seller and drove off with the car of my dreams.
Why a 1970 AMX
Because this was the Hellcat of the day produced by American Motors, which is where dad worked for 27 years at the National Parts Distribution Center in Milwaukee. The AMX was a home run for AMC because it showed the world that they could manufacture performance cars and shed the economy car image. Introduced in 1968 it was really a Javelin with the back seats missing and a shortened wheelbase, about an inch shorter than the Corvette. It was also the first steel body two-seater build since the 1955-57 Thunderbirds. With its 315 hp 390 the car had blistering performance, this is the part I like. Car and Driver magazine tests in 1968 had it going 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 16.3 seconds, on the drag strip quarter-mile acceleration said in 14.8 seconds it hit 95 mph, and it had a top speed of 122 mph. The ’70 was the last year for the two-seat version and the rarest with just 4,116 models produced. Each car had a plaque on the dash with the number showing where if fell in the run. I think mine was around 2,500. There was a 1971 AMX prototype built off the newly designed Javelin but it never saw production. It actually lives not too far from me and is on my list of cars to visit.
It was fun while it lasted
I ended up selling mine because while driving back to Green Bay, the engine blew up. I was able to find a 360 V8 and installed it and still had the 390 block. The buyer who came up from Ohio paid me $1,500 for the car and showed me what I had missed like the hole in the floorboard and bondo on the sail panels. It was a $1,000 lesson in how not to buy a car. Years later I saw it on a trailer at the American Motors Owners Association gathering in Kenosha. It appeared that not much had been done with it. Then I see it again, or mostly likely again. Pretty sure it was mine because it had bounced around buyers in Ohio. Just recently what I think was mine turns up on eBay.
It’s the same green with the shadow mask hood and has what could be the 360 I installed. The years have not been kind to this AMX. The trunk lid looks as if it was taken from a Javelin. Look at the rust now on the inner sail panels and on the passenger door. The interior has taken quite a beating. When I sold the car the interior was the best part of the car. This is way worse than when I had it. Actually, if I knew then what I know now, I might have had a shot at restoring the old girl. The AMX found a buyer and it went for $5,200. AMX values for the 1970 model have increased quite a bit over the years. According to NADA (National Automotive Dealers Association), the average retail price is around $41,000 with the best models going for just over $53,000. Good luck on the project buddy and hopefully the next time I see it, the AMX will look new.