Sometimes when I mention my affection for American Motors and Ramblers I get a chuckles. “That’s the company that made the Pacer and the Gremlin, right?” they say. Well…..yes but those were just a few of the innovations AMC had in it’s history. Actually AMC had a massive impact on the auto industry in general. Facing GM, Ford, and Chrysler though out their 33 year history, AMC had to continually innovate to survive. One of their biggest innovations was using outside suppliers for components for its cars while the Big Three completely build their cars in-house. Another was their invention and first use of unibody construction. Continue reading Promo model: 1960 AMC Unibody
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Promo models: AMC AMX’s
This is by far my most favorite car AMC ever made. If I had the cash, and good ones go for about 25 grand, I would go out and get one. Looks and power in a small package. I did own one, once, and it was a disaster for me. Hellbent on getting one of these, I found one for $2,500. That should have been my first clue of impending disaster. When I jambed the throttle, it pinned me to the seat, I laughed and the tires screamed! What a hoot. Then the engine blew up. A 390 which would not be easy to find. I found a 360 and actually tried to install it myself which would be about the same if I tried doing open heart surgery. I know where all the stuff is and what it does but was in way over my head. Continue reading Promo models: AMC AMX’s
Promo models: AMC Marlin
Have you ever wondered why a certain car didn’t meet expectations and became just a footnote? Such is the case for American Motors’s Marlin. This “Man Size Fastback” as AMC called it in ads was not the original concept. Designed by AMC’s famous designer Dick Teague chose the Rambler American chassis (106 inches) and created the Tarpon in 1964 hoping to fend off the soon to come Ford Mustang. Remember, Ford made the Mustang off the Falcon chassis. Continue reading Promo models: AMC Marlin
Promo model: AMC Pacer
I bet you’re laughing right now if you were around when it was built from 1975 and 1979. It was positioned by American Motors as “The first wide small car”. Also unique at the time, the passenger door was four inches (101 mm) longer than the driver’s. This made passenger loading easier, particularly from the rear seats. I had a 75 one, red with a white interior. I put a sunroof 0n it too and called mine “The Astrodome”. Continue reading Promo model: AMC Pacer
Promo model: 1960 Ford Thunderbird
Here’s a quick question and I bet only the T’bird geeks will get it. Geeks in a good way. The T’bird might not have happened at all. Henry Ford II came up with a 2-seat concept and it was called the Vega! Wonder what Chevy would have had to come up with a name for their Vega? Henry’s had meager power, European looks, and cost, so it never proceeded to production. The Thunderbird was similar in concept, but would be more American in style, more luxurious, and less sport-oriented and it became an instant hit. Although the Thunderbird had been considered a rousing success, Ford executives felt that the car’s position as a two-seater restricted its sales potential. The car was redesigned as a four-seater for 1958. Though retaining a design as a two-door hardtop coupe/convertible, the new Thunderbird was considerably larger than the previous generation, with a longer 113.0 inches (2,870 mm) wheelbase to accommodate the new back seat. Continue reading Promo model: 1960 Ford Thunderbird
Diecast cars: Autoart’s Stealth LeMans winning Mazda
Diecast Car: Autoart’s Stealth LeMans winning Mazda a stunner
Reviewed by Mark Savage
The 24 Hours of LeMans is just behind the Indianapolis 500 in longevity, notoriety and importance in the racing world. Long a bastion of success for European sports car makers, the likes of Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, Peugeot and Ferrari, the 1991 race will always be remembered as the year a Japanese make, Mazda, finally won the title. After 13 years of trying, Mazda won with its beautiful rotary-engine powered 787B. The winning drivers were Johnny Herbert, Bertrand Gachot and Volker Weidler, all former Formula 1 drivers. Continue reading Diecast cars: Autoart’s Stealth LeMans winning Mazda
Promo models: 1970 AMC Javelin
American Motors had a hit on its hands with their Javelin. Introduced in 1968 as AMC’s answer to the Mustang and Camer0. In 1970 they made some design changes to take advantage of the 390 V8 they offered as an option. This was at the height of the pony car wars and performance was king. They even signed up Roger Penske and Mark Donahue to campaign one in the Trams-Am racing series.
To capitalize on the car’s success on the race track, AMC offered a Mark Donahue package which included a spoiler with Donahue’s signature on it, the 390 engine and, the air intake on the hood. Javelins with this option in good shape command around $20-25,000 mostly because there were only about 2,500 of them manufactured.
The promo models are also well sought after. Continue reading Promo models: 1970 AMC Javelin
Promo models: Chrysler Turbine
The Chrysler Turbine Car was the first and only consumer test ever conducted of gas turbine-powered cars. Of the total 55 units built consisting of 5 prototypes and 50 production cars given to one person in every state to use for three months. Produced from 1962-1964, the bodies were made by Ghia in Turin, Italy, with final assembly taking place in a small plant in Detroit, MI.
Growing up in Milwaukee, WI. I saw one of these out and must have followed it for miles. Not only a very cool looking car but that sound. Most were scrapped at the end of a trial period, with only nine remaining in museums and private collections like this one owned by Jay Leno. Though Chrysler’s turbine engine project was terminated in 1977, the Turbine Car was the high point of a three decade project to perfect the engine for practical use. Continue reading Promo models: Chrysler Turbine