Rare cars that pop up from time to time
Have you ever seen a car, in person, and it was the only one made? When I was a kid my dad would take me to the Chicago Auto Show. He got the tickets when he worked at American Motors and that was our first stop. There I saw their Project IV cars developed in 1966 for consumer research. Of the four only one still exists, the AMX. It’s an amazing story of how it survived. A factory worker ran into AMC’s then president William Luneburg and simply asked for it. Read this amazing story from Hemmings Classic Car by clicking here.
Sales of the AMX were not quite what AMC execs were hoping for but one of the legends of automotive styling was busy designing the next generation of the AMX, the AMX/3, Richard Teague. The body mold was sent to Italian GT maker Giotto Bizzarrini, whose Turin facility hand-made drivable mid-engined, steel bodied cars. Built on a 105.3-inch wheelbase, the Bizzarrini prototypes used the AMC 390 cu in V8 and an Italian OTO Melara four-speed transaxle. Road testing went well and test drivers declared the AMX/3’s chassis one of the stiffest and most neutral handling they had ever tested. AMC had originally ordered 30 but only five were built and two know to be in existence. Read more about them here.
What the 1971 AMX could have looked like
Richard Teague wanted the two-seat version to continue and received permission to build one-off the redesigned Javelin but it never made it into production. Too bad. I have seen this car. It’s owned by long-time American Motors Owners Association member Mike Spangler. I found this article which gives the whole story.
Alternative fuel before it was in fashion
Here’s another one I saw, the Chrysler Turbine, as clear as it was just yesterday, at the intersection of 84th and Bluemound here in Milwaukee. First off, it looked cool, nothing else like it on the road, and sounded cool with the turbine humming. Chrysler build 55 of these cars from 62-64 in what was first and only consumer test ever conducted of gas turbine-powered cars. When the test was done all but a hand full were destroyed. Seems the legal guys get their underwear in a bundle about letting the public keep concept cars. The best-known car guy with tons of recognition is Jay Leno who owns a Chrysler Turbine and drives it. See more here in this Jay’s Garage video
Now here’s a really cool one this Lincoln Indianapolis (photo credit: RM Auctions) created in 1955 by Carrozzeria Boano, using the chassis and running gear from the 1955 Lincoln. The only time it was shown to the public as a new concept study was at the 1955 Turin Motor Show.
Last time seen just over a month ago at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it previously appeared back in 2001 and took home the first place for Postwar Custom Coachwork class. It at the 2005 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut, where it just about stole the show at a recent appearance at Pebble, one of its few public outings. Want it? Well, you’re too late because it was sold at auction for 1.5 million bucks.
The concept car list goes on
I’ve only scratched the surface on these rare cars. This blog entry could go on for a long time. I found some interesting pictures on this Pinterest Board. Cool “What If” cars.