I love American Motors’ products. Part of my sickness comes from my dad working for the company. Sure they had the clunkers but also had some cool cars. Dad brought home tons of stuff and now it’s time to thin things out a bit.
My collection includes full-line catalogues mostly from the 70’s and 80’s. Dad would bring them home, I’d page through them and throw them in a box. I even have some super-rare Press Kits.
My promo model collects has a little bit of everything. What I’m offering up are a couple of Javelins, AMX’s, and an Ambassador still with the hood ornament on it. Rare. So check out this micro site I put up and then let’s talk.
I daydream a lot about “if money was no object” and I had a place to store them (like Jay Leno’s Garage) what five cars would I own. Of course I’d want more but in this blog entry decided to stick with five. So here you go.
I admit this is an emotional pick because I had one of these. It was my first entry into restoring cars and turned out to be a disaster. The engine blew up on me, there were holes in the floor pan and the back sail panels were mostly Bondo. I call it my $1,500 lesson. Ouch. But more on the car.
The AMX was built by American Motors from 1968-1970. Since it was a two-seater the only other car like it was the Corvette. This was one of AMC’s entries in the muscle car era although also classified sports car and touring car. It was available with a massive 390 V8 and one version pumped out and incredible 420 hp! I picked this year because I had one and it was the last and was built in small numbers, around 2,000 making it the most collectible of the AMX’s. A really good one right now would go for around 25 grand.
1963 split-window Corvette
I love all Corvettes so it was tough to narrow it down to just one. I picked the ’63 because these are rare finds now since they only made them that one year. Legend has it that Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Bill Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. In the end Duntov won out and it was gone the next year. This was also the first year when they began designating them Sting Rays. According to Hagerty’s price guide, a split-window Z06 (big tank) with the 327cid/360hp F1 L84 will dent you for $335,000. But wait, money is no object, right?
1969 Camero SS
This was the last year of the first-generation Cameros. Remember, Ford had already beaten Chevy to the gun with the Mustang. Chrysler and AMC also fielded entries. I picked the SS version because of the power option, an 8-cyl. 396cid/375hp 4bbl L89. Wheeee, that’s a lot of juice under the hood. Parts for 1967-69 Camaros are limited only by the restorer’s checkbook. But then again, who cares in this case. The one I would have is currently valued at 107 grand. This of course for your insurance.
1962-63 Studebaker Avanti
Studebaker positioned this as “America’s Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car!”. It sure was. Equiped with it’s 289 cid/240 hp V8, it was a screamer. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option and many of these Avantis went on to break Bonneville speed records. Twenty nine of them with the fastest with a Paxton almost 200 mph while a stock one 168 mph!
Maybe it’s because I like the underdogs I like this car but it’s bold new styling was not enough to save Studebaker as it shut down its South Bend, IN plant in 1963. I also like the rarity. The ’62 model had about 1,200 come off the line while the ’63 had slightly less than 4,600. With these low numbers I thought the Avanti would command a six figure price, instead found them around $20,000 (for insurance purposes) and the supercharged ones around $60,000.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider
I struggled for the last spot for a while because there are lots of cars I would have, if I could. This time I decided to hit it out of the park with one of the rarest of the rare Ferraris, a 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider, one of only ten made. This is not the same model that appeared in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That was a 250 GT California. Why this? It’s a Ferrari and just recently set an auction world-record for a non-race car going for…wait for it…$27.5 in Los Angeles this past August!
I know there are lots of more expensive cars I could have put on the list but these are the cars I had an a certain coolness factor. What is your top five car list? Let’s start the discussion.
No mater what car(s) you collect you probably belong to an owners group. It’s a great place for the owners to get together and show off their pride and joy, swap stories, or maybe event parts. But unless your group is located near where your car was built, you probably won’t run into many guys who worked at the factory or their dad did.
So for our followers, you already know I have a fondness for American Motors‘ cars, mostly because my dad worked there for over 27 years. So I go to this car show the other night and see some familiar cars, a couple of Ambassadors and a Hurst S/C Rambler. Of course I go up and talk to the owners and we eventually get talking how they came to collecting AMC cars. It’s because our dads worked there. Even though it was a long time ago, we start playing the game, hey did your dad know…..? But most important since every car has a story we spent most of our time on that. Check out the video. Hey, maybe your dad, or uncle, or mom worked there.
OK, not a classic and only cool in my eyes or any of the other AMC nuts that love the Pacer too. Oh yeah, they are out there. This looks to be about a 75 or 76. So here’s your Monday morning laugh. Have a great week.
How many times has it happened when you’re driving down the road, or coming out to your car in a mall parking lot, or see a car on TV or a movie and boom, you remember that you had a car, your first, just like that. Not your second or third but your FIRST. We all have a story and I have a good friend of mine, John Wingate, who Facebooked me an image of his first car, a 1962 Mercury Meteor like this one which he saw the other day. John said he purchased it when he was in 10th grade for $400 and until he received his license, he drove it in the driveway for a week or so. So what’s your story? Come on, nobody’s going to bust your chops here. I owned a bunch of AMC’s so I’ve already taken care of that.
Rebel with a cause
Well since I came up with the idea, I’ll start. My first car was a 1970 Rebel. I cashed in a bunch of savings bonds and went with my dad to get it at Jack Doyle Motors near Germantown, WI. If course that was not my first choice, what I really wanted was a ’73 Javelin but didn’t have the cash so I got the Rebel. It was a metallic brown, auto trans and 360 V8. It did move out. Had a huge front and back seat too. It was my baby and when a friend of mine told me somebody hit it and took off in a parking lot, I was hot. I found out who the kid was who had run home so I rang the front door bell. Kid said he was going to come back the next day and fess up. Ya sure. His parents were not real happy and paid for the repairs. Well eventually I started (mostly dad) put money into to keep in running and traded it in for a ’73 Gremlin. Remember dad worked at AMC plus I thought it was a cool looking car at the time. At the time I said.
I hate to see a car company go out of business, or car line dropped, especially being such a big AMC guy. Most likely the cars they produced utilized several innovations to separate them from their competition. The rear engine Chevy Corvair, Unibody Construction by American Motors, and Electroluminescent instrument panel lighting by Chrysler. Of course there are tons of others. One that Mercury utilized was the The Breezeway window in the mid 60’s. Mercury did this in an attempt to differentiate itself from the the Fords they were based on. The thought behind the concept was that a driver would open the vents in the dashboard then the back window and have fresh air flowing through the car. Because the roof was slanted, no rain would get in. Hmmm, I’m thinking air conditioning would have worked better here.
The concept got good reviews
The automotive trades liked the Breezeway. Motor Trend pointed out in a test of a Monterey Custom sedan for its March 1963 issue, “The window has three primary advantages, all equally valuable as far as we’re concerned. There is, of course, more head room for rear seat passengers than with the window sloped in the regular manner. The window’s roof overhang provides a generous sunshade for the rear seat. … Finally, the window opens, operated by a dash control, and is very handy as a ventilation aid.” Car Life liked it too. “About the styling of the current Mercurys, we can only say that the ‘notch-back’ rear window provides the best ventilation and rearward visibility we’ve yet found on a ’63 car,” it said, but added, “It does make the rear-end appear abnormally long.”
But then they kind of mucked it up.
It did differentiate the Mercury line from the Fords but then for the 1963 model year Mercury added a more conventional-looking Marauder hardtop to the line, sharing the sleek “slantback” roof of the 1963-1/2 big Fords. The slantback roof had been introduced for the benefit of Ford’s NASCAR racers, and its appearance on the Marauder was intended to support Mercury’s own return to racing in 1963. I remember Parnelli Jones driving one at the Milwaukee Mile. Yawn…Mercury buyers weren’t blown away by the looks of the Breezeway, and Mercury’s total 1963 sales were down nearly 40,000 units from 1962; the compact and mid-size lines outsold the big Breezeway cars by a significant margin. Sales were little better the face-lifted ’64s, which deleted the four-door hardtop Breezeway in favor of a four-door version of the Marauder hardtop. Business rallied a bit for ’65 and ’66, but model-for-model sales of the full-size cars were depressing; only the four-door sedans broke into the five-figure range. Off into the sunset the Breezeway went.
A tough car to find now
On my search for Breezeway now I found the pickings slim but not expensive, mostly around 8 grand, but these would essentially be project cars and not show cars. Not that they couldn’t be and if you’re looking for that, there are some good deals. Good examples of the promotional model cars are also hard to find but of course a lot easier on the finances although not cheap. You can find plenty of restoration projects for well under $100 on the action sites and if you’re good at modeling, they would be pretty easy to fix up and maybe even take it to the next level like in this previous post.
But for you who want the car, maybe just one like you owned, or are that collector looking for that one last color be prepared to pay around 300 bucks and up. Going to one of my favorite places to shop for cars (please don’t tell my wife) is Wheat’s Nostalgia. Joe has a couple of cars up for sale. This 1964 above is one of the best examples around. Graded a 10 out of 10, just like it left the factory. Besides having the box, this one has no scratches (tough to find) no warping, chrome and class are outstanding. While your dad may have given you one like this back in 1964 and maybe paid 2 bucks for it, this one is going for $610. Think about it, 2 bucks in ’64 and 610 now. Not too bad. Joe also has (or had) a couple of other Breezeways, also 1964’s. This white one is a 9. Most collectors would be quite satisfied with a model which has this grading as it is near mint. A “9” might have some rather minor chrome rubs, re-plated original chrome, or possibly a tiny paint imperfection but nothing broken or missing. $525 and it’s yours to take home. This black one, again a hardtop, went for $315. Finding one in black is difficult. I really like the look of the 2-door hardtops. So if you’re in search for another project, there are plenty of them on eBay. No worries because there are tons of resources to help you out and you will see in the links below. If you’re stuck, shoot me the question and I’ll do my best to connect you with the people who can help make your project a perfect 10.
Usually when I get ready to make a new blog post on a promo model I have seen it for sale at some auction site but this time I took a bit of a different run at it. I tried to find the car first. In this case a 1948 Hudson Hornet. Why that? Sure its part of the American Motors family tree but why not? I had never seen one so it was time to hit the trail.
For anybody reading this blog over the age of 60, this will be one of those articles where you might say, Yup, I remember that.”, for those of us who are under that it will be a history lesson and for those who are really under that, like my 14 year old daughter, you saw some of this in Disney’s Cars movie where a Hudson Hornet (a ’51) played a prominent role.
The Hudson was created with the idea to offer improved transportation at a reasonable cost, well duh! Hudson was successful almost from the start in serving the upper middle-class motorists of the day. Up to the start of World War II, it was one of the more successful independent car makers. Unlike most of the pioneer automakers, the Hudson wasn’t named for the man who created the car, but for the man who financed it, Joseph Hudson, owner of a giant department store. The real deal fully restored will go for around $40,000 but good luck finding one or an owner who wants to part with it. Continue reading Promo model: 1948 Hudson Hornet→