Tag Archives: Richard Teague

Chasing Classic Cars: Not your father’s Pacer

The Racer Pacer

amc pacer, american motors, cab-forward designI had never heard of this before my dad gave me a book to read “The Cars of American Motors”, by Marc Cranswick, McFarland Publishing. The “this” were not the Pacers that rolled off the assembly line in Kenosha, WI. I had one, just like this, a 1975 with a 258. My buddies and I tailgate with this at Milwaukee Brewer games and made a trip to Cleveland in it to visit a friend going to John Carroll University. Side note: Bob Hope was the commencement speaker. What fun. Named it the Astrodome or Astro for short. Later I sold it to my buddy who went to school in Cleveland after he graduated. Sorry Joe but it was good when I had it. The AMC Pacer was built between 1975 and 1980 and was the first modern mass-produced, U.S. automobile design using the cab forward concept. AMC marketed it as “the first wide small car.” Later in the production run a 304 V8 was an option.

Enter Carl Green Enterprises (CGE) who took the Pacers which came with the 304 and dropped in AMC’s 401 along with some other mods. Swapping out engines was no big deal because the blocks were the same size. Here is where the magic started. Green loved the Pacer because its design was a breath of fresh air Continue reading Chasing Classic Cars: Not your father’s Pacer

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Chasing Classic Cars: One-of-a-kinds

Rare cars that pop up from time to time

AMC Project IV cars, one of a kind cars, chasing classic carsone-of-a-kind concept cars, chasing classic cars, amc, amxHave 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.

Richard Teague: Styling Genius

AMX/3, amx, american motors, concept cars amx/3, amx, american motors, concept carsSales 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

1971 amx, amx, american motors, concept carsRichard 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

chrysler-turbineHere’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

Concept cars have a long history

RM AuctionsNow 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.

RM Auctions1955-Lincoln-Indianapolis-design-study

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.

Promo model: 63 Rambler Classic

English: 1963 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wago...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though I was only 9 in 1963…there, I blew the cover on my age, I still remember a lot about that year, the Kennedy assassination for sure. The Beatle’s U.S. TV concert, Route 66, and we had just moved from Madison to Milwaukee when dad got a job at….wait for it…American Motors. And to think he almost took the job at the chicken factory. It was also the year we had traded our 58 Rambler for the 63. It was white with a red interior. I’ve been looking for a promo car like that for a long time.

The 1963 Classic was the first all-new cars developed by AMC since 1956. Keeping the philosophy of the company,  they were more compact – shorter and narrower by one inch, as well as over two inches lower than the preceding models. Even though they were smaller, they lost none of their “family-sized” passenger room or luggage capacity featuring a longer 112-inch wheelbase. Now does that sound familiar today in cars?

Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerFor the 1963 model year, the Rambler Classic line was completely redesigned with subtle body sculpturing. Outgoing design director, Edmund E. Anderson, shaped the Classic that was named Motor Trend magazine’s 1963 “Car of the Year.” These were also the first AMC models that were influenced by Richard A. Teague, the company’s new principal designer.

Throughout its life in the AMC model line-up, the Classic was the high-volume seller for the independent automaker. In 1963 mostly because of that car, many times the company was listed by some as part of the Big 4, outselling other brands such as Buick, Dodge, Mercury Chrysler, and Cadillac.

So here’s my 63 Rambler. Dad might have brought some home but most likely they were victims of car bombs Savageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital managerSavageonwheels.com, promotional model cars, promo model cars, American Motors, AMC, Paul Daniel creative digital manager(firecrackers) or car fires, or ???? I bought this one at a car show. Not sure how much I paid for it but it wasn’t a lot. Maybe $50-$70. All the parts are on this one. There is some minor warping on the right front quarter panel and the bumpers could probably need a re-chroming but otherwise in pretty good shape. I’m still looking for the white body, red interior one. If you’re not an AMC geek like me it could be for an entire Car of the Year collection. Good luck on finding the other AMC COTY in a promo model. It was the Renault Alliance.