When the Blue Oval launched the sporty Mustang in 1964, little did it know that it’d create a whole new segment of cars. By the end of the decade its rivals were scrambling to join the ‘pony car’ class and it wasn’t long before the roads were awash with potent Camaros, Challengers, ’Cudas and Firebirds.
AMC needed to get in on the act because up until then it was known for making safe and economic family cars, but this was the performance era — ‘safe’ and ‘economic’ cars were the last things baby boomers wanted. So, it joined the club first with the Javelin, a credible entry that received plenty of praise, and then followed it up with its trump card, the AMX. By shortening the Javelin’s wheelbase and introducing unique styling, the newbie was born. The spin-off was also blessed with a choice of high output V8s, the pick of the bunch being the 390 cubic inch (6.4-litre) motor with a four-barrel carburettor which made 315 horses and 576Nm of torque. It was mated to either a three-speed automatic or four-speed manual.
Strongly influenced by the American Motors eXperimental concept car of 1966, the AMX had the traditional sportscar proportions of a long bonnet and short deck and it was also the only American-built steel-bodied two-seater since the 1955 Thunderbird. It sure went a long way in changing AMC’s old staid image; this was a brand that the youth market was now flocking to. The “Go-Package” option proved very popular and included power assisted front disk brakes, “Twin-Grip” differential, red-stripe performance tyres on “Magnum 500” styled-steel wheels, heavy-duty suspension with thicker sway-bars and heavy-duty cooling.
AMC knew it was on to a winner and launched the car just five months after the Javelin hit the market. It was at the 1968 Daytona International Speedway where it made its debut and by hitting speeds of 210kph on the track it made just the impact the company had hoped.
Production lasted for only two years and in total just under 20,000 units were built making finding one today a tough task. If you get lucky you’ll have to part from Dh150,000 to Dh250,000 for one.