401/4-Speed: 1970 AMC AMX

If you walked out of your house with a wallet full of cash in 1970, intent on driving home in an American two-seat high-performance vehicle, you faced two choices. One was Chevrolet’s C3 Corvette, while the other was the AMC AMX. The Corvette possessed greater performance potential but came at a significantly higher cost. Despite the price advantage, AMX sales were barely 25% of the figures achieved by the Corvette. The AMX spent years largely forgotten in the classic market, but prices are now rising above the market average. Our feature AMX presents well, and the seller indicates it would take little time or effort to lift it into show car territory. It is listed here on eBay in Riverside, Rhode Island. Bidding sits at $20,700, which is below the reserve.

The initial impression made by this AMX is positive, with its Hialeah Yellow paint showing consistency and shining nicely. The seller indicates a previous owner performed restoration work, but some spots require a rework if the car is to present at its best. Issues are developing in both rear quarter panels that look like they might involve deteriorating Bondo. The problem may prove insignificant, but it raises enough doubts to justify an in-person inspection. The seller refreshed the paint in the door and trunk frames but says the engine bay deserves similar attention to present at its best. The black-out treatment on the hood is fresh, and the Magnum 500 wheels look like a recent addition. The chrome and glass look nice, and the overall presentation of this classic seems to support the seller’s claim that it needs little to lift its appearance into show car territory.

AMC produced 4,116 examples of the AMX in 1970, and our feature car is 1-of-1,632 equipped with a 390/4-speed drivetrain combination. Its original owner also selected a Twin Grip rear end, the Go Pack, power steering, and power brakes. That V8 would have produced 325hp, allowing the car to storm the ¼-mile in 14.2 seconds. I would love to tell you this beauty is number-smatching, but that isn’t the case. The previous owner replaced the original 390 with a “built” 401. Its specifications are unclear, but an unmodified version delivered 330hp in the 1971 Javelin AMX. That is a reasonable figure from which to work, suggesting this car should offer measurable performance gains. The seller recently replaced the clutch, plugs, the plug wires, and rebuilt the carburetor. They say the engine fires at the first turn of the key and that it runs and drives exceptionally well. It is ready to provide a new owner with immediate classic motoring pleasure.

One aspect of this AMX needing nothing is its interior. It features a new headliner, a new dash pad, and new sail panels. The houndstooth cloth and vinyl upholstery show no wear or damage, while the same is true of the carpet and faux woodgrain trim. There is no crumbling plastic and no visible aftermarket additions. The new owner won’t be overwhelmed by luxury appointments, although the sports gauge cluster, factory tachometer, and AM/FM radio are all welcome.

The 1970 AMX deserved to be a greater sales success than the figures show. The sticker price for a 390-equipped vehicle was nearly 35% lower than a Corvette, and you needed to spend an additional $148.00 on the L46 engine for the ‘Vette to show the AMX a clean pair of heels. Values spent years in the doldrums, but these cars are now receiving due recognition in the classic market. Prices have climbed by more than 20% in the last couple of years, and that trend shows no sign of slowing. They remain affordable, but those increases raise the specter of them becoming beyond the reach of the average enthusiast in the future. Our feature car isn’t 100% original and has a few needs, but there is still potential for the bidding to climb well beyond $30,000 before the hammer falls. Is that thought enough to tempt you to pursue it further as a long-term investment? If so, I wish you luck in your bidding.


  1. That AMC guy

    Nice car! The 1970 model finally dropped the ancient trunnion front suspension in favor of full ball joints. This one also has (going by the master cylinder) front disc brakes and electric windshield wipers.

    Note that there is no such thing as a “numbers matching” AMC beyond the VIN coding matching the way the car is equipped.

    Like 15
    • Boycorp Member

      I thought all 1970 AMX’s had electric wipers? 68/69 typically had the vacuum style. Also, I don’t think those are original optioned seats.

  2. mike

    Very nice example of an undervalued AMC.Hope it sells well.

    Like 11
  3. Jack in RI

    I live about 20 minutes from this. If somebody wants some REAL eyes to check this out, I will do it for free. Looks like a very nice AMX, I love AMX’s!

    Like 10
  4. Bunky

    Awesome car! I know from personal experience that a well-tuned 401 can really haul the mail! Especially in a light car like this. Friend in H.S. had a Hornet S/C 360, with a 401 police interceptor/4 speed. He couldn’t keep it in his lane when he dropped the hammer. Eventually, no one would race him.
    Fun fact:AMC came out with a new V8 engine lineup for ‘68. 290, 304, 343, 360, 390, and 401. All used the same block, different bore and internals.

    Like 2
    • Jay McCarthy

      They took a page from the Pontiac playbook

      Like 1
  5. Joe

    Nice car for sure, a friend had a beauty back in the day, Metallic green w/white side stripe 360 engine, 4 speed, PS, standard drum brakes, factory AC…..I believe the rear was 3:55 posi. We added a Holley 600 cfm carb in place of the stock one. That car ran strong for what it was. I’d be very cautious of this one, when I read bondi issues in the quarters possibly…….new quarters & paint match could be a real let down & expense……real nice car otherwise…..

    Like 1
  6. Howie

    What a sweet ride, not crazy over the color.

    Like 1
  7. BrianT BrianT Member

    I like AMCs and this is right up there with the best. Great car.

    Like 5
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      What BrianT said.

      Like 1
  8. JLHudson

    It appears that the exhaust manifolds are stock. This suggests that the motor is, if “built”, a moderate performance effort.

    Like 2
  9. Russell Martilla

    $149 in 1971 was $1044 in 2022 dollars so it wasn’t that cheap an option

    Like 2
  10. Chris In Australia

    If you want a really rare AMX, there’s the survivors of the 20 odd RHD AMXs that were assembled in Australia.
    One of those would get some car show attention.

    Like 2
  11. JLHudson

    Electric wipers were part of the Visibility group. Many AMXs, including 1970 cars, had vacuum wipers. Curiously, some info suggests that Rambler Americans with a V8 had electric wipers, but not washers, as mandatory equipment.

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $25,000.

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