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1971 AMX: Kenosha Rocket!


While we see a lot of Camaro and Mustang finds, it’s rare that we see any American Motors finds, let alone a largely original AMX from 1971. No, the paint isn’t original; I’m not sure that they were that shiny when they left Kenosha in the first place! This AMX has been hiding out in Madrid, New York and is offered for sale here on eBay, with a pretty aggressive starting bid of $10,000. 


I remember being impressed at the time that this was the largest ducktail rear spoiler I had ever seen. I still don’t remember a larger one offered by a mainstream manufacturer. Since I happen to like them, that was always a plus in my book. My research for this post showed that no less than Mark Donohue tested the spoiler and he and Team Penske decided that it added at least 100 pounds of downforce to the rear end of the car at speed. I still have a slot car patterned after this car, even down to the color scheme. The exterior certainly looks nice and reflects what looks to be a quality respray. That being said, it’s hard to tell anything from pictures and I’d certainly recommend having someone look the car over in person before bidding if you can. And yes, I’d try to find a set of the AMC rally wheels as soon as possible.


All that black is factory, although the hood pins aren’t. I can’t say I’m a fan as they break up the combination of curvy and straight lines. The rear spoiler designer evidently did the front one as well! Although the AMX lost it’s shorter wheelbase than the Javelin for 1970, it still offered a somewhat different package than the Javelin. That hood is fiberglass for weight reduction, by the way.


Unfortunately, the underbody is not as solid as the exterior. There are some holes in the floor/rocker panel interface here that are going to have to be taken care of quickly. I think you can still patch these locally, but it’s hard to tell without seeing it in person.


We don’t get to see a lot of the interior in the pictures that are included in the auction, but from what we can see it looks pretty good. The seller tells us that they are the third owner, with the first two being brothers. It’s an automatic, and I’m pretty sure those door speakers didn’t come as original equipment, but I’m not sure I’d let those two things stop me from enjoying the car. We don’t know anything about the current paintwork, but the overspray on the VIN tag in the auction pictures at least let us know that it was repainted.


The 401 V8 certainly looks original, and that makes this one of only 745 AMXs produced with this engine. I’m hoping the 89,608 miles weren’t too hard on the car, although I wonder already why the carburetor had to be replaced with an aftermarket one! With a hot combination like this, you wonder if the majority were put on 1/4 mile at a time! Do you think it’s worth $10,000?


  1. MH

    It’s for sure worth 10K or more. Very few of these still left. What a beautiful car with very aggressive styling. I would love to have one!

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  2. Chad-O

    Had a buddy in high school that had one exactly like this. It was crazy fast and felt more wild to ride in that my other friends Mach 1. (could have been the driver too) It’s gotta be worth more than 10K when you see what the other classics form this era bring. And the Javelin is every bit the big muscle of the time. Looking at this brought back a lot of memories. Still love the split vinyl top too..cool find!

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  3. dj

    A quick search shows this price to be great compared to the other “fixer uppers”. I really like the heater hose shut off valve. Gives it that extra something under the hood. lol

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    • Rob

      Nice AMX.
      I knew an old butler named “LeFleur” when I was a kid who had a red ’71 401AMX. His was loaded, even with the factory CB, shadow mask, and, I think, the Pierre Cardin interior. That heater shut off valve should have been factory on all cars, or one like the Ford vacuum activated unit on their AC cars. Otherwise, you were constantly killed by the fact hot water was constantly being pumped through the heater core. Truly a “hot” car lol.

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      • AMCSTEVE

        No shadow mask or Pierre Cardin in 71. My 71. My 71 that was featured on here on barnfinds is for sale.

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  4. Rick

    One of my all time favorite body styles. I’d almost bite on this, but the rust has me skittish. It’s been resprayed, so there is likely heavy rust everywhere else. Rear bumper has been popped, I reckon aftermarkets are available.

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    • AMX Brian

      They make the repop inner and outer quarters and rockers. I had to do both on my 71 Quicksilver AMX. Plus they just started making the repopped rear bumpers.

      Also the door speakers aren’t factory. Some later years did have the panels for them with slots cut for the speaker to mount behind the panel, but none of my cars had them.

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  5. Howard A Member

    This right here, was as good as it got for AMC. 1st year for the restyle, and by far, the nicest looking of all the pony cars. There may have been issues with build quality, AMC was already starting to slip in the early 70’s, but I feel, this was the nicest car AMC ever put out. It had everything ( including the nasty right side blind spot inherent to all fastbacks). Just amazed they didn’t sell more. Rare indeed. At shows, there’s lot’s of 1st gen. Javelin’s, but not many of these, like Rick sez, they rusted pretty quick. Great find.

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  6. PaulG

    This is a great find, and after a PPI, would be worth the current asking price. The ram air option is rare on these.
    Several years back I bought a red 74 Javelin AMX w/ 304, 4 speed, and factory A/C. Arizona car all it’s life. Another one that got away…

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  7. Car Guy

    Aaagggh, it’s the “picture straightener” in me. The two hood pins were not drilled into the hood at the same distance from the center stripe. Thing like this drive me nuts…… Still a cool body style after all these years.

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    This is a clone of my first car that i had in 79. My car had corduroy interior but thats my car! This car is 20k all day 40-58 without tthe rust

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    Thats an A/C car but no compressor. Hood pins are in a location that don’t connect to anything so they don’t even work???
    401 badge should be on the front fender and I can’t tell if the cowl hood is functional in that shot, why would he not include it? So it’s prolly not. And Jamie these came with Machine wheels not rally’s.

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    • Jack

      The dual snorkel air cleaner in 1971 is rare

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    I am just getting to like this body style. My dad bought a new Javelin in 68, my brother bought a new AMX in 69. So I am partial to that body style, but as I said, this one is growing on me finally.
    I too think the price is fair, depending on closer inspection. Nice car.

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  11. wuzjeepnowsaab

    The 401 and 727 mate-up is worth 20% of the 10K opening…Camelhump fenders aren’t my favorite body style but the older I get the more they grow on me. Dang nostalgia ;)

    That rust looks very ‘solve-able’ and the rest of the car is really clean (from a computer monitor away). I think given what the same vintage Big 3 are pulling in value, this AMC muscle is very cheap even at twice the price. Maybe not with a 360 but certainly with the 401

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      No 727 in 771.Borg Warner slushbox

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  12. Tirefriar

    wow, that rust in the floor/rockers is not as as easy as it looks if to be done right. Having owned a number of Alfas I can say with certainty that I’d rather rebuild an engine than repair rusty rockers. Rocker panels usually consist of layered structural reinforcements, that if rated, need to be cut out and properly replaced. No Mickey mousing here or you will create a lot of chassis flex.

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  13. AMCFAN

    The rust is typical for a Javelin. It is pictured in the inner rocker panel. Expect the other side to match. Although looks minimal my guess you will see more. $10K opening price seems fair at the moment. Much more I would want to hand deliver the cashiers check only after I looked the car in person.

    Keep in mind If to take it to the next level you would need to fix the rust. Hopefully it is only just in the rockers. It could also be in the front troughs (reach under the front fenders and squeeze you will know right away) or in the trunk seams. Front or rear rails.

    Issues I can see are the door panels being drilled with aftermarket speakers.Hopefully the dash isn’t sawed up for that 80’s cassette deck. To remove those incorrect hood pins will need paint work. Hopefully the interior/suspension/brakes/mechanical doesn’t need updates as well.

    BTW Those premium Rebel Machine wheels someone mentioned will set you back about $4000 for a very nice set and that is minus tires.

    Owning an American Motors Javelin can be a great experience that will far outweigh any Brand X. If you buy the right car.

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  14. William H

    AMX and Javelin are probably the only two muscle cars I haven’t owned in all my years of buying and fixing up cars. Always loved the bodies, just never could find one to buy. There’s a green ’71 (i think) running around town that looks pretty original, ragged out, but original. I haven’t happened to be in the same place at the same time to talk to the owner but will make a point to do so if I see him at one of the local stores. I like the ’70’s bodies better but certainly wouldn’t balk at ’68 of either body style. It’s really a shame that AMC didn’t make it as they had some well thought out cars. Some may not have been so pretty but they were tanks. Who knows, if they’d been able to hold out a while longer they may have been able to get in on the bail outs back in the day..

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  15. Brian

    The change of carb is common. The ’71 through ’74 cars ran a Motorcraft 4300 4 barrel emissions carb. They have a weak top and often develop leaks after 45 years. That’s why they get replaced often.

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  16. AMCFAN

    American Motors most likely could have survived if only making the Jeep. The very direction Fiat SPA seems to be slowly gravitating toward as their current offerings continue to age. Can’t survive on the Challenger forever. The original was only one body style. Charger itself is over 10 years old. Police cars won’t keep you in business for long or by adding fascia or bumping horsepower. The 200 and the Dart/Fiat are already on the chopping block. If history tells us anything about Fiat involvement with anything anywhere other then in their homeland is not a good thing. Trying to merge with GM earlier this year would be a good indicator of trouble on the horizon.

    AMC wasn’t for sale when Chrysler first tried to buy them. The consensus is that AMC was in financial trouble and reason for the sale. Which is no where close to the truth. AMC had design teams who had mastered survival. In fact many of the practices they implemented are being studied still today.

    AMC was making money and had new product The restyled Wrangler was taking off. The Eagle Summit (which was used by Chrysler for the famous Cab Forward LH platform series, one of the finest riding/handeling front wheel drive cars) The 1993 Grand Cherokee was in design stage a go (all Chrysler had to do was put their name on it and did) Renault planed to take the Jeep brand global like FSPA is doing now.

    If it wasn’t for the unexpected murder of the Director CEO of Renault Georges Bessie of who in no way wanted to sell and refused attempts by Chrysler. Was gunned down by a masked assailant riding by on a bike. He fell to the sidewalk in front of his house. Before the blood had dried the papers were being drawn up. Very sad.

    Lee Iaccoca -“If you can find a better built car company Buy them!” :)

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  17. Rick

    It would have been so easy to take a rag with some lacquer thinner on it and wipe off the overspray on that tag on the door.

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    As on all the 3 71 AMX CARS I’ve owned, you can keep the machine wheels. All mine including my current one has Cragers.

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  19. AMCFAN

    Adding aftermarket wheels is always an option that many have done. No harm to personalize. But a correct restoration or well represented original car should have the oem wheels if only home in the garage.

    The Javelin for 1971 had several types of wheels to choose from. Steelies/hubcaps, Magnums and of coarse the 15X7 Road Wheels AKA Machine wheels. These were and are a premium wheel. Standard equipment on the 1970 Rebel Machine and an option on the 1970 Javelin and AMX which few ordered. They were brought back as an option for 1971 some assume to use up left over stock. Very hard to find today. A unique feature is the non removable trim or beauty ring. Many tire shops back in the day removed them anyway ruining them. If left on especially in the rust belt areas would collect salt and moisture would rust out the rim causing them to leak air.

    Nonetheless like them or not they are rare and add value. When looking at a car with aftermarket wheels just ask the seller if he has the originals. You might hit the jackpot.

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    Go see the wackos at Collier Motors in N. Carolina. When American Pickers did there show there were stacks of machine wheels. Those crazy idiots are sitting on a goldmine.

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