Big Bad Oranges: 1969 AMC AMX Pair

1969-amc-amx-pair

In 1969, AMC was trying its hardest to compete with Ford and Chevrolet. The AMX was their answer to the Mustang and the Camaro, but it never achieved the same level of success as these two iconic cars. In an attempt to gain ground, AMC offered a number of options to attract new buyers. These two AMXs came with the Big Bad Orange option. AMC only built 285 in this pumpkin color and there aren’t many left on the road. The seller has listed both cars here on eBay as a package deal. Thanks goes to Jim S. for the tip!

1969-amc-amx-1

Both cars are in need of work, but this one is the nicer of the two. Its body looks to be solid, with minimal rust and much nicer paint. It will need work on the engine and interior though. The seller claims that the 390 V8 runs, but the brakes need to be rebuilt for it to be driven. Parts are readily available and easy to find, so rebuilding either car shouldn’t be too difficult. We would focus on getting this back on the road, so it can be enjoyed.

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The other AMX has a running motor, but the rest of the car is in rough shape. It would be sad to see it parted out, but if it has enough parts to help get the other one running, it might be worth it. We just wish one or both had come with the Go Package, as it would make them that much more fun to drive. Even without it, these are fun cars and while they aren’t as popular as the other pony cars, they are far more unique. Would you take on restoring both or just the one?

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Comments

  1. braktrcr

    68 is the first year for the Javelin and the AMX and they are incredible cars. My brother bought a new AMX in 69 when he came home from Viet Nam, and he was “The Terror of Colorado Blvd” second only to the little old lady from Pasadena. They handle great and put many cars to shame in stoplight to stoplight fun.

  2. seguin

    The AMX wasn’t their answer to the Camaro & Mustang. You’re thinking of the Javelin. The AMX was….well, it’s hard to say. It’s a two-seater muscle car.

    • David

      Yea, I think it was their answer to the Corvette.

      • Jesse Staff

        You may be right David. That does make more sense, but perhaps the AMX was in a category by itself?

      • John Newell

        Correct. AMC advertised the AMX as its answer to the Corvette. But it never was. It was in a class by itself and still is. So you’re right Jesse.

  3. scot

    ~ yes, the 4-place Javelin was a more direct competitor to Mustang, Camaro, Barracuda. Mark Donahue kicked their butts in TransAm racing.

    • Don Andreina

      I first heard about Donahue when someone told me to read ‘The Unfair Advantage.’ What a great book, even for someone as mechanically inept as I am. I think the javelin wins on looks with the coke bottle hip. Never seen an AMX in the flesh.

  4. jim s

    i always thought that AMC out smarted the BIG 3 by offering 2 different pony cars, the amx ,in short wheelbase 2 seater and the javelin. amc could not match the big 3 on total volume but because the AMX was such low volume the big 3 could not make the cost numbers work. i am not sure that how the corvette fits into this.

  5. Jim-Bob

    As far as the Go Pack is concerned, I believe the one without glass in it has it. The stripes were only factory installed on cars that came with it. Also included would have been heavy duty cooling and the Twin Grip diff (among other things). Oddly though, I don’t think they came with a rear sway bar as the 1979 Spirit AMX was the first small AMC to have one (if memory serves).

  6. Paul B

    The AMX was definitely in a class by itself, as a couple of others have written. It was a taut 2-seater American sports car well below the price of a Corvette. It was a modest success that should have been a runaway success. When you see one for real you understand how exciting it looks. All the reviews of the time talked about what a great handler it was along with its stellar straight-line performance. In short, it was cool, from the most un-cool of the American makers. It and the Javelin were AMC’s big attempt to rid itself of the once-valuable Rambler reputation, which had quickly and cruelly become the company’s biggest liability. As the kids of the 50s and early 60s grew up, they no more wanted to be seen in an AMC product than today’s young adults want to be near a minivan. AMC just didn’t have the money or the time to make the change work out. And then it blew its last big wad of money on the Pacer. Oops.

    • John Newell

      Well Paul, that’s a pretty abbreviated history. You left out the SC/Rambler, THE MACHINE, the SC/360, the Javelin AMX, the Pierre Cardin Javelin, the Levi Gremlins and the 401 Gremlins built in Arizona that to this day are the only cars ever sold from the show room floor capable of pulling a wheelie as it pulled off the dealer’s lot for the first time.

      AMC did put a lot of space between it and its stodgy image. But the Pacer’s technology wasn’t what finally did AMC in. Government technological requirements and emissions improvements that AMC couldn’t fund put them up for sale.

      The Pacer – a car I like even less than you do probably – was loaded with technology the rest of the automotive world wanted and soon copied after Chrysler bought AMC. Chrysler didn’t protect the AMC patents they acquired with the sale. They had the same sort of attitude towards AMC as you and many other people did. They didn’t know what they had.

      What they had was Jeep and insider access as to how to run an automotive manufacturing company on an efficient, tight ship basis. Everything else they squandered.

      You might not realize it but many of this century’s earliest cars were styled after either the Pacer, Gremlin or Hornet – around the world.

      When you stop to consider that AMC was a privately owned company and the last privately owned domestic auto maker of any size you realize after a little research that AMC made some remarkable products.

      For instance the car that holds the most land speed records is an AMX.

      Motor Trend and other magazines agreed that the Rebel Machine was one of the fifty best North American muscle cars of the last 50 years of the 20th century. Even today, it holds it’s own on the road in terms of power, handling, braking and comfort and cannot be beaten on price. As a quarter mile dragster with the Service Package installed, it was the fastest muscle car ever tested by the performance magazines. 12.73 in the quarter at 107 mph. Its times weren’t beaten until 1996 by a Viper with a much bigger engine and a lot more technology.

      The AMC Jeep/Eagle pioneered 4 wheel drive for domestic cars years ahead of anyone else.

      All of these cars were built with essentially the same parts. The V8 came in different sizes but the block from the 290 was the same block that was the 401. So no matter what AMC you bought, any available engine would fit in it without modification.

      In 1970 the Chevelle, the GTO Judge, Buick Stage I and GTX were all outselling the Rebel Machine which when similarly optioned could blow their doors off. When it came time to repair any of these cars – say a heater core, the GM products had to have the entire front clips removed to get at the offending parts. On a Rebel, you simply lifted the hood, drained the cooling system, took out a few screws, installed a new core, replaced the gasket and put it back together again and refilled the rad. That was the sort of engineering differences between AMC and other car manufacturers.

      If you wanted to change spark plugs on a 429 Boss Mustang you first had to jack the engine half out of the car to get at the plugs. Guess how often those cars got tuned? On a Rebel you just pulled out your 3/4 socket, extension and ratchet, pulled the plugs, twiddled in the freshly gapped new ones and torqued them tight. A blind man could do it.

      And it didn’t matter if the car was a standard Rebel Machine with 340 horsepower or the beast with the Service Package pumping 472 horsepower, it was still just as easy to work on.

      So don’t knock the Pacer because of all the small cars out there it was the only one that you could get a 472 horsepower engine in without having to do much more than shortening the drive shaft.

  7. Bob G

    If you look at the photos on the E-bay site, I believe a Go Pack plaque can be seen on the dash of one of the cars. Not too clear but it appears to be in gthe location of the only Go Pack AMX I’ve ever drove.

  8. Paul B

    John Newell, thanks for your fascinating expansion on my postcard history. I learned some great things today, and you possess deep knowledge I admire. I’ve always loved the independent automakers and their quirky, daring cars. I was a teenager when the AMX came out and the 290 engine in the American too, and really was rooting for AMC to succeed. I loved the AMX and still do. I recall the Nash Airflytes from my youngest days, when they were still to be seen on the road, and I could tell then that they were advanced and individualistic. I didn’t know about the ease of servicing on the new V8 compared to Big Three models, and that’s impressive. I had also forgotten what a good car the Rebel Machine was, because we almost never saw one. Those kickin’ cars still don’t change my opinion of some of the earlier Ramblers, which truly were bad-handling, unexciting vehicles that saved AMC with a bright new concept while being despised by the upcoming generation that rode around in them. I wish Nash, Hudson, Packard and Studebaker had all succeeded. They added real imagination and sizzle to the automotive scene in their day. Too bad George Mason’s vision for merging them all did not become reality. On the other hand, it might not have worked out anyway in the cutthroat environment of the 1950s and 1960s. I wish I could buy one of these AMXs and fix it up.

  9. james

    Check out the NMCA driver T.D. Holland in his 69 AMC AMX. It runs on a 10.50 index in the Nostalgia Super Stock. It has gone as quick as 9.85. He has been tearing ass in this same car since the 80’s. I’ve known him for about that long as well, He gave me the nickname “FORDMAN” because in his words “You love them ford’s so much i aint gonna try an convert you” LOL He has put together everything from a Gremlin to a AMC Spirit with 401’s. wicked fast street cars,by street i mean late night trips the “Browning Bottom , Mayo’s Bottom and The Long Bridge in ‘Buenie Bottom” Crazy southern boys in hot rods. 25-30 yrs of aging shows how crazy we where! Remember $2500 would buy a 69 GTX/440 or 68 Camaro with a 69 RS front clip an a 400 sbc. Oh yeah it is 20/20

  10. Richard Prokopchuk

    I’ve thought the AMX, with no back seat, was such a gorgeous shaped car. I just loved it, still do. IIRC, AMC made an orange one, a lime green one, and raucous blue one. I don’t recall any of the others except the red/white/and blue one. They did well on the race track too. Not on the dragstrip, I’m meaning real roads with curves and no turn left turn left turn left turn left.

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