Colorful Muscle Car: 1970 AMC Rebel Machine

The Machine was a one-year wonder in 1970 at the height of the muscle car movement. AMC had dabbled some in the performance arena, with late 1960s entries including the AMX (1968-70) and SC/Rambler (1969). It was based on the mid-size Rebel which had replaced the Classic in 1967. The Machine was wildly decorated – at least by AMC standards – and was a quick automobile. This edition is in Anaconda, Montana, and one of the nicer examples we’ve seen on Barn Finds of late. It’s available here on craigslist for $35,000 OBO. Thanks again, Pat L., for your sleuthing efforts!

Available only as a Rebel 2-door hardtop, the Machine was at first painted white with red and blue striping in a variety of places. It resembled a rolling U.S. flag, of sorts. The hood contained a functional scoop with a built-in tachometer. Later copies of the Rebel could come painted in blue without the stripes but available with vinyl tops, too. The 1970 Rebel Machine Registry estimates the total number of Machines built was between 2,300-2,400 and more than half of those had the white body. AMC’s largest powerplant, the 390 cubic inch V8, was the only engine offered in the Machine and it had an output of 340 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of torque.

The seller’s Machine is said to have just 60,000 miles on it and runs strong but needs a bit of mechanical work. We’re told the radiator should be cored out and the exhaust system tinkered with. It has a new Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor and rebuilt master cylinder and vacuum booster. This Machine left the factory with an automatic transmission and it looks be wearing Cragar wheels.

Physically, the body and paint look good although the photos don’t show all of it in good light. While the car has never been wrecked, the seller says there is some rust in the trunk that we don’t get to see. The single photo of the interior doesn’t point out anything needing attention besides the steering wheel. From what we read, it sounds like you could begin driving the car after a weekend or two’s worth of work. Rather than repeat the Machine on the new Matador body in 1971, AMC turned its attention to the Hornet-based SC/360 instead.


WANTED 1968-1977 Ford Bronco Have all their parts. Running engine or rust free not necessary. Prefer southern US Contact

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  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’m still a sucker for Crager SS rims. Keystones also.

    Like 21
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    These are really cool cars – wish I’d bought one
    when they were cheap.

    Like 17
  3. JoeNYWF64

    Back when RWL & ORWL tires were not only just a few dollars more than blackwalls, but there was a tremendous variety to chose from.
    Even the shop tire radials like these on the car had no issues with premature tread/belt separation, cracking, & sidewall warping.
    The only tires to be avoided back in the day were the name brand “500” radial & a few others on the early ford explorers by the same big manufacturer.

    Like 2
    • FireAxeGXP

      And the ignorance still blathers in decades after the fact. There was nothing whatsoever wrong with the FIRESTONES on those Ford Explorers. Research revealed that Ford blamed Firestone to avoid the firestorm of bad publicity for their craptastic SUV. In fact Ford placed incorrect tire pressure labels on the Exploder listing tire pressure 6 to 8 PSI below what Firestone recommended. THIS stupidity and not any defect from Firestone caused speeding Fords with underinflated tires to roll over and explode.

      Like 13
      • JoeNYWF64

        I stand corrected. But i don’t think there was any owner correction for the dangerous firestone 500s of the ’70s, i believe.
        Plus about 8 yrs ago, i personally bought 2 expensive firestone shoptires 225-55r-16 & made sure their manuf date was not old, & in <5 yrs they both had random wide(not hairline) cracks in the 4 tread channels going all the way around both tires(but not continuous)!(never ever seen that before), but no cracks or bulges anywhere else.
        The dealer said it was due to aging. Really! & would not give me info to contact a field rep to look at the tires.
        There have been recalls on cracking of other firestone tires, but not mine – probably low sales/production of that size/model..
        Oddly the tires still hold air better than any tire i've had on the car & ride fine! No tread wear either – maybe 7000 miles on the tires.
        I have 2 even older(but noisier) higher mileage Starfire tires on the back with no such cracks.
        I did not have these problems with shop tires back in the '90s – even with the 4/$99 pep boy specials earlier than that. Got plenty of use down to the treadwear indicators with no issues after 10 years.

      • Ralph

        I worked at Firestone in Akron during the 70s. Not only were the tires a problem on all cars they recalled literally millions of them regardless of miles. On major problem was them being built during a rubber workers strike by management teams but they also had ply separation and rusting in the steel used in the beads.

        Like 6
      • Dave

        Funny that you should mention tread channel cracking. About the same time as you I had both tires on my Sportster replaced at the dealer. A year later it failed inspection due to cracking of the front tire. When I pointed out that the tire was less than a year old they replaced it no charge. Dunlop made the tire.

        Like 2
      • AZVanman

        True. And Ford turned on their long-time marketing partner to protect the Explorer name. Pathetic.

        Like 2
  4. Edward

    I bought one in 70. Was Tijuana tan in color. Dropped a 780 dual feed holley on it. I loved that car. Wish I never sold it.

    Like 9
    • Ralph

      This is a different “Ralph” commenting here. Re: Firestone tires.
      We had a new 73 FORD top line wagon. The crap Firestones wore out, tread separated, or just plain failed and blew out before 10K.
      I was lucky to escape with my life after one such failure. Since that fiasco you could never give me a Firestone tire. Never. As to the used cars owned since then, never drove one more than 10 miles before replacing the Firestone crap tires. When it takes deaths, injuries and lawsuits to convince any manufacturer to “do the right thing”, it is too late. (screw FORD, and screw Firestone) Never again. YMMV though. But I have a long memory…

      Like 3
  5. Sam Shive

    My dad was suppose to buy my mom a Ambassador wagon Then he saw a Rebel and talked her into it. BUT when he ordered it he FORGOT to order a wagon. My cousin had a AMX that was a screamer so dad ask about getting a 390 n the Rebel. Back then it was pretty much anything goes. So about 2 months later this BLACK TOP, BLUE BOTTOM Rebel SST shows up. Mom was pissed till she took it for a ride. She still wishes she had it. She shut down many of Bowties, Blue Ovals and Mopars with it. Talk about a sleeper.

    Like 13
  6. Shawn

    A great car that I’ve always loved. Man, to have a time machine and go back to the late 80s or early 90s when you could have picked one of these up in great shape for 2,000 or 3,000.

    Like 6
  7. Troy s

    Nice shape, style, plenty of grunt in the 390, which by 1970 standards must have seen awful smallish. Nice ride..

    Like 3
  8. Joe

    if I remember correctly, the 390 in the Machine had a bit more horsepower than the 390 in the AMX’s. The valve cover tag had a Y in the sequence, whereas the AMX 390’s had an X. Very rare engine.

    Like 6
  9. Don Eladio

    They were available in most colors mid-year 1970, along with the R/W/B paint scheme. They made more of the code 51 paint cars (R/W/B) than any other color.

    Like 1
  10. Howie Mueler

    Cool, not the best photos.

    Like 1
  11. Paul B

    Actually, there were 1971 Matador Machines. There were approx 40 to 60 built and only 2 known to exist today. They came in Matador only colors ( no red white and blue ) and came with the 401 CU

    Like 1
  12. Bryan

    I doubt many of these are left. Most muscle cars of that era had a high mortality rate anyway, as most usually ended up in the hands of high school teenagers as they bottomed out in resale value (at 10 or 11 years old).

    I have some very rare cars (much lower production than the Machine), but I have never seen one of these at a car show or auto swap meet after almost 40 years of religiously attending them (CA, OR, WA, ID). These are handsome cars and I would love to own one (one that doesn’t cost 35K).

    Like 3
    • JBD

      A great explanation on why many muscle cars have been modded or butchered by teenagers or first resale owner cars🏅. I remember back in the day piles of stock parts being in iron scrap pile that demand premium prices today. 428 SCJ manifolds, iron intakes, etc. Only Shelby parts were still in demand.

  13. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    In the year these were built competition was great for fast sporty cars that could also be used as family cars and grocery getters. Prices for these cars was equal to other manufacturers models. People were inclined to be brand obedient. AMC was the step child, they just didn’t get due respect. When I was financially able to buy my first new car I went with the Chevy Nova. Price in 1969 was under $3,000.00
    If I remember right with a $500.00 down payment my monthly payment was $95.00 for 36 months including interest.
    It was a different time. My house payment was $125.00 for a 2 bedroom 1 bath house at 3218 N.E. 97th st. Seattle, Washington.
    God bless America

    Like 5
    • JBD

      We bought a ‘69 Rebel from Boeing’s Everett plant with super low miles at a Boeing auction. It had the 343 HiPo premium fuel motor. My dad bought it for his parents, it later served as a first car for 4 grandkids, including an Army major in the Middle East wars. Fast as hell and I remember buying leaded premium fuel in Montana. Finally died due to rust. It probably supplied parts for this CL car.

    • JBD

      We bought a ‘69 Rebel from Boeing’s Everett plant (747 runway pace car, originally had 8mm camera mount holes like the ‘68 Bullitt Mustang car) with super low miles at a Boeing auction. It had the 343 HiPo premium fuel motor. My dad bought it for his parents, it later served as a first car for 4 grandkids, including an Army major in the Middle East wars. Fast as hell and I remember buying leaded premium fuel in Montana. Finally died due to rust. It probably supplied parts for this CL car.

  14. Eddie Stakes

    You could get a 1970 Rebel Machine in any regular AMC production color including big bad colors after initial run of frost white with the stripes. The 1970 AMC 390 has a high crater rate, I estimated 60% of them cratered whether in Ambassador, AMX, Javelin or Rebel. Others put figure higher. Its why Holmes Foundry went into overdrive and so many “replacement engines” shoved into AMC Dealer Network. the Machine made official debut at NHRA Dallas Nationals Oct 1969. There is a Rebel Machine Press Kit on ebay. Abput 350 Rebel Machinrs are known to exist last I checked with Rebel Machine Registry. 1971, a “Go Machine” package offered for new Matador, about 68 produced, and 3-4 are known to exist The 70 Rebel Machine had special dual plane intake ($1000+ if can find one, exhaust manifolds too) so 71 Matador Machines either 401 or 360 and if a 360 4 speed you have one. Nothing in VIN or door tag will ID it unless is Z code 401, or M code 4 speed unfortunately for 71. In 1987 I built a Convertible Rebel Machine 401 LAPD Police Interceptor, and it is the LONGEST I have ever owned a AMC of 395 AMCs personally owned now fun car. The barnfinds Rebel Machine stripe kit, while car appears real “Y Code” the stripe something wrong with it, too skinny. Hope it finds a home. Up With The Rebel Machine!

    Like 2
    • Edward Henrichsen

      I had a 1970 machine with the 390. Was running a 780 dual feed holley on it. Had it for over 2 years before I sold it. Use to street race it all the time and had no problems with the engine. Maybe I was just lucky.

  15. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow. 35K is cheap for a rare car like this. It’d be 50% more if it was one of the Big 3’s 70’s muscle

    Like 2
  16. Daniel Palmer

    Wasn’t the biggest AMC engine a 401?

    Like 1
  17. JT

    I remember a the striping choices/ paint schemes, but this one looks different some how.

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