Corvette Competitor: 1969 AMC AMX

When these cars were new they were sold to the person who wanted to be a bit different. You know the type: the one who didn’t want a muscle car from the Big 3 like everybody else had.  The AMC AMX fit that bill perfectly.  The press called it a “Corvette Competitor” primarily because it only had 2 seats but also because of the short wheelbase (only 1 inch different from the Corvette!). Today these cars don’t command the high prices that the Big 3 muscle cars do and they makes them a bargain if you like them. And if you like this one, you can find it on eBay in Littleton, Colorado where bidding has reached just $2,100 with 4 days left in the auction.

The available 315 horsepower 390 cubic inch V8 gave it tire smoking power but this actually confused the buying public. In the late-60s there were sports cars, which handled well and there were muscle cars which were fast in a straight line, but these rarely crossed over into each other’s camps.  The AMX’s shortened wheelbase and high power engine allowed it to be a muscle that also handled well appealing to both types of enthusiast. Automotive journalist Tom McCahill summed up, “the AMX is the hottest thing to ever come out of Wisconsin and … you can whip through corners and real hard bends better than with many out-and-out sports cars.”

This AMC AMX is from the second year of production and came with the smallest V8 available; the 290 c.i. with 225 hp.  But the body seems to be in good shape although it has been cheaply repainted with paint over the trunk lock and a very green interior color.  The seller says that it doesn’t have a transmission and the engine isn’t frozen.

Those seats look like they were reupholstered when the exterior was painted, but the rest of the interior will need some help.  You can see the original green paint on the doors and the door jambs and if you intend to restore this car correctly you’ll want to finish painting where the seller left off.  This is a sharp AMX and as long as it doesn’t have a bunch of body filler it should be an excellent candidate for a restoration. Would you rebuild the 290 or would you drop a hotter motor in it?


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  1. PatrickM

    Nice car, basically…I guess. With no power train, it is useless to me. $2,100.00? I don’t think so. $1,000.00 tops, as is. Got title?

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    Sold for just under $7K.

    These early AMXs was considered pretty outrageous back when they were new. A buddy of mine traded in his Triumph TR250 (it started falling apart from the day he bought it, new) on a brand new 1969 AMX, 390 Go-Pack, four-speed. Early in its life, the suspension was upgraded (I think Dick Guldstrand was involved with the job), as well as more go-fast stuff going in under the hood.

    The last I heard he still owned the car…

  3. big kahuna

    AMX was never was and never will be a Corvette competitor.

    • Tom Daggett

      Your sure about that? The only one I couldn’t beat was the 327/350 how vetted. The rest just smoked their tires while watching my tail lights

      • moosie Craig M. Bryda

        I worked with a guy who had a ’69 390 4 spd AMX. I raced him quite a few times with my ’69 Roadrunner. 383 4 spd. But he never beat me. The only car he could sometimes beat was the boss’s ’68 390 4 spd. Torino. The guy could handle shifting pretty well. I guess the car just wasn’t quick enough . Off the line or from a roll, made no difference.

    • Rob S.

      I would take one of these over a ‘vette any day of the week!! Better styling and with the “go pak” would take on any “vette”
      BRING IT!!

    • Graeme

      A 290 AMX would hang with a small block Vette any day, and I’m sure a 390 would have given a big block a run for its money.

    • Graeme

      A 290 AMX would hang with a small block Vette any day, and I’m sure a 390 would have given a big block a run for its money. They did quite well in both SCCA B-production and NHRA Super Stock and Pro Stock racing.

    • Steved

      Well stated.

    • That AMC guy

      I don’t think it was ever really intended to be. Aside from both being 2-seaters they are very different kinds of cars. The AMX sold for less and under the skin there is not much to differentiate it from a Rambler American, down to the trunnion front suspension through 1969 and solid rear axle suspended by cart springs. An AMX is still a blast to drive though, especially with the 390!

  4. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Neat survivor type there…

    • Mike Penny

      The AMX did indeed compete with the Corvette in SCCA Racing and was successful in the very same class that the 327/350 Vettes ran in. At the Drags, there too were many Hurst S/S AMX’s wound up in the winners circle after beating any number of automotive challengers, including Corvettes. So don’t kid yourself, these cars were potent competitors that handled well and were a blast to drive.

  5. EHide Behind

    The MAC motors were the first mass produced thin wall blocks which saved weight, and from the 290 ,304, 343, 360, 390, through 410 were same blocks and interchange. The head porting was changed in 1970, way more effecient, mandating new intake manifolds as well.
    FASTER in 1/4 mile than small block vettes it lost out on twisted as it like to lift off the inside wheel on short by steep angled curves.
    Lots of parts from t-10 4 speeds to Chryslers auto trannys,(Even the strongest HEMI one), large disc for front from Later models. And suspension updates readily available.
    Not luxurious interiors, but you can redo just two bucket seats.
    No need to keep puny 290 motor, look on block above engine mounts where size is cast in block. All above the 304 have potential, even oldest 343 was powerful as stock, they still make aluminum heads with screw in studs, topped by Holly or Edelbrock manifolds of either plane, but find a wind for best results. It’s 2.025 valves just and free flowing heads, 401 steel balanced crank, great oil flow, just scream for solid lifter cams.
    THIS CAR WITH STOCKER 390 WOULD GET UP AND WALK AWAY from all mid 70-80’s Camaros and Vette smogers.
    It is a darn good daily driver and newer heads have unleAded valves and seats. 71 – 74 360 still 9 to one compression be con ave pistons.

  6. JW

    Sold at $6,999

  7. Chris Londish Member

    I remember when these came out in Australia I still have the magazine which featured the AMX on the front cover 135 mph was spruiked

  8. bog

    Lots of AMX lovers here. Last time one showed up here, a ’68 390 V8, some guy told me there was no way that I beat my fellow Officer that had one in the 1/4 nor top end with my ’67 GTA Fairlane. Huh. A) he wasn’t in Germany then, and B) he wasn’t shifting that particular car’s 4speed. Perhaps my friend hadn’t learned high-speed driving skills, but he bought the beer at the Officer’s Club, not me. You may even wish to say that my car was fully broken-in from a years worth of Autobahn “bombing”, and that his was brand-spanking new. Oh, well..Perhaps he did tell his grandkids he “mopped-up” all races against all comers 50 years ago. But, if he holds true to the Honor Code, then he doesn’t tell that particular fabrication.

  9. Dustin Beck

    Guess lm the only one who noticed the 390 badges. Im just a kid compared to most here trying to fixup my Spirit GT street competitor after Ex tried to kill my spirit. So if anybody has grille,headlight buckets,or tail lights laying around it sure would boost my Spirit. Thanks

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