Muscle and Style: 1973 AMX Pierre Cardin Edition

1973 AMX Piere Cardin

Have you ever been bitten by the “Special Edition” bug? I know I have, after owning two cars with that exact designation. I felt like I was the smartest guy in the room, getting a vehicle with a mixture of extra features and colors for the same price as a base model! Little did I know it was merely a manufacturer’s ploy to move some end-of-lifecycle models off the lot. The worst part is none of those cars was as intriguing as this 1973 AMX Pierre Cardin edition spotted here on North Carolina’s craigslist with an asking price of $10,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Traner K for the find!

AMC AMX Piere Cardin

I was particularly smitten by the unique models Volkswagen produced over the years, starting with the air-cooled Beetle. For instance, the Jeans Beetle. This special edition had seats and door panels draped in denim! Regardless of how weird it seems today, the car found buyers and the Jeans Beetle lived on for several iterations. And that’s why special editions like this Pierre Cardin AMX exist, they capitalize on some element of society or culture that makes people want to buy a car for reasons they never previously considered. Who cares if you don’t need a two-door muscle car, it’s got an interior dreamed up by your favorite clothing designer!

Piere Cardin AMX Interior

Pierre Cardin is actually still walking among us at the impressive age of 92 years old. I wonder if he knows there are AMX’s running around the countryside with his name on the fender. Even if he does, he likely won’t find one anytime soon, just over 4,000 were ever made. Even if you missed the fender tag, it was impossible to overlook the car’s daring interior, with custom striping that covered the front seats, door panels, headliner and rear seats. This example on craigslist has definitely seen better days, and while the interior may not “pop” like it did when new, it’s amazing to see the original components have survived years of outdoor exposure. Perhaps a basic cleaning will bring them back to maximum ‘70s grooviness, but the exterior is going to require a more comprehensive approach beyond some soap and hot water.

AMX Ram Air V8

In addition to being a rare find, this particular AMX benefits from relatively low miles (74K) and doesn’t appear to be too rusty. Although the body sustained some damage from a falling tree, but this should be easier to fix than extensive corrosion repair. What will really set this car off is that interior, assuming it’s eventually restored. I’d love to see Pierre Cardin’s vision for a luxurious and outlandish cabin design returned to its original splendor. And heck, it doesn’t hurt that this is a factory 4-speed car with the Go-Pak option and Ram Air! So here’s the big question, can you handle this interior? Or would you swap out the stylish fabrics and trims for something less edgy? Let us know below!

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Comments

  1. Mark E

    Speaking of denim, I’m sure someone else on here must also remember the AMC “LEVIS” edition cars with denim seats & door panels? IMO the best were the Gremlins & Jeep CJs… ^_^

  2. boxer

    I had this same car. 1973 AMX, 401, 4 speed. Pierre Cardin interior. My car was White. The factory cowl hood was fiberglass. At the time I owned it in High School, (1977) it was the second fastest car in town. First gear was useless in a race. Tires just spun. But when you got into 2nd. hang on. I had heard there were only 400 an something made.

    • Horse Radish

      that alone should explain the intriguing $10000 asking price.

  3. Don Sicura

    I worked for an AMC dealer in the early 70’s & these Cardin cars were a very hard car to sell, the interior was just about as unattractive as one could get, I owned a 68 & a 73 AMX as well as a 68 Javelin all bought for a few hundred dollars back then. While they sell for big dollars today, the owners back then were just about giving them away, AMC just could not build a decent car, the most simple things could not stand up to normal wear & tear, even the first Hummers built by the renamed American Motors had the same quality issues, this is primarily why they are no more!

    • Ed P

      I remember driving a 70’s Hornet company car. Releasing the parking brake required a very firm pull. When it did release the whole dash would jump!!

      Like 1
  4. Barry Thomas

    Interesting price. Seems to me that the car should be much further along the road to drivability for $10k. Even if “perfect” condition, what is one of these really worth?
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

    Like 1
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      I agree with your “closer to the road” comment at the price. Further, I have been monitoring AMC prices lately in anticipation of my next purchase and I have yet to see any 1971-1974 Javelin or Javelin/AMX crest $30k. A near perfect 1968-1970 model is fetching $25k on average and $30k for something special. I think the seller has grossly overestimated the potential for this car and it’s current worth.

      However, I did see a 1978 Concord AMX on the Flea-Bay today for $25k, so maybe I’m missing something?

      • Barry Thomas

        Mike, I think the only thing you might be missing, is the drugs some of these folks are on. Saw a ’62 or ’63 Falcon advertised last week for $30k. I don’t think there was a line up to buy it.
        Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

        Like 1
  5. Mike H. Mike H.

    I always enjoy seeing people selling AMC vehicles and “knowingly” listing them as “numbers matching”. What numbers match? Have you VERIFIED this? Because AMC didn’t number engines and transmissions to the VIN code like GM did, so what exactly are you claiming?

    • Mike B.

      Shouldn’t the engine and trans still have a VIN stamp of some sort on them somewhere? It was required by law starting in ’68.

      • Mike H. Mike H.

        The motor and transmission were numbered, but the numbers didn’t correspomd directly to the VIN code. The factory would have data as to the numbering (which VIN had which transmission or motor) but beyond that it’s near impossible to track an AMC motor to its parent vehicle.

        Worse, the engine number was on a small metal tag affixed to a valve cover with a single screw. Valve covers are swapped or replaced with fancier aftermarket components, making tracking that much more difficult. Compound that with AMC’s warranty replacement program which featured all of the motors utilising the just slightly different 401 block and it is anybody’s guess as to what motor actually resides in any AMC car.

    • Mike B.

      Thanks Mike! Good info :-)

  6. SoCal Car Guy

    Lop a zero off the asking price…needs everything, a major project in every respect.

  7. Dolphin Member

    AMC had a Pierre Cardin edition?
    Does it come with foliage?

    OK, enough questions.

    When I was a kid AMC couldn’t get no respect. They were a dying company that mostly made your aunt’s commuter car. But the more of the special AMC cars like this one that I see the more I wish that AMC had survived and was still making small production performance cars.

    Years ago a car club that I belonged to went on a garage tour in and around Detroit. One of the garages we visited was Dick Teague’s. He was VP for Design at AMC. Yes he designed the Gremlin and Pacer, but less well known is the fact that he had a lot to do with some of the best ever US car designs, like the AMX. At his house he had a large number of different collector cars, and one was the AMX/2, which most of the people there didn’t know ever existed, mainly because it was really an exotic show car and never made in any numbers, but it ran and drove and looked great.

    The fact that Teague and the others at AMC were able to produce the AMX and sell them in various models like the one in this entry says that AMC had some good people. Too bad the build quality wasn’t the best. At first I thought this car was not worth considering, and you wouldn’t be getting the highest quality build, but it looks better and better as I look the photos over. It’s way overpriced and the auction values that the seller quotes are not attainable unless you put more money than it’s worth into the car, but to get a rare and useable car this S.E. AMX could be well worth checking out.

    • Tirefriar

      Didn’t realize that the AMX/2 was a running and driving car. The real exotic car was the AMX/3 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, a man responsible for engineering and sorting the original Testa Rossa Ferrari. He was also the original engineer of the famous 250 GTO but was let go by Ferrari before completing the development. The AMX/3 was a direct competitor to the DeTomaso Pantera, but better. It’s performance was 0-60 in 5.5 seconds(!) with a 390 under the mid body hood – that was in 1969. AMC initially ordered 24 cars but unfortunately the lack of cash flow put an end to that project. Oh, what could have been…

  8. Mark in Medford

    I would pass on this one but a Mark Donohue Edition would be interesting. Too bad Mark isnt still among us.

  9. Mike H. Mike H.

    Autoweek featured this car today in its “Project Car Hell” segment, but mistakenly referred to this car as a “big block” (all AMC Gen 3 engines (304, 360, 401) used the same block).

    http://autoweek.com/article/project-car-hell/project-car-hell-4-speed-big-block-detroit-muscle-edition-amc-javelin-or

  10. RollerD

    Mecum Dallas 2011…

    https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail.cfm?lot_id=DA1011-114949

    To be honest I have never heard of this option.

  11. Leon

    Who had the Cartier and the Oleg Csssini designer trim cars ?

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Leon,

      Both AMC. Cartier was available on Hornets (I’ve seen (2) Sportabouts in this trim), and the Matador Coupe came in the Oleg Cassini trim. Bot of these specials were hideous; my father was a Zone Sales Manager for AMC through the sixties and seventies and would bring these cars home with him periodically. The Matador Coupe in Cassini trim (the white and gold one) was as gross in 1975 as it is today.

      • Jeff

        You are thinking of the Gucci interior. There was also a Barcelona interior, too! I really like the ’70’s cheesy stuff. It takes me way back to a better place in time.

    • Tirefriar

      Lincoln also had the Cartier edition cars.

    • krash

      Lincoln Continental had the Cartier

  12. tom999p

    ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz………. another flipper who knows/cares nothing about these cars other than the $$$ aspect, and has it listed for sale before it’s barely been off the trailer. He didn’t even take twenty minutes to wash it before listing it.

    Ridiculous listing prices are directly related to the absurd selling prices on the tv auctions. Because a 69 Camaro sold on Mecum for $600k, then you could buy mine, drop in a 427 and sell it for at least $400k………….. zzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

  13. DREW V.

    The first and only one of these Cardin edition AMX’s I ever saw was in a salvage yard in S.E. Mo, back in the early 80’s. Thought that was the wildest factory interior I had ever seen…

    Never saw a Jeans Beetle but a good friend of mines dad had a Levi edition CJ-5 jeep all done up in denim…

  14. Leon

    Wasn’t AMC a customer of the Big Three. Buying major components from them ? GM engines ? Ford Mopar trannys ?

    • Mike H. Mike H.

      AMC’s inline sixes and all of the V-8’s were their own. They bought the rights to a Buick V-6 in the sixties for use in the Jeepster and ended up selling that back to GM. Otherwise, the only non-AMC motor was the dreadful 2.0L 4-cyl they bought from Audi for the Gremlin.

      Transmissions? I know they used the 727 from Chrysler, there were Borg-Warner units (Ford also used these) and in later years there were Pugeuot (sp) units in some Jeeps.

      AMC did source MANY other components and subassemblies from The Big Three, though. GM-Saginaw provided steering columns, GM heater controls. Ford provided ignition and fuel system components along with alternators, to name just a few things.

      It was hard for AMC to be competitive through the seventies and it became much cheaper to use off-the-shelf parts from the competition rather than Engineer and produce low volume parts of their own.

  15. Dirty Dingus McGee

    At an ask of 10K, the seller needs to put down the corn likker jug. Unless this is a “labor of love” for the buyer, you will spend far more than the value of the completed car. And not to mention the “unobtanium” stuff, upholstery, spoiler, graphics, etc.

    That said, there are many of us that have spent in excess of a vehicles worth on a build(and prob will again).

    Like 1
  16. John A

    I contacted this fellow and would not buy a wheelbarrow off him if he was only asking a dollar for it.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Don’t leave us hanging, John!

  17. Vince Habel

    Was it that bad that you say this?

  18. jim s

    this for 10k or the miata for 15k. nice find for someone maybe, but i would get an early year one if i was looking.

  19. AMCFAN

    This car may seem high priced but is actually a deal. This is a very optioned Javelin. First and foremost it has the King Kong 401 and 4 Spd. transmission w/A/C. 71-74 manual shifted 4 spd cars are very rare. I see it has the original Hurst shifter and the 4 spd. console. The original black shifter knob tells me that the car has not been modified. (first to go with the installation of a T handle) The next big plus is the color P1 Classic Black along with the Cardin interior. This is as good as it gets. This is a Go Package car as it has the functional cowl induction fiberglass hood. Disc brakes, Twin grip rear and the rare 15X7 ralleys. Most would assume at first look these were standard on the Gremlin and Hornet with the X package. Not so. Those are 14″ The Javelin got 15″s which are next to impossible to find. My guess the car was parked sometime in the early 1980’s due to the Eagle GT tires. To put it in perspective aound 30,000 Javelins were built in 73 but only 1400 were 401 powered. Then less then half would be 4 spd. Then you get into colors and options. I would bet there are less then 10 survivors optioned like this. I must say that although a FAN of all that is American Motors always prefered the first gen Javelins. My best friend in High School scored a mint Trans AM Red 73 Javelin with black interior.It had a 360 auto. I had the 70 SST 390 4 spd. Once I got behind the wheel of his 73 I was in. You have to drive the 71/74 Javelins to know what they are about. The later Javelins actually command more money then the earlier cars with the obvious exception of the 70 T/A or Donohue. Speaking of Mark he had a very big hand in the way this car looks from the fenders, flush grille to the flip on the rear of the roof that was actually a built in spoiler to hammer the body down at high speed. This body style ruled Trans AM racing. So don’t be a hater! Lots more than meets the eye. This would be a nice car to restore and in time would bring the price it deserves. In the mean time you would still have a very beautiful car. The Cardin interior is super cool. The design goes over the front and rear seats. It even goes across the headliner. One of the most unique interiors ever designed. This car has it all!

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      This is great information – thanks very much for sharing. I agree that the right options can definitely make a car more worthy of a higher price.

    • Woodie Man

      All good points. But originality has to be accompanied by reasonable condition. This example is only ftr for a deep pocket restoration which will leave very little original. Once you dip and strip that body I’m guessing you’ll be missing some body panels. A recreation is one thing but thats all it is .

      Apparently some sellers think condition is irrelevant if they have what they think you want no matter what. This one may continue to provide iron oxide for the surrounding earth for a while.

      Crazy

  20. AMCFAN

    MIKE H Cartier was not available on an AMC. You must be thinking of Gucci as in the Gucci Hornet. Also Kaiser owned Jeep and bought the rights for the Buick V6 from GM in the 1960’s. Kaiser also used Buick V8’s. AMC bought the Jeep brand from Kaiser in 1970. AMC retooled the Jeep to use their own engines. AMC did sell the rights to the V6 back to GM. Too bad. Can you imagine life without the Grand National? AMC knew how to stay in business. They knew first hand what the big three didn’t know (and it took years) was that you couldn’t build everything in house. They adapted the proven components or what I like to think as the best for use on their own vehicles. Truth is today all manufacturers share common parts it is very cost effective. A very thanks to AMC

  21. jim s

    this car has made autoweeks ” project car hell “.

  22. tom999p

    Cartier was available on the Lincoln. I had a 1979 Bill Blass Edition Mark V that had a Cartier clock.

  23. AMCFAN

    WOODY, A recreation would be taking a vehicle and adding components to make it appear something it what it was not when built at the factory. I agree with elements of originality need to be in place. The vin would dictate the engine and transmission. M for manual and Z for 401. This can be confirmed on the frame rail and is stamped where the steering box is mounted. Lots of work trying to fake one. The trim tag would be P1 paint and W for interior. I would also take a chance and say the build sheet could still be in place under the carpet. This car was not in a fire. All the hard to find parts that would multiply the cost in a restoration are here. Cardin interior was optioned in 72 and 73. The front seats differ from both years. P1 Black was special order with the Cardin interior option. I have only seen one other P1 Black 1973 AMX Javelin 401 powered but was an automatic. It was in a wearhouse at an American Motors dealer in W.Va. in 1985. Seems when it was new it was taken out for a test drive and was involved in a head on accident. The seller is not far off on the value. When I tally the big ticket parts like the 401, T10, Grille, Hood, Ram Air assembly to name a few comes to about $8K if parted. More if you were a nut and bolt guy and selling everything down to the hull. I would certainly jump on it but am knee deep in 7 AMC projects This restoration like the car itself wouldn’t be for just anyone however wouldn’t be as bad as many would expect.

    • Mike B.

      AMCFan, you sure make a good case for this car :-) Heck, I’m not a big fan of the later Javelin’s, but if I were looking for “the one”, I think this car would be it! LOL! Like you said, rare and desirable combination of options and colors = win! Yeah, you will probably be upside down on it when you finish (unless you do alot of it yourself), but you would never find yourself parked next to another one at a show.

  24. PaulG

    I like these cars, owned an all original ’74 with the 304, 4 speed and A/C. Bright red with the black “T” stripe. Always a dry southwest AZ car, but the lower rear quarters rusted through due to a bad trunk seal and plugged drains. I’d buy another, but like most everything else they’re getting kinda pricy.

  25. RobP

    I’m another “AMC Fan” and have been restoring these cars for years now. I owned a 1973 Javelin with a 401, 4-speed back in 1977. It was one of the most comfortable and fun cars I have ever owned. AMCFAN is right on with regard to this car. When I’m looking for a car to restore its rarity is one thing but, especially with AMC, you have to look at the original parts. Are they there and are they in decent shape. Has the car been hammered or cut up and abused by some teenager. Because those parts can be hard to find it is critical that you find one that is as close to original as possible. I have to say that, although it does need some body work (which isn’t the same as searching for obscure or obsolete parts), this car appears to be all original and most of the hard to find and expensive stuff is all there and in very restorable condition. It appears the original owner/owners took decent care of this car until it was parked. As for its rarity, I did some checking. On the Javelin/AMX Registry there is only one, that’s right one, Pierre Cardin AMX or Javelin, 1972 or 1973 401, 4-speed in the only optional color “Classic Black”. Overall a pretty rare find.

  26. Jeff

    Has anybody bought this car? Who owns it? I want to be put in touch with anyone who has a lead on this car or any Pierre Cardin AMX with a 4-speed, a/c and the GoPack option and/or a 401 engine. Thanks for any help anyone can give me. Jeff.

    Like 2

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