Solid Restorer: 1970 AMC AMX

When this AMC AMX rolled off the production line in 1970, it was equipped with a 390ci V8 engine and was a potent piece of machinery. That engine is now gone, but it does leave the car’s next owner with the choice of a few different options as they prepare to return the car to the road. Barn Finder Patrick S referred the AMX to us, so thank you so much for that. You will find it located in Fredericksburg, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. You could park this classic in your garage with a BIN price of $8,000. Of course, if you are feeling a bit daring, the option is also available to make an offer.

The short wheelbase design of the AMX is very distinctive and gives the car an almost toy-like appearance from some angles. It also makes it an aggressive-looking car, which is no bad thing. This one is an essentially solid car that started out painted Golden Lime. It has undergone a color change at some point in its life, and I think that it probably looked pretty good when that paint was fresh. It has deteriorated since, and a repaint is just one of the tasks facing the next owner. The car is said to be structurally sound, although there are some rust issues in the floors, trunk pan, and lower quarter panels. None of this appears to be too severe, and as the owner rightly points out, replacement items are readily available. It appears that there might also be a few external trim pieces missing, but those that are present would seem to be in good condition.

The interior of the AMX is a bit of a surprise because it seems that the majority of the trim is actually in pretty reasonable condition. There are a few items that have been removed from the dash, but I’ve been able to spot some of these in a few of the photos. However, it isn’t clear whether there is anything that is missing. The remaining trim looks like it might respond well to a really good clean, and that would probably be my starting point if I bought the car. There might be a few items that will eventually need replacing, but the door trims, dash pad, rear trims, and console all look good. The only items that I would really place a potential question mark over would be the covers on the seats, but I still have a feeling that they will clean okay.

This is where the news turns a bit bad, because while that badge indicates that this car started life with a 390ci V8 under the hood, what is there now is a lot of empty space. Not only has the engine gone, but so has the 3-speed “Shift-Command” transmission. With that original engine under the hood, the AMX owner found themselves with a healthy 325hp at their disposal. Given the fact that the AMX was a relatively light car, the performance was quite lively. This is where the options will open a bit for the next owner. It comes down to a choice of either slotting something different under the hood, and thus personalizing the car. Alternatively, the next owner might choose to search for a date-correct engine and transmission in a bid to make the car as close to original as possible. Given the fact that only 901 cars were built with the 390/automatic combination in 1970, that is the path that I would probably choose to follow.

Decisions, decisions. This AMC AMX is going to require a fair amount of restoration, but it is not beyond help. The big decision will be whether to return it to as close to original as possible or to build it into something altogether different. Nicely restored examples, even ones that aren’t numbers-matching, can quite easily fetch prices in excess of $40,000. This one will need some work, but I think that it could be bought and restored for less than that amount. That means that this 1970 AMX might be a pretty decent proposition as a project car.


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  1. 8banger Dave Member

    I’ve always loved these – whoever snags it, please document it’s progress for us!

    Like 10
  2. Classic Steel

    I like it but…Nice all original with original engine fetch high dollars sadly but this one will not ,
    This car needs min of 15 grand to get back running and with nom and parts its hard to get it done.
    Its cheaper to spend in the 20s (not needing paint, parts,engine) to get one all original and driving etc.

    It looks like a good start point but at 3-4 k depending on a thorough review.

    Like 6
    • Mitch Ross Member

      AMC cars did not have vin matched drivetrains, so any date corrrct 390/ Auto would be correct and indistinguishable from original.

  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    There’s potential here but along with that is there’s going to be cost in rust repair, drive train etc.

    Like 2
  4. John

    come on…. say it with me…… “LS Swap”

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Heathen! AMC products were assimilated by the Pentastar Empire when they took Jeep over.
      That said…I’d work on finding a 401 out of a police Matador while freshening up the body and interior.

      On the other hand, a 383 stroker wouldn’t be out of the question if I was building it for cruises.

      Like 4
  5. poseur Member

    AMC nailed the proportions on these!
    looks like a Hot Wheels car with the short wheel base, wide tires and aggressive buttresses and scoops.
    regardless of what it is, or could be, worth it deserves to be saved and restored.
    seems like a decent opportunity to buy in for several grand and sweat equity a way to a unique rare muscle car

    Like 9
    • Dave

      I could be wrong, but the AMX wasn’t in the original Sweet 16 Hot Wheels cars. It was part of the second group instead.

  6. 433jeff

    Maybe with the original motor gone it may end up in someones hands that couldnt have afforded it With the original motor.( does that sentence make sense) Anyway the first picture makes this car look really good, im impressed at how good it looks. I say dont go whole hog with it, make it fast and run good, but dont make it so nice that you become neurotic if soneone goes to lean on it. Dont become an accountant, count on the fun you can have

    Like 2
  7. Desert rat

    Best looking body style amc every made, I always loved the AMX. 8 grand is a lot but not out of this world, if I bought this I’d keep it all amc but finding a 390 or 401 is going to be tough most went into cj jeeps so maybe do something with a 360 (bore and stroker kit) and sence the trans is gone I’d have to drop in a 4 speed just for fun!

    Like 6
    • Rosco

      Pretty sure there were no numbers on the AMC engines to match to VIN. One would just need a ’69 390 which isn’t that difficult to find. Not sure about finding the automatic but probably available as well.

      Like 6
      • PeteMcGee

        The 1970 390 is unique and pretty rare. 70 used the dog leg heads, and even the block was different than the more common 1969 390s. In 71 the 401 came out and that would be easier to source, and would bolt in.

        Like 2
  8. TimM

    This Car has a great stance and good overall look!! It’s a shame so many parts are gone!! It’s worthy of a complete restoration if you can find the parts to do so!! It won’t be a cheap fix but it will be a true piece of classic American muscle when done!! I like the red and black paint scheme and being it will never be original!! I would leave the color combination the way it is!!!

  9. jack hammer

    I think it needs a hemi.

  10. Dave

    and NOT a modern one….as for the LS….not only no Hell no!

    That is a sweet body, AMC hit it out of the park.

    Like 1
  11. TimM

    I agree with you Dave!! No LS!!! No hemi!!!
    I say go with the coyote motor in this baby with a six speed!!!

  12. Desertrat

    Oh, good lord let’s really mess the thing up by putting a Ford in it..

    Like 1
    • Ken

      429 Super Cobra Jet works for me.

  13. Leon

    $8000 with no motor and trans? No way. Dreaming. You’d need to spend more to finish it than what it would be worth when finished. Not a viable investment

    Like 2
  14. Joey 2

    Needs an aluminum 6.0 ls.

    Like 2
  15. Dave

    like a working girl needs the clap

    Like 1
  16. Hersh

    I owned this AMX. It’s my listing on eBay. Glad to see folks still appreciate them.
    I own another AMX and it is currently being turned into a pro touring car with a 6.4 Hemi, tremec 6spd and 14” Behr brakes. Schwartz Performance is doing the modifications.
    The original engine from my car has been rebuilt and has less than 5k miles with a original B&W 4spd trans. The car sold yesterday and purchaser bought the engine and trans. Sold all with a load of spare parts for way under 10k.
    I’m sure the new owner will turn this into a real beauty.

  17. Leon

    And what would you do with the police Matador?

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