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Sun Scorched: 1968 AMC AMX 390

1968 AMC AMX 390

Well this AMC definitely has an interesting look to it. I’m honestly not sure what to call it. Is it patina, sun baked or just rust? Here’s my dilemma with it, it has surface rust in the areas where the sun has baked the paint off, but I don’t see any rust holes. At the same time it’s past the point of just being a nice layer of patina. What I do know is that this is a desirable AMX, well as desirable as an AMC can get these days. Only a few thousand cars were built with the 390 V8 and the automatic transmission. Even fewer were optioned with A/C like this one. The seller has gotten the engine running and is working on making it driveable, but it’s still going to need a lot of work to be a driver. If you think this project is right up your alley, you can find it here on eBay in Tucson, Arizona.

1968 AMC AMX

The seller gives quite the story about the car’s history. Apparently, the original owner ordered the car with A/C and AM/FM radio in Jersey. Shortly after buying it, they moved to a small town Arizona. They didn’t put many miles on it, since there wasn’t many places to drive to in Elfrida, Arizona. It got a few bumps and bruises from ’69 to ’75, but in ’76 it got rear-end and that was the last straw for the owner. Rather than seeing it get damaged more, they parked it and left it. From there on out it was left to the hot Arizona sun, leaving us with the look we have today.

1968 AMC AMX 390 Interior

Much like the outside, the inside is pretty toasted. It’s complete, but is going to need to be redone. I haven’t really looked into parts supply for these cars, so I’m not sure if finding all the interior pieces will be easy or problematic. I’m guessing it could be a challenge things like the dash pad and center console, so hopefully those items can be cleaned up and reused.

1968 AMC AMX 390 V8

I’ve always thought the AMX would be a fun Mustang alternative. The 390 V8 should give this car plenty of grunt to keep up with the usual Mustang or Camaro. I’d be a bit nervous about finding all the pieces to fix this one up, but I’m sure everything you need for it is out there, you’ll just have to do some hunting. The big question is what to do with the exterior. Do you sand all the rust off and repaint it or do you just leave it as is? I’m not sure what I would do with it, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!


  1. Avatar photo MH

    I would get it running and driving fix up the interior a little and drive it like that. It’s a one of a kind. Get more looks then a car with a new paint job.

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  2. Avatar photo JW

    Why can’t this seller at least clean out the interior before taking pictures, presentation helps sell. Well let’s see how much crazy money this one goes for. I love these Javelins and especially the AMXs but the question is how much do I love them.

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  3. Avatar photo boxdin

    The paint is still there, its just been baked to the current state. Clearly there is no rust on this car if the bottom is any indication. Interiors out here get to well over 200 degrees on a really hot day, it looks pretty good for those circunstances. We ran a test in the late 80s on a dark blue ford van for a digital clock maker in Rio Rancho. That dash got over 210 degrees after just a few hours.

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  4. Avatar photo joeinthousandoaks

    Only 18,000 miles!?!?! Awful lot of grease and road grime on that car for 18k. Doesn’t matter that they lie about the mileage anyway since it needs everything right?

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  5. Avatar photo Rick

    Nice original AMX – worth restoring, nice color and neat options (a/c and AM/FM) even okay with the automatic (even tho I’d rather it had 4 speed). Granted it will need a bit of $$$ to bring it back .Not too many years ago a decent driver AMX automatic could be had for $6-7K. I remember back in the late 70s when nobody wanted these.

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  6. Avatar photo Luke Fitzgerald


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  7. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    These were never really impressive. 68 was a great year for mussle cars. They were a bit lost in the crowd. I guess with time……..some things get more interesting.

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    • Avatar photo Dan

      Mussle?….nice spelling….lol…

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    • Avatar photo Al8apex

      Clam cars, oyster cars and mussle cars, they sure are cool huh?

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  8. Avatar photo John

    I agree with joeinthousandoaks. The bottom of the engine is caked with oil. Try 118,000 miles. if it could actually reach that many.

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  9. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    Now we’re in my wheelhouse. I highly doubt that is an 18,000 mile car. Way to much wear and tear.

    6-7k for a trans? I can get one for $500.
    To bad it’s an auto car but the A/C is a plus. It’s a rarer color on that car as there were not to many produced. It doesn’t appear to be a go pak car but I could be wrong as it has disc brakes.
    Bidding is over 4K already and the interior will be over 2k to replace easily. 5k would be tops for me.

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  10. Avatar photo Telly

    Hell, just clearcote the thing as is. Update the mechanicals & interior and drive it like you stole it…

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  11. Avatar photo Jim

    I’ve never seen a car with the paint burned off that bad, I’d almost think it was near a factory that pumped acids out of the smoke stack. But I’ve never spent any length of time in the southwest. The interior still has a lot of color compared to the exterior. These had those crazy trunions instead of upper ball joints, those front ends squeezed like crazy.

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  12. Avatar photo skibum2

    All you have to do is look at the odometer..First two numbers are offset.. been over once…Now I know what his word is worth..what a load.. enjoy.

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  13. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    I guess the “desert only” setting on the HVAC controls are appropriate in this case.

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  14. Avatar photo AMCFAN

    This seller is the KING of flippers. I have had him on my watch list for several years. It’s too funny. He usually features a random scantily dressed female to pose next to a junk…er I mean project car as if to say or entice you by making the visual statement “with this car you can pick up hot women just like this” only he will leave out ” if you get it to run!’ Awesome concept though and works for him.

    1968 AMX Where to begin? Every good thing I see is followed by 4 bad. This car is a total wreck all the way around and is really wrecked! It has been setting along time for sure. In one pic he shows where he removed the starter. Wait a min.That isn’t only grease buildup on the oil pan that is heavy mouse poop. Prepare to be moving them out along with installing a new wiring harness.

    The only thing going for it is the chassis. I am sure to hear crybabies on this for sure.

    A/C is not rare. A large percentage of AMX’s Javelins out West in the hotter climates had it. Could have been ordered by anyone. If it did not come from Kenosha with A/C your dealer could install it. It was brand named American Air specific to AMC vehicles. Under dash like Vintage Air not a new concept. Rare is if it still works.

    The roof and hood, trunk and upper belt line are so scorched it looks as if the car was in a fire. You can sand it and primer it and you are good for a while. Any true body man will tell you that paint will never stick no matter what you do. If you intend to flip it won’t be an issue to you.

    A Gen II 390 a plus. One floor pedal is not. No getting over the anemic old Borg Warner Automatic trans. If it still works in all gears your lucky. Count on it crapping out more sooner then later. Why try to buy a used replacement? A joke. Hard to find parts for it and even harder to find anyone that can still work on it. To use a better 727 or Jeep Turbo 400 you would have to use a 401 crank.

    68/69 seats falling apart at the seams is common. Being blistered in the sun is not. You cannot imagine the searing AZ heat. Anything plastic is going to be brittle and cracked and in most cases turn to powder right before your eyes. This would be no different then buying a gutted race car. Very few parts would be useable. Count on everything here.

    Every exterior panel has damage either by rust or dents. Both bumpers, tail panel and extension, rocker moldings, grille, tail lights a windshield to top it off.

    The 4 piston calipers are serviceable if useable but are pricy. if not X $500. core. The hood is 68/69 AMX specific. Nice hoods that need nothing start out at a grand and go up. On your own here.

    The car is TOAST. The only way it would be a viable project is by price and only if you happened to have multiple parts cars. Not saying the car is not restorable it is. But defiantly not for the faint of heart. AMC’s prove to have many challenges. If you are a true AMC enthusiast and have had and worked on them you already know. It isn’t a car you can restore from a catalog. Parts available in the 80’s and 1990’s are not being reproduced and are now unobtainum unless you have very deep pockets. The guys who had the hind sight to buy up NOS parts now want paid. Not cheap.
    Fair warning. Pony up. There are nicer cars out there that need less. Do not get taken in by the AZ rust free experience. It isn’t here

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    • Avatar photo JW

      Thanks for that advice AMCFAN, I like these early AMX’s but know very little about their restoration pitfalls.

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    • Avatar photo Keith

      Very well said AMCFAN. While I love the AMCs as well, this one’s got so many red flags. And though it’s a western car, you are correct that everything plastic will break off in your hand….the seats and interior will be baked beyond repair and require full replacement. One of my favorite cars, but for what the guy wants and the condition this one’s definitely not for me.

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    • Avatar photo Joe64NYWF

      A/C is for babies! lol
      Just put a fan on da dash or better yet , right on the steering column.

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  15. Avatar photo John Newell

    The way to approach this car is from the perspective that usually the bottom half of the car has been salt rotted to extinction but the top half is fine and the interiors are usually in great shape including all of the electrical. Drive trains are often pretty good as well. So what’s missing is the entire bottom of the car. This car is the bottom half most people in the north need. Rust free. So merely splice the two of them together and pick a VIN. No brainer. The crunched rear corner is no big deal if you can weld. I’d say $2,500 is the most this AMX is worth considering that only the bottom of the car, the suspension, diff, gas tank and the wheels have any value. It’s a big project that could be the critical piece of the puzzle for saving a northern rust bucket.

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  16. Avatar photo Jim

    John, you’re absolutely right. I’m in NYC, I learned rust repair long ago because it’s normal here. This car is probably worth double or more to us than to someone in the southwest, it has all the good stuff that would have consumed by now on a car with average use and spent it’s life outside. I’ve rarely bought a local car as a toy just to avoid more practice changing panels. I love metalworking, but if I have a choice I’d rather build a chassis and rollcage instead of changing entire floors.

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  17. Avatar photo John Newell

    Well Jim the good news is that I’ve just started a business specializing in AMC sheet metal panels. We are right now making a lower rear quarter for a Rebel Machine from front to back, one piece. Door skins are next. There is no part of an AMC we can’t make if we can get an original piece to work from. If you go to my website and look at the sheet metal page you’ll see the brand new floor pans in a Machine. Perfect work. This can help people like you a lot.

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    • Avatar photo AMCFAN

      John, What do you make for a 66-69 Rambler American? 71-74 Javelin? 68-70 AMX? I am sorry didn’t catch your site

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    • Avatar photo Jim

      John, that’s great. Let us know the info, I’ll pass it along when the shows start in April, I’ll also give it to one of the guys that runs the club(he’s got a ’73 AMC) I’m sure he can put it in the newsletter. Good luck

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  18. Avatar photo Jim

    The way it’s spelled says can’t be found, if I add the I in machine it goes to an article about a Rebel Machine prototype with no links. Maybe I’m at fault?

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