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The Machine In The Barn: 1970 AMC Rebel

Serious AMC fans might instantly recognize what this barn find is, but the rest of us might not even give this Rebel a second look. That is until you discover what exactly it is and how cool it was when new. Reader Brad M recently sent us photos of his latest barn find and we couldn’t believe it. Parked in this barn, well garage to be exact, Brad discovered what could be one of the coolest AMCs ever built. In 1970 American Motors built a small handful of high-performance Rebels known as The Machine. There were about 2,300 Machines built in total, but only 16 were painted Bayshore Blue and this is one of them!

When you think of muscle cars, AMC usually isn’t the first brand that comes to mind. They were better known for building affordable basic transportation. Top brass had attempted to enter the performance market, but they were quite late to the muscle wars when the SC/Rambler hit the market in ’69, but it proved that they could actually build a real competitor. In hopes of catching more of the young performance-oriented buyers, they decided to roll out another performance car, this time based on the Rebel. Powered by a 340 horsepower 390 V8, a factory stock Rebel Machine could turn out a 14-second quarter mile. Bolt on some performance upgrades from the AMC catalog and you could easily get that time down to 13-seconds, or faster!

For the money, The Machine was a heck of a car. You got a high-performance street car that you could turn into a competitive drag car over the weekend. Today, they are still performance bargains compared to the cars they compete with. Hagerty values a #4 at $20k and a #1 at $60k. Yes, that’s some serious money, but considering the amount of performance and rarity, it isn’t too bad.

From Brad M – I just plucked this all original paint no rust 1970 Rebel Machine out of a barn on Saturday. Already up and driving under its own power. 1 of 16 known in Bayshore Blue. Sat for nearly 30 years. Features the 390 Auto Ram Air Engine. Had it up and running that night on its own tank!

While it isn’t perfect, it cleaned up quite well. The fact that Brad was able to get it running so easily is amazing, but it explains why barn finds like this are so desirable. It’s still going to need some work to be a nice driver, but it can already be driven and enjoyed as is. For some reason, the previous owner installed a non-ram air hood at some point, but thankfully they kept the original and Brad already reinstalled it.

Brad didn’t give us the car’s VIN, so we can’t check to see if it really is a genuine Machine or what options it left the factory with. Other than the wheels, it looks to be the real deal. AMC offered quite a few options for these cars, ranging from the automatic transmission to a “Service Kit” that brought power up to over 400 horsepower! And given that they targeted buyers who liked to change things, it’s not surprising to see some bolt on changes.

This really is an amazing find and would be a blast to own! I like the fact that it’s something different. Attend any car classic car show and you’ll see plenty of Fords, Chevys, and Mopars, but you probably won’t see another AMC Rebel, especially a Machine. This thing will definitely draw crowds everywhere you take it. I sure would love to find an original Machine like this parked in a barn, how about you?

I want to personally thank Brad for sharing his find with us! If you have a cool barn find, we would love to see it. So send your photos and story to mail@barnfinds.com!


  1. Mina

    I appreciated this story and also wanted to give you all a shout out on generally improved narration and editing. This is one of my favorite sites to browse and dream over. Thanks to all.

    Like 28
  2. Michael

    Great find! Enjoy!

    Like 8
  3. Kenneth L Atkinson sr

    I enjoy this site. Memories of so many previously personally owned
    Vehicles bring up a lot of fun times
    In my life.like so many of guys my age(75)seem to have , like these old cars,have just rusted away.
    Thanks for your fine presentations

    Like 17
  4. Dick Johnson

    AMC really tried. Donnie Allison won a few “Turn-LeftCar” races with a very serious sounding coupe, back when racing ‘improved the breed.’

    The drags were occupied by normal enthusiasts before one run cost more than the car they just bought. The show room stock, A/FX, and Super Stock classes brought out the best in racing.

    This car, driven in anger, could hold it’s own. Obviously, a lot of us really miss the purist’s events. Back then, you could actually drive your racer to work the rest of the week. Well, maybe not the A/FXs.

    Like 12
  5. G Keller

    Very cool car! Congratulations!

    Like 5
  6. flmikey

    Brad, please don’t make the same mistake pretty much every reader on this site has done…don’t sell that car!!! Great story, and great car!!!

    Like 15
  7. LAB3

    A friend of mine has a red-white-blue version of the machine. It’s not big on looks but will go every bit as fast as most any other car from this era and draw more question than a belly button (everyone has one) car on cruise night. It’s nice there’s still some affordable cars out there that can run with the big boys!

    Like 11
    • mike D

      from the first shot ( of just the rear) I would have passed it off as just a run of the mill Matador this is an EXCELLENT example! Looks like it has never been ” messed” with .. of course some things may need replacing, but, this is the real deal POSSIBLY just wider tires but that would be it for me ( what I’d do if I bought it new) it would shred the existing tires

      Like 5
  8. Steve R

    Nice car. I really like that you guys are featuring “found” cars.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m always interested in where the cars are found. I understand some seller doesn’t want to give a city, especially if they live in a small town, but it’s a big country with lots of hiding places. Without that one picture of the license plate no one would have a clue this was in Michigan.

    If possible, a little back story as to how the buyer found the car would be nice. Was it found through the classified ads, Craigslist, word of mouth, driving around and looking in open garages? Some people routinely find hidden cars, it’s not by accident, they put a lot of effort into the search. To me, that’s part of the story.

    Steve R

    Like 14
  9. Todd

    Is he going to sell it?

    Like 1
  10. jdjonesdr

    One of my favorites back then. I’d love to end up with it.

    Like 2
  11. gto4ever

    Great story, nice job. That’s what I like about Barn FInds, every once in awhile you get to see a car guy enjoy a great find and share it with those of us who dream about finding them. Can’t always be just about $$$

    Like 12
  12. Rock On

    Original owner probably removed the ram air hood because everyone was afraid to race him!

    Like 10
  13. Del

    30 years rest and its running on gas still in the tank. Why do I find this disturbing ?

    Like 1
    • Scott Tait

      Think what’s meant is running from own tank … not a temporary one … but I don’t think 30+ year old gasoline would be any use?

      Like 1
  14. Rube Goldberg Member

    “Machines” were neat cars, I’m curious why the scoop/tach isn’t in the 1st pictures. It’s what really made the Machine, a Machine. I thought they only came in RWB, but at the reunion in Kenosha, there were a bunch of these, in all colors. I’ll agree with the author, Rambler/AMC took a break from fast cars for a spell( ’57 Rebel was one of the fastest in late ’50’s) to focus on economy, until the late ’60’s, but made up for lost time and gave the Big 3 plenty of headaches with cars like this. Not much of a car, the old man had a ’70 Ambassador 4 door ex-forest ranger car, with a 390 AMX motor in it ( police spec) and it was a tinny cheap car, but could smoke the hides for a block. Cool find.

    Like 5
  15. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Del, I don’t believe it was implied that the buyer had it running on the same gas. “On it’s own tank” means he didn’t need a jerry can to get it to turn over, If it is like any tank installed before, say, 1974, it probably had a drain and he was able to get some liquid nastiness out of it before running a fresh fill into it.

    I created a 70 Rebel “clone” with this same blue interior out of a pedestrian station wagon. Those highback seats were some of the more comfy ones on the market.

    Like 4

    I don’t think its a real MACHINE. It’s missing the machine wheels and the hood screams clone. Need to see the vin and door tag to determine if its real but even then it can be easily faked.

    Like 2
    • MorganW Morgan Winter

      Think you are probably right…I wouldn’t be getting too carried away till there was some extensive double-checking done…

      Like 1
    • Wramblerguy

      Vin a door tag confirmed machine(z code)
      Plus the car came with machine wheels and hood

      Like 1
  17. Beatnik Bedouin

    Neat score. AMC actually built some quick cars that very few noticed.

    We had our annual Nostalgia Drags at the drag strip I’m announcer at, last Saturday, and I was asked by one of our regulars to tell some Lion’s Drag Strip stories (my old ‘home track’). One of my reminiscences was when the local AMC Club got fed up with all the trash talk they were getting by the Royal GTO club and challenged them to a race at Lion’s…

    …Needless to say, the Kenosha Kadillaks kicked some serious backside on the Poncho boys and girls, which surprised everyone at the track that day…

    Like 12
  18. XMA0891

    I was once picking a bone-yard for a part for a far more mundane car, and there on a ridge of dirt was a non-RWB Machine in comparatively-fantastic shape. I kept on walking. I realize everything eventually wears out, but to this day, I still marvel at that find; the fact that there was a time when stuff like this just went to the bone-yard, and that I just kept walking. Another lost opportunity.

    Like 4
  19. Jubjub

    Cool. Hope it’s real. Wonder what the story is on the ‘67-68 Ambassador or Marlin under the cover? Must’ve been special as it had the cover.

    When I was a little kid, back in the late ‘70s, somebody who worked at the local Ayr-Way had a RWB Machine. It was always a treat to me to pass by or thru the parking lot and see it. I also remember the disgust and disappointment I felt when I saw it repainted red, with curly que pinstripes.

    Like 2
  20. gbvette62

    It sure would have been nice to see a picture of what’s under the hood.

    What little I know about AMC’s is pretty much centered around Javelin’s and AMX’s, but I don’t ever recall seeing a Rebel Machine with a woodgrain dash applique. Every one I’ve ever seen, I think had a silver dash panel? I knew a guy in the 70’s, who had a pale green metallic Machine, and I’m pretty sure his had a silver dash.

    I love all of these old AMC’s, the SC/Rambler, The Machine and the Hornet SC/360. There’s a SC/360 for sale near me, but it’s pretty used up after years of being a drag car, and the original power train is long gone.

    Like 3

    The first 1000 Machines were RWB after that you could get any standard Rebel colors. Only draw back to these is weight. 1969 SC/RAMBLER would smoke one of these even with less H.P.

    Like 3
    • Graeme

      Well, the Machine was meant to compete with the Torino, Grand Prix, and GTX, among others. Mid-size cars in the 6o’s were still far from lightweight. And don’t forget, the SC/Rambler had a 315 hp 390. The Machine had a 340 horse 390–not a huge difference.

      Like 1
  22. Ron

    Hope it is real. Over 70 and always loved AMC. first new car was 68 and never knew these existed, the 16 blue I mean, Thought I was through with old ones but this may have just sparked the fire for one more some sort of big block AMC

    Like 3

    Yep…need a under chassie picture….maybe a engine pic….just saying…

    Like 1
  24. Troy s

    AMC gave it their best effort to compete with the big three in the supercar market, give ’em all the credit in the world, but the competition was ferocious even just among the GM guys, let alone Ford and Dodge/Plymouth.
    A good set of period correct mags and decent tires would help the look of this car a bunch, as it is now those wheels aren’t helping the image of this car at all and they look out of place on a car with a hood scoop like this one. If it’s The Machine it’s gotta have some attitude.
    Nice ride.

    Like 1
  25. Noel

    My 68 Rebel 770 was a barn find, but I wasn’t the one to find it. It looks similar to the Machine, but only has the original 290. Great car though. The photo is from the day I bought it.

    Like 4
  26. Marc NYC

    My dream car..(hopefully pic attached) :)

    Like 1
  27. 75 Hurst/Olds

    Saw one in this color at last year’s AMC Homecoming in Kenosha, neat car.

    Like 1
  28. Leon

    Nice find. Nice colour too. Here in Australia we never had any 2-door Rebels, only 4-door sedans and wagons. Ours were RHD. They had some RHD 2-doors in neighbouring New Zealand but no The Machines. Here’s a pic of a 1970 N.Z hardtop Rebel “survivor.”

    Like 0
  29. James

    I’m looking for a 1970 rebel machine Hood scoop James yes

    Like 0

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