Turbines and Flares: 1979 AMC AMX

Not intended for wallflowers: that could have been the marketing tagline for the extreme AMC AMX, like this 1979 model featured here. Wearing possibly the most aggressive factory body kit of the era, the AMX channeled its IMSA and road course pedigree via this wild cosmetics and handling package, and this example here on eBay also features the optional V8. Bidding is just under $5K with the reserve unmet. 

The AMX package also consisted of “Turbocast II” aluminum wheels, white-letter radials, black out trim, an integrated rear spoiler and front air dam, and the aforementioned firmed-up suspension. While the actual horsepower numbers didn’t jump, performance was respectable whether you opted for the venerable 4.2L inline-six or the optional 304 V8 like this car has. The seller says performance is brisk, and that it runs / pulls well.

Inside, the interior is holding up quite well, with the the vinyl bucket seats presenting nicely along with an uncracked dash. The AMXs also came with an optional gauge package, seen in the lower center console, but the seller notes some gauges aren’t working at present. Someone has added a fairly tacky large tachometer on the A-pillar, but those are easily removed. A floor shift automatic was another feature associated with the AMXs.

The engine bay is the messiest part of this car, looking a bit like a rat’s nest – surprising considering how tight the rest of the car appears. The air cleaner is also missing and is not included with the sale, but the original A/C components are said to still be present. Overall, finding an AMX in any sort of condition is a challenge, much less one that retains most of the components that made it an AMX to begin with. Will this one clear its reserve price?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. JACKinNWPA Jack in NW PA Member

    I like it but a 4BBL and four speed would be just the kicker!

  2. Gunner

    Very cool AMC. Those wheels mixed with the appearance package really make it stand out. It would be better if it had a third petal, but I would say a pretty uncommon car. Yes, that engine bay needs addressed. My Dad had one of these for a time. Same color too. You would definitely start some conversations with it.

  3. glen

    Quick search says a whopping 125hp, and 220 ft/lbs torque.

  4. Todd Fitch Staff

    Pretty racy – and it’s got the V8. Of course it’s from an era when few V8s made more than 200 HP, but they still sound great. It would be interesting to do a “stock-appearing” version with the tin valve covers and a built 304. The automatic kills it for me but could still be entertaining for stock-appearing drags or just to drive around.

    • PoPPaPork

      Out of curiosity, what domestic v8 made over 200hp in 1979? I dont mean to be rude just cant think of any, this car has around 120hp

      • ChevyTruckGuy

        Corvette’s optional L82, 350ci V8, made 225hp in 1979.

        Like 1
      • Todd Fitch Staff

        1979 Trans Am W72 400 engine 220-hp, 1979 Ford 460, 230 hp, 1979 Chevrolet 454, 245 horsepower, 1979 Dodge V8 440 225 horsepower, maybe more. Pretty sad to see those numbers. I think ’78 was the last year of the Cad 500 and it made 185 HP. Of course those big blocks still made some juicy torque but it wasn’t until the mid to late 80s that things started to get interesting again.

        Like 1
      • Steve

        It was all about torque in the late 70’s till the early 90’s. For comparison sake: I have a 3rd gen Camaro with a big cam (230hp/300tq) 5 liter TPI and a 5 speed, and I had a 1979 T/A with a W72 (6.6 liter 220hp/320tq) and a 4 speed. My 2015 6 speed TDI (150hp/236tq) Jetta had a similar red line and rev range as these big V8’s

        This was an important car. Here’s a cool video:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQqysjI9gM4

  5. Howard A Member

    This is actually a very important car. I read, it was the last AMC car to have a factory installed V8. 1980, the only engine was the 6. I’m not sure why there’s a dash mounted tach, when there’s a factory tach. I’m sure you could find another. No air cleaner, again, and rat’s nest wiring tells me this is going to be a project. Nice car, except the color, of course. Be a hit at shows, the last AMX.

    Like 1
  6. edh

    Plasticy gremlin

    • AMXSTEVE

      It’s not a Gremlin it’s a SPIRIT. These cars were very successful on the IMSA circuit and won many races. Handling was superb and the 258 six was a better option in these cars.

      A 401 would be the better option

      Like 2
  7. Dolphin Member

    Factory??

    When I saw the pics I thought this was boy racer.

  8. Mike H. Mike H

    While these things look a bit like a caricature of a performance car, they also look surprisingly aggressive, and the look has aged well. This is a really nice looking example, and if it weren’t for a few red flags (and the lack of a third pedal) I’d be placing a bid and stalking it right now.

  9. LaBaron

    I had one of these with the 6 banger and 4 wheel drive. Was fantastic in the snow! I assume this one is only rear wheel drive.

    • AMXSTEVE

      You had an SX4, not an AMX

      Like 1
  10. Christopher

    The 304 was strangled by smog equipment. You can good hp out of them with the right carb/cam/exhaust set up.

    Like 1
  11. XMA0891

    I have a soft spot for these. This is a nice car! I am by no means an expert, and do not want to nit-pick, but I have, never seen one in this color, or with a “backed-out” front grille “ring” and badge.
    The wiper switch appears to be missing – They were a notoriously poor design and always broke off the stem.
    Classic eaxmple of a rare-does-not-make-it-valuable vehicle.
    Good luck also finding someone outside of The AMC Circle that knows what you’re driving. “My friend had an ‘Eagle’ just like that…”
    God Bless You AMC.

    Like 1
    • AMXSTEVE

      Black was a factory color. I have seen more black than any other color. Yellow is rare but red, white and baby blue were other options.

      Like 1
  12. roland schoenke

    dropping the power gobbling smog parts and a shift kit will round out that survivor nicely.

  13. Kent Morris

    This car is more of a project than it would first appear. The seller was more straightforward on the phone regarding the condition before he placed it on eBay.

    Pros: the difficult-to-find body parts are on the car or in his possession, the car does run and drive

    Cons: the carpet and many interior items will need replacing, most of the gauges don’t work and the engine will most likely need serious attention

    If the goal is to make it road worthy, this car has a way to go.

    Research shows the brown is most likely a 1981 color and will need work anyway, so it should go back to black.

    The seller seems to be an honest guy who needs to find this often-owned car a permanent home.

    Like 1
  14. Kent Morris

    Update: the current seller is not the person in Minera Wells with whom I conversed. He is in San Antonio and is flipping it. Again, it is a workable project, but it is not a turn-key car.

  15. AMXSTEVE

    I don’t see a brown car in these pics.

    Like 1
    • Kent Morris

      It’s brown and there is significant rust present as well in the usual spots.

      • TC

        So dark black brown or dark Smokey color..? Floor pans rusted? Also seems like he removed it because of lack of interest or someone local bought it…

  16. Madmatt

    My uncle had an 79?Amx back in about 81,it was yellow,
    and I think it had louvered window covers,was a very sharp car,
    of coarse at 14 years years old everything impressed me!

    Like 1
  17. Harry401

    I have one. Original owner bought in 1979. I am in the middle of an overhaul with it and it will have to wait till my 73 Matador 401 tunnel ram is finished. Almost all the work is done just needs engine/trans and interior installed. 360 .060 over balanced and Bprinted with Eddy heads. 998 trans pro built with 10″ converter. 9″ rear from a Granada (bolt in) with Strange center and Detroit locker and 3.73s. Full cal trac mono leaf suspension and Too too much more to list but it will make 475hp and at 2800 pounds will eat most any new “musclecar” for breakfast at least for the first 1/8 mile.

    Like 1
  18. Steve

    NICE!!! Just bought one last summer. Running 304, 4 pedal switched out prior to auto…… that will change in the rebuild. Needs floor pan but the rest is pretty much rock solid. Planning on 450+ HP with a 4speed. Will be a fun project!!

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