Naming the AMX......
Dick Teague is credited with coining the name "AMX" for American Motors Experimental. In one of his last interviews in Muscle Cars Of The 60s/70s, a now defunct publication from the 1980s (I believe the interview was from 1988 or 89) Teague takes you behind the scenes at American Motors in the names that were tossed around for this new car, but the AMX won out hands down. A short article is here from Hemming's Motor News.
This is a great short article about THE MAN from 1985.
"The AMX also demonstrated how AMC could build new cars on a shoestring budget. By taking a foot out of the Javelin wheelbase and moving the bumper, gas tank, deck lid and rear window forward, Teague and his talented band of designers created an aggressively styled two-seater that was the match of anything the Big Three could offer. The AMX handled, went fast on straights and around corners, had a distinctive and attractive appearance, was (and is) fun to drive and, in sum, was everything a good sports coupe of the time should be."
Here are production
numbers off my website. I have a lot more to load too. While the AMX and
indeed "image builders" for AMC, the numbers when compared to their 'bread
and butter' production cars tell a different story.
The AMX and Javelin might have brought people into the door, but looking at
the numbers, not a lot of people drove off the lot with one either. Some
years better than others. But if AMC could at least get people into the
showroom, again, history will show that they would attempt to sell from
stock. A lot of AMC's marketing techniques still exist on film.
These AMC filmstrips, commercials, movies and such
from the 60s, and 70s, speak more about AMC
than anything I could ever tell you about, whether you wish to believe it or not. It is
historical in fact and the significance is a wonderful glimpse into AMC's
past, who they directed at, who they marketed to, why and how. Really worth
looking at, I have a few of them. It is nice to see these old films again
for nostalgia purposes, but also nice to see them for teaching, as it is
easier to second guess AMC, and what and how they did what they did so many
years ago, on the internet where everyone has a opinion and is a Monday Quarterback. But watching these films, and reading interviews
and autobiographies of those who worked for AMC reveals so much more than
anyone could comment about, myself included, as I don't know everything. I would highly suggest everyone here pick up a December 2003 copy of Collectible Automobile as this NEW issue has a super in depth interview with Chuck Mashigan by noted AMC and Automotive Writer Patrick Foster:
Here is a small, but significant article by My Classic Car, (ok, they deleted it sorry) depending on how
one looks at it, one can determine whether the AMX was a success or not:
Driving Today also has a opinion on the significance of the AMX in 1968 and
a small history lesson to the magazine about a article they did, it is worth
reading, especially those newbies who may not have known who named the AMX,
nor about the dates of the clay model:
The AMX never did hit it's goals. The 70 AMX was a flop with over 1000 of them still languishing on dealership lots in North America one month before the new 71 models would begin production. Dealerships were given incentives to move the slow selling AMXs (and Javelins, which only saw 1/2 production of 1969 model) off the lots as to not affect 1971 sales, of which it did. It's my humble opinion that due to a number of factors, including a general strike by AMC workers which cost America's smallest automaker a staggering 36,000 cars worth of production, the skyrocketing insurance rates for Musclecars, and changing economy and public's demand had a lot to do with AMC's lackluster sales in late 69, all of 70 and into 1971 model year.
It don't matter now as it is Monday Morning Quarterbacking. We love them warts and all. But it is interesting to see how the AMX came about, the research, marketing, and goals of American Motors with this vehicle.
One quick note is that the moniker "AMX" was used in some form
of AMC from 1968 all the way thru 1980. And 1981 if you include the PPG Turbo Racecar!
That's right, and to confuse AMC fans, while production of "AMX"s stopped in the
US in 1974, it continued on in Mexico with VAM built Matadors, then resumed with the
Hornet in US/Canada production in 1977. T
o see more, visit my PRESS PHOTOS.
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