This was a reply to someone who mentioned how his wife puts up with his AMC shit. After 26+ years, I'm sure Paige would have liked to reply to this but I did instead.
I tell you what we need is more damned women in the hobby in all aspects. This is something that many clubs and chapters sometimes have a difficult time recruiting. It's not like women never bought or owned, or drove AMC products. They were a formidable buying force as they are today. It's great to see some women like Cheryl Samuel, Mrs. Timmons, Anita Mier, Joan Lukuszewski to name a few AMO Board Members, volunteer their time and expertise to lead a major AMC club. And on local levels, it's great to see more and more women getting involved, whether volunteering for a position in the club like Barbara Nave (ya'll know Barb, she has some awesome iron like 500 Cal 500 AMX, T/A Javelin ect) or even Elda Zinman, one of the driving forces behind the recent huge AMO AMC nationals in AZ. But don't forget those women owners who are actively involved in the hobby, even if just bringing out their cars, or my wife Paige, who has driven many a AMC the past 16 years (she took off to work in the 72 Ambassador SST wagon this morning), all are a extremely important piece of this puzzle of a hobby we call aMC. Some simply support us and roll their eyes when we drag home another piece of shit, rolling their eyes, knowing it makes us happy while pissing off the neighbors and civic organizations, but never thinking to grab the old butcher knife and cut off as Bart said 'the old jimmy!' over it.
What we do need is more women in the hobby, just like more youngsters. This is something I have been adamant about for decades and tried to recruit kids and ladies, by possibly making the local club a little friendlier for them, or even at the big meet here, helping them feel involved, letting them know it ain't a all boys club. There are many a lady that can kick our asses out there on the street and track too, we could go on about Shahan and Muldowney and the doors they kicked opened in the 60s for other women too, but let's stick to AMC and AMC ladies.
Without the support many of the women in our AMC lives, I can tell you from a personal standpoint I would not have owned 292 AMCs or built the vendor aspect I have in 20+ years. And 16+ of that has been with Paige, who quietly behind the scenes has done everything from selling sodas in the 110+ degree heat at the aMC SW Regional, to design my website, to simply pass out a Planet Houston business card on the streets of Houston when someone asks about the AMC Anything she is driving. Wish I could clone her! Yes, that would be twice the bitching, and maybe two sets of Lorena Bobbitt's jimmy cutting shears, but what the heck, I'm a gambling man!
One more thing on ladies in the hobby. I
probably have not been involved in
the hobby as long as some. But my father worked for various AMC dealerships
for 18 years going back into the 60s, so was very familiar with the lots,
and the people who worked there.
If a women came into a dealership, she was often (not always) considered
easy prey. There was a word for this, and I can't remember what my dad used
to call them. He was NOT a salesmen, it was just the word that was used when
a woman was alone. I always thought this double standard was strange too, as
women were not only openly advertised to (AMC was a women friendly car
company, believe me, I have tons of neat in house literature to support
their courting the ladies into management, sales, retail, factories, stock,
and of course selling them cars) but when it was a group of guys in leasure
suits, chomping a cigar, pants maybe one size too small, standing around and
a lady drove up, the puns would fly among themselves. How do I know? Hell, I
was there after school every day for years and heard it all. Of course they
were perfect gentlemen once they were face to face, oh well, I wonder how
much of that has changed at dealerships since the 1940s. So off my
All the major Nash dealers were crowded into a room, given drums, and told
to beat them on cue according to the widow of the owner of the dealership I
would later buy out in the 90s, P. K. Williams on Congress street in Austin,
Texas. She indicated that she never knew why they rounded up the dealers
like this once a year, but spouses were invited, they just could not attend
the meetings, not that they would want to be in there with all those drums
and Cuban cigars. Not sure if that is a pitcher of ice water on the middle
of the table or a pitcher of Stoli. P. K. Williams was one of the highest
volume Nash dealers in Texas. He would morph into Rambler then AMC before
closing. He is pictured directly below the "H" in the "Sell Nash" banner on
the back wall. Ironically, AMC President William V. Luneberg would later say
in 1971: "We want to be recognized as a company that marches to the beat of
it's own drums;" when he was describing AMCs 'philosophy of difference.
To the 50s:
Lois Lane from the Superman series in the early 1950s. Showroom facing
Commerce Street. P. K. Williams dealership,
Austin, TX, circa September 1949. Striking not only in the showroom scene
but also on Commerce street downtown Austin behind and outside the huge
glass panes with lots of old cars, the Travis Hotel, pubs and such showing
life in Austin over 1/2 a century ago!
To the 60s:
This is how they appeared in the mid 1960s. Note the "Rambler Select Used
Cars" sign in the background, flags blowing in the wind, streetlamp is a old
style type. The salesman leaning on the vehicle talking to the pretty red
headed lady sitting in the Rambler Classic two door wants to make a sale! In
the background left to right is a red 67 Rebel, a year unknown light blue
Marlin, just over the rear glass of the red Classic the lady is sitting in
is a gold Rambler, possibly a rogue or American, and immediately behind that
is a light yellow early 60s Rambler, about 8 cars in the photo at this
Rambler Dealership! The photo is 7X10, not 8X10. What is unusual is it is
COLOR, so all the neat cars, shadows, salesmans hat, roof across the street,
everything jumps out at you. For you AMC and Rambler fans who were familiar
with AMC car lots, this photo takes you back into another time. I grew up at
AMC & Rambler dealerships as my father, Homer T. Stakes Sr. worked for AMC
in Corpus Christi, for many years.
Onto the 70s,
note the lady with scratchy, probably metal bottomed purse,
sitting on brand new paint.....
April 1970. AMC was in financial trouble in 1970, suffering a 2nd 1/4 loss
of $10 million or 41 cents per share. This, along with the strike affected
first 1/4, where they incurred a loss of $15.6 million, resulted in a net
loss in the first 1/2 of the fiscal year of a whopping $25 million. (And
people ask why the 70 AMX didn't sell, the 70 Javelin saw only 1/2 of the
production of 69 and the Rebel, including the Machine, was a flop.) The
losses stated above had no benefit of tax credit. The strike mentioned
above, closed the plants for five weeks in the fall, and cost AMC a whopping
$23 million loss and 36,000 vehicles plus interruption of momentum in the
market at a really critical time. AMC also had just bought Jeep for $40
million, so you can see how this all affected AMC. In other words, WE ALMOST
LOST AMC IN 1970. Enter the Gremlin to save the day! That, along with
Hornet, would be AMC's Bread and Butter cars for years, selling really well.
The Gremlin was A MAJOR ATTRACTION at this huge show. Gremlin sales EXCEEDED
SUPPLY and production had to be increased 30% due to consumer demand! Again,
photo is grainy, but looks really great framed, and is 5 1/2 inches high and
10 inches across. Still don't explain why this woman is scratching up the paint.
AMC's last decade, the 1980s........
Walker Brothers AMC & Jeep dealership in Los Angeles, CA. This dealership
spanned BOTH sides of the highway, and while this photo shows the Jeep side
with brand spanking new CJs, across the street is clearly visible a whole
slew of Spirits, Concords, Pacers, Kammbacks, Wagoneers and more Jeep and
also some brand x models like Maverick, Volare!
So AMC realized the buying power and influence of women. But it is still
kind of funny, as for years I was president, vice president, treasurer,
editor and whatnot of the local AMC chapter. To see a woman come to the
monthly meetings was like seeing Sasquatch and it was extremely rare. Not
because we didn't have women members, and 90% of the guys had spouses, it
was just sort of like a dudes club, or guys not out. Maybe none of us guys
would want to go play bridge or do quilts, or soccer and various other
things some of the spouses would do. Never figured it out. Just always
wanted to try to get more women involved somehow.
And when we did the 2001 AMC national meet here in Houston, we had a lot OF
women volunteers, from judging, to running sheets, to helping people park,
to hell, without them, the meet would not have been as smooth as it went and
people STILL talk about how smooth everything went for a National event, so
their silent help was sincerely appreciated.
But I'm not really sure what, or how, to get more women involved in the old
car hobby. This ain't a AMC thing, it is a women thing I guess. Go to many
mixed make swap meets and car shows and the guys outnumber the women easily
and always have. Throw in China the former WWF wrestler in a thong, or
Playboy Playmates (geez, these women don't look nothing like the photos,
thank god for airbrushing photos) or other stuff at many meets like Houston
AutoRama, and the guys numbers swell. In there past few years however some of
these meets have been bringing in the hunks for the ladies like popular soap
stars and this has been a great success too. Not that us guys want to see a
tanned, shirtless fellow signing autographs and ladies swooning. Well,
swooning is ok, you can look at the menu all you want but you damned better
come home for the cooking.
So I guess these organizations recognize what I just said and are willing to
try all sorts of stuff to bring in the female contingent into what has
traditionally been a male only gig, I say it is welcome and overdue, as you
ain't seen anything until you see the Astrodome ISCA show with thousands of
beautiful Texas women walking around. Now if we could just get them to come
to some meetings, even though their favorite soap star won't be there, only
a few of us guys with beer guts, wearing AMC's RULE! shirts we should have
stopped wearing in the 80s!
Overall, it I guess is just a reflection of society, and different tastes
and different strokes for different folks. Paige went with me to about a
dozen monthly meetings in 11 years but has been to all the nationals and
regionals, and helped out more than legally allowed by law. There is one
photo on my website showing how much of a AMC Trooper she is even. The photo
shown here was at the 2001 AMC Nats in Houston, that is one ton of AMC parts
I am unloading. Ok, loaded it Wed, unloaded it Thurs, reloaded it Thurs eve,
unloaded it Fri AM, reloaded it Fri PM, unloaded it Sat AM, reloaded it Sat
PM, unloaded it Sun AM and took the trailer back.
Paige was about 19 days from giving birth to Noah, who was born August 24th,
2001. And the temp when this photo was taken was 95, it would later climb to
100, with 80%+ humidity, making it 'feel like' (you people in the south know
about this heat index) like 107-112 degrees. The temp later in the afternoon
on the ground was 140 degrees for those judges willing to lay on it and look
under cars to judge, we had mats but it was brutal, not this weak crap dry
heat in AZ, this is HEAT, and if your exposed skin touches the ground, might
as well bring out the pico de gallo, tortillas, guacamole, as you have
She called me on the two ways we had and told me to quickly come out as she
felt faint, but we got her into the hotel room and AC quickly, but that was
the only emergency and I still don't know how she did it, as if you have
ever worked a national, it is like 96 hours straight of hard work.
So hats off to the ladies, your first drink is on me, thanks for all of you
who make the hobby more enjoyable for everyone, even if
sometimes, no, most of the time, you never get the recognition you may
receive. It is appreciated. And hopefully your ranks (and youngsters) will
continue to grow as time goes on.
PS: if you have some time, please browse thru my AMC PRESS PHOTOS section, you will see a LOT of women from Miss USA Colleen Hutchins, to Madonna, to surfer girls, to Lee Breedlove, Shirley Shahan, Santa Elf Pacer girl, Angela Dorian, and lots of beautiful ladies AMC hired as models.
So THANKS to all the Women of AMC, they do make a huge difference,
whether in the national, or local clubs, or in our daily lives.