The Keith Freudenthal Lost AMX Collection
When I moved to Houston in 1983, Keith was one of the first people I met as he was active in the old Greater Houston Classic aMX (defunct) club. Keith was a tall skinny buy who I used to tell him he was so skinny he only had one side. His nickname with the club guys was scarecrow, but I called him Drug Lord as he was a pharmasist b ytrade and worked at a place called Monterrey Pharmacy for many, many years. Almost too much I used to give him shit about working so much as he rarely had time to fool with his AMC cars. He had a 69 Big Bad Orange AMX, 390 4speed, 70 Big Bad Blue AMX 360, AT, a 66 1/2 Rogue 290 4speed and a 73 AMX 401. He had some others but the 69, 70 and 66 were extremely nice. He also owned a Super Stock AMX he found while making a wrong turn in Collecge Station to visit his son up at Texas A&M. We thought it was fate, as wrong turn, there is SS/AMX sitting in front of old car lot with HOT!!! on the windshield.
He bought that SS/AMX but never did anything with it, I used to tell him sell it to me, I would fix it up, but he wanted to hold onto it. At the time it used to ist in a lean to in Galleria area in Houston and I worked at Dirty's a mile away so he would come by to have a beer. Good guy, sometimes we would hook up to go to the Houston Pick A Parts and strip AMC cars.
He was active in the Houston Greater Classic AMX Club, later to become the American Motors Club of Houston , holding several positions as a Officer.
Keith passed away in Houston in 2006, he was 70 years old. I had not seen him in 10 years, but had spoke with him a number of times on phone, the last time I saw him he was living on east side near Cloverleaf area, with a shitload of dogs, his cars mostly idle, not driving them anymore, some covered with dust, others outside sitting in the Houston weather.
In 2015 I got a call from a restoration shop in Texas as the guy said he found me on internet and wanted to see if I was interested in some cars. Since I specialize in AMX & Javelin (having owned almost 400 of them since 1976) I asked him what all did he have. He said 4 AMXs. So got my attention as I had in 2013 just bought 4 AMXs from a couple who had sold their property and so I had picked up their collection. We started talking and he told me these cars at one time belonged to Keith. I said 'Keith Freudenthal?' he said yes he used to restore Keith's cars back in the day. What happened was in 1996 Keith took 4 AMXs up to him, a 73 AMX 401/AT in light yellow (only 1420 73 AMXs produced with a 401, this was the only one in F4 Daisy Yellow I have ever documented) a 68 AMX red, this is the rollover car, and two 69 AMXs both 390s, one in red, white and blue. The shop had restored Keith's cars thru the years, really good job as guy knew his shit and Keith's cars would be shown at Houston 5 Star ISCA show Autorama at Astrodome.
Well, Keith died in 2006 and the restoration guy 'never heard from him' and pushed the 4 AMXs out back. Time, weather, and especially Texas vegetation took their tool on all four cars and trees grew up thru them, vines, critters living in them. The 73 AMX still had it's plastic factory seat cover in back, see photos below. The cowl induction air cleaner rusted to side, windows open, the rollover AMX still showing the scars from when it broke from Keith's trailer and flew thru field rolling several times. I could not get close enough to document the other two including the r/w/b AMX as machetes were no match for the vines and poison ivy. And there was a territorial possum hissing in the rollover AMX.
NONE OF THE CARS ARE RERSTORABLE.
It's my understanding Keith's sons each got one of his cars after he died, the oldest got the 69 big bad orange AMX; the middle son got the 70 big bad blue AMX and youngest got the 66 1/2 Rogue Amerncan. I have never seen any of these cars in Houston area since early 1990s so not sure those young men still live in this area, or might not have shared Keith's passion and sold the vehicles off long ago.
The Super Stock AMX he sold to Randy Guynn and in 'gentlemans agreement' they had, Keith was supposed to have first choice if Randy ever decided to sell the car. Randy sold the car to someone up in northeast for several thousand dollars and a nice 69 AMX and Keith was pissed off and we had to seperate them at a local club meeting! Only time I had ever seen Keith PISSED off, looked like Squidward with veins all sticking out of head. Anyway that car never seen again was called Brand X and is probably in the SS/AMX Registry Mike Weaver runs
It is Super Stock #42. It wore a variety of badges thru years, was sold new at Dick Steele West Valley Rambler (also Dick Steele Motors) in Reseda, California and raced under Jim Johnson where it was National Champion in Division VII Super Stock! Later it would be called AMXcutioner; AMXterminator; The American Way & Brand amX.
This is a EXTREMELY RARE page from Keith on finding that SS/AMX, this is from early 1980s, sorry for condition but it is decades old
This is some of the photos of Keith's SS/AMX...
Dick Steele original ad for Super Stock AMX. $2450.00 quit drooling
The above first two photos is when the car was being campainged by Dick Steele Rambler, the last two photos of ads fro the dealership. Check out those prices.
SS/AMX #42 being run as "The AMXcutioner photos above.
These two photos above is as Keith found the car in this racing configuration with this paint job. You can see what he went ape shit over the wrong turn find.
This car is somewhere in the northeast, long gone, not for sale.
Anyways, I have some photos of Keith with the club (and me) will eventuall post here from 1980s. Keith was a good guy, had a wry sense of humor, and one of those folks as long as I have been in the hobby (going back to when these fucking cars WERE NEW) I have to put Keith way up there with his love of the cars and enthusiasm of everything AMC. He always was available to help out at meetings, sometimes picked up people's tabs, and helped out at the AMC South West Regional when that was a vibrant and well attended meet.
Speaking for myself I will miss him as he was overall really nice guy and a AMC guy to boot. If his sons ever read this you had a wonderful dad who loved ya'l a hell of a lot as he spoke highly of ya'll and had great plans for all of you, I do not know what these plans consisted of but always thought it meant college. So I hope you boys doing well in life. I considered him a friend.
There are some of the photos I took
of the "KEITH FREUDENTHAL LOST AMX COLLECTION" with some comments on each photo.
Again, NONE OF THESE CARS ARE RESTORABLE.
The rollover AMX. This 68 Keith was towing home on tow dolly when it simply came loose, blew thru field and rolled several times. Keith, who sometimes was 'the absent minded professor' did not even notice the car was missing! He got home, and discovered it "gone" and retraced his route. By then the cops had hauled it off, but he didn't know this. The car sat at a storage lot and as storage lots do after a month, auction off cars. The guy that bought this had a insider working at the lot who said "hey I got a Javelin here no title it you want it cheap" and so the guy bought it for $150.
In a even stranger twist Keith who had been taking his cars to this restoration shop for many years, "his" car showed up at the restoration shop! Small world. No longer Keith's but guy offered it to Keith for what he paid for it. Keith bought it, and well, it sat there as shown.
And sat. In this time frame Keith had brought 3 of his other AMXs over, and those three inside. You can see the roof caved in on this. Really rough car, but remember it was a rough car shell to begin with, would have been a great race vehicle.
Front angle of the rollover AMX. While checking this out my son heard a 'hsssssss' inside the car and jumped back thinking rattlesnake. No, big ass fat possum sitting inside car like he owned it, and he did own it.
This is the WTF AMX, I believe it is a 69. A sort of Maxi Blue color and the 390 still in it. We could not chop enough to get it freed.
This is a 73 AMX with 46,000 original miles. It is the only F4 Daisy Yellow 73 AMX I have ever seen. Only 1420 73 AMXs were shoved thru Kenosha line in 72/73 for 73 production. This is a original "C" & "Z" code car, nicely optioned. Does not mean shit now but at time this would have been a real LOOKER. The car had some strange blue white paint on it. The roof of car above windshield caved in as I believe (am doing from meory) a tree fell on it during a tropical storm or hurricane we had here.
No windshield, windows down, doomed this rare car. This is original VIN still in dash, I took this photo for no apparant reason.
Looking inside the 73 AMX (I took most photos of this car simply because of salvagable parts) you see the Rally Pack, tilt column, Am/FM radio, console. Look closer and can barely see the light yellow inside upper door, while outside is cheap crappy white paint job from 1980s.
Inside the 73 AMX.
Ok, inside the 73 AMX. This photo will make many a AMC fan cry. AMC used to put plastic on their seats on these AMXs & Javelins (also Ramblers, Ambassadors, rebels & Matadors) to protect them these seats left the factory this way. That is the ORIGINAL clear plastic on rear seat! Note the star pattern like + on it. A battered by time shop manual on the seat, some front & rear glass trims, this was one of the saddest photos, as I think about those Kenosha workers who built this car many, many years ago.
On the roof of the 73 AMX was piled some of the parts from it. The Group 15 AMC Police spotlight in foregrond was mine. I sold Keith a 73 Los Angeles police car in 1991 as he wanted the powerful 360/4barrel/727 setup out of it. He was going to pull the police speedometer, this spotlight and twin grip rear end for me while he parted out rest of car. He lived on far east Houston, I was (at time) west Houston. And due to him working all the time and my odd night hours with the bars I was running, we simply never hooked up.
This is another angle of one of the two 69 AMXs we could not get to. You can see why as the poison ivy, thorns and weeds prevented this. This car still had engine and barely accessable to that.
This is the only photo I have of the red, white and blue AMX 69 which too, was not accessable. I don't believe this car was a SS/AMX or would have made a little bit more effort in the heat and machete to get to it. Looking at the radiator support it appears that it might have once been Castillian Grey or Black Mink Metallic. Both rare colors for 1969, few AMXs (hell, few anyting) was painted Black Mink Metallic as AMC would screw you for another $56 SURCHARGE even though it was regular production color. Didn't matter if you a cop, police agency, whoever, still got the little fee as we know them now. So jury out on this one.
Frazzell AMC had dealerships thru Houston & Galveston back in the day and sold a number of American Motors and Rambler cars. They mostly known for the Gremlin Mini Wagons sold out of the Galveston location. This was not some cheap emblem. When you bought a AMC or Rambler from them, you got this solid metal 10 oz bar emblem with little whale guy on it. However if you bought a used car from them, then you got a decal,or plastic emblem. The photo above taken with flash.
This photo no flash on the Frazzell emblem.
This is the 73 AMX with 46K miles engine, the 401 still below pine needles. That is a original flapper assembly there, shorty 9 inch lid, base, but all shot and rusty. A York Tecumseh proudly sits in foreground on the 401. The car had sat here for well over 10 years no hood. Some of the cars have pine trees that are 50-60 feet now in, around or thru them. Read that again, thru them. To move some of these cars would be a real task, sawing down some big trees. The guy wants to move and as I write this, said he will haul the cars off to scrap if I do not buy them. He has a really nice 60s truck inside his garage (inherited that one too as never heard from customer again and been 7 years!!) and a 63 Vette also, and next to those is a mess of trophies he won back in the day at big shows with the Vette, now the trophies all piled on side, rats eating on them and so forth.
I really wish that some, if not all, of these cars had been at least covered by tarp, lean to, maybe pole barn, something instead of unceremoniously shoved out back where nature claimed them. But I also understand the shop's point as like many of you know, if your AMC goes to a shop, if they can't find the parts, (transmissions come to mind, or sheetmetal) they will push your car out back due to limited space, or stalls. And they will work on cars easier to fix, get them in, get them out, not taking up space inside as taking up space inside will cost the place money.
Keith would have probably understood the situation here. Overwhelming a shop with 4 cars is extreme. But Keith also would pay good money to have his cars restored by this place of which had done good for him thru years. Keith, fro a personal perspective, I will miss you my friend and God Bless You & family even though you died many a year ago, I think about the cool times our paths did cross, trips to junkyards, chatting bullshit at AMC club meetings, and your enthusiasm at Autoramas where you were more than happy to spend time chatting with people about the AMC cars in the club display.