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1968 AMC AMX 4-door exploration


Mahoning63
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Excellent article recently posted on Hemmings shows a 4-door Javelin and 2 door sport wagon, both of which got me thinking about possibilities and a 4 door AMX came to mind. In order to use Hornet sedan's inner door structures I concluded that the car would have had to sit on a roughly 2 inch longer wheelbase than Javelin's 109.

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2019/12/18/rogues-ramblers-rebels-and-more-fred-hudsons-tenure-at-american-motors/

 

 

 

 

1968 AMC AMX Sedan 111 WB.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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Original intent of the AMX was to be a two seater competition to the Corvette. The four seater  AMX came later as competition to the "Pony" cars of the Trans Am series. Hundreds of pounds lighter  than the Mustangs, Cameos, and Firebirds, and reinforced for Trans am racing, it was very under-rated due to lack of AMC having a big advertising budget to match the big three. And it had the largest back seat of the pony cars, without a drive shaft hump in the middle. That was much appreciated in my dating days ! ;) 

 

And AMC was helping support their race car building fans, not just the big track teams like Rodger Penske. They put out a book, sold through the dealerships, of how to modify their cars for four different levels and types of racing competition, for engine, drive line, and suspension.  Along with info where to get AMC compatible after market performance parts, what AMC parts can be swapped from their other models, or bought  through the dealers for race prep. I still have my copy. And they had quite good engineering hiding under the hood. Such as, their stock V8 dog-leg port heads could flow 50% more than the Chevy heads of the time, which needed a lot of expensive porting work to come close.

 

As for all frumpy, AMC had a few "sleeper" muscle cars in the 60's that held their own.  And some of their styling was actually not meant to be street sexy. It was meant to get homologation  for the race track. Things like, everyone complained about the look of the "bug eyed" Matadors, but those big head light sockets sticking out in front were designed to have the lights removed in race use for ram-air induction to the carburetor.

 

Paul

P1010006.JPG

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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You're welcome Walt. 

 

I think the sedan's body looks too stretched in  relation to hood and the 2-door AMX looks too scrunched. With a 3 inch longer axle-dash and lowered air dam I think the aero sedan comes into proportion though it needs quad headlamps and a more serious look up front. Would have been a car for the higher end of the market... Jaguar XJ. 

 

The mid-engine AMX would have been an awesome racer.

 

http://www.amx-perience.com/articles/AMX3.php

 

1968 AMC AMX Sedan 114 WB lowered fascia.jpg

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REMEMBER THAT THE ORIGINAL 2 SEAT  AMX'S WERE ONLY A  2 & 1/2 YEAR PRODUCTION RUN WITH THE '68 BEING THE HALF YEAR. The one pictured in the factory photo is more Javelin in appearance having a Javelin Gill and Engine Hood. That being said the AMX from '71 on were Javelin's with the AMX Badge. Later the AMX Badge was on several other AMC's none of which were 2 seat. There were 2 door 4 seater Javelins made in ''68 that shared the Doors, Bumbers windows and other such with items as the '68 AMX. 

 

Less then 7,000 68' AMC AMX made and less then 20.000 made in the 2 and a half years.

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The fact that the original AMX went out of production soon after intro mostly likely means it was a money-loser even though folks paid 30% more than Javelin. A 4-door that commanded 100% more than Javelin might have sold as many and wouldn't have cost much more to build so might have been profitable.

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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Four door Avantis are one of my least favorites (and I love the Avanti.) We Americans have a bias against four doors, though. I'm not aware of any domestic four door muscle cars from the '60's or 70's that were marketed as such. The Australians, on the other hand, made the Falcon (one of their most notable muscle cars) in four door GT versions, I think.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, Doug Novak said:

REMEMBER THAT THE ORIGINAL 2 SEAT  AMX'S WERE ONLY A  2 & 1/2 YEAR PRODUCTION RUN WITH THE '68 BEING THE HALF YEAR. The one pictured in the factory photo is more Javelin in appearance having a Javelin Gill and Engine Hood. That being said the AMX from '71 on were Javelin's with the AMX Badge. Later the AMX Badge was on several other AMC's none of which were 2 seat. There were 2 door 4 seater Javelins made in ''68 that shared the Doors, Bumbers windows and other such with items as the '68 AMX. 

 

Less then 7,000 68' AMC AMX made and less then 20.000 made in the 2 and a half years.

Actually the 71 and later AMX weren't just a "badged" Javelin. They had a lot of changes over the Javelin. The Javelin had a 6 cylinder and three on the tree trans as standard. All other engines were an option. And drum brakes all around.

 

With the AMX the 304 V-8 was standard, 360 and 401 engines optional. Disc brakes front and drums rear. Rear entry air scoop cold air induction hood with special air filter housing, tall rear spoiler and a short front spoiler were also standard (mine in the picture is a larger custom fiberglass  airdam type spoiler).  The front grill was different and the turn signals were moved to that grill, rather than under the front corners of the Javelin.  The AMX could have the optional 4 spd Warner and the "go package" which included HD springs, "tick-tac" tachometer/clock, posi rear, and some other performance goodies.

 

And there were few cars that could fit 10 inch tread front and 14 inch tread rear tires compliantly under the fenders without special off set rims or changes to the rear axle, to keep it street legal. That's the widths of the Goodrich T/A's on mine in the picture.  

 

Paul

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2 hours ago, JamesR said:

I'm not aware of any domestic four door muscle cars from the '60's or 70's that were marketed as such.

 

b1e3db7b41f1873a2c306ba518978f41.jpg

 

And yes, Olds actually built ten 442s with fours doors in the 1964 model year - three base F-85s and seven F-85 Deluxe models.

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Interesting that that grill of the 4 door Javelin dated for '67 has the target, which didn't come out until '69. I was under the impression that was added later to better define the sporting intention of the cars name after launch, but it seems it was on earlier examples.

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5 hours ago, Mahoning63 said:

I think the key would have been for AMC to sell sophistication more than muscle. Radials, 4-wheel disc brakes and ideally, independent rear suspension and fuel injection. They were doomed head-to-head against Big 3.

AMC had to find an avenue to differentiate their cars or at least a halo model from the Big 3.  Sophistication was becoming a viable avenue to do so by the late 1960's - early 1970's when affluent customers were increasingly turning to English and European imports to satisfy their taste.  A 'what if' exercise ask us to scrape the rust off our imagination and consider what other such avenues might have been pursued.  Its a worthwhile mental exercise to keep creative juices flowing.   With the growing acceptance of sport sedans, a four door 'coupe' AMX could have been just the ticket to enliven the AMC showroom.   Imagine the contrast of one with a humble Rambler American across the showroom floor...

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9 hours ago, WQ59B said:


Might want to check your references.
Also, that linked article is loaded with factual errors.

Sorry, friend had a 55 300 years ago and made the claim.  Search for picture of a 55 300, came up with pix that turned out to be an Imperial.   Search for four door muscle cars came up with that link. Factual errors?  So does that mean none of those were four door muscle cars ?

 

Paul 

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On 12/23/2019 at 6:10 PM, 8E45E said:

Here is the 1967 AMX III station wagon version: https://en.wheelsage.org/amc/amx/61362/pictures/q8uvf4/

 

Thanks for providing, Craig. Prompted me to do some digging and found a good article on the wagon. Says it was on 109 wb so I double checked my image comparisons and was wrong about Javelin doors sitting back 2 inches vs Hornet, they are at same location relative to rear axle. Which means a 4 door would also use the 109 chassis, which means pitch my 111 wb cars. Was in process of creating a notchback sedan based on Javelin to run that option out, will post soon and also show how AMX can be easily created from Javelin because they share the same decklid and backlight.

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/article/amcs-stylish-javelin-and-amx-station-wagons/

 

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Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Visiting now over, time to kick back.

 

Here's follow-up to my last note starting with Javelin on 109 wb.

 

Next is AMX on 12 inch shorter wb with unique  rear quarter stamping including sail panel along backlight and decklid. Not sure if roof stamping was unique or derived from Javelin stamping.

 

4-door AMX on 109 wb easily created from coupe. Would use Javelin roof.

 

Final image, a notchback sedan, sits on 109 wb and increases Javelin's roof length and rear overhang by 3 inches to balance the proportions and perhaps increase rear legroom. New floorpan would have been good opportunity to incorporate independent rear suspension and lower the load floor, ideally with spare in well below floor and fuel packaged under rear seat like today's cars. Was anyone thinking along these lines back then? 

 

The dimensions of the last car are very similar to Gen 1 Jag XJ sedan. With a leather interior and high level of craftsmanship it could have legitimately competed.

 

1968 2 Door 109 WB Javelin.jpg

1968 2 Door 97 WB AMX.jpg

1968 4 Door 109 WB AMX.jpg

1968 2 Door 109 WB Javelin 4 door 3 roh.jpg

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There was lots of interchangeability with AMC's small cars and several models that could have been made in addition to the 4 door cars above. Had fun creating this 4 door Gremlin on Hornet's 108 wb. First image is Gremlin on 96 wb. Second shows Hornet doors overlaid onto stretched Gremlin chassis. Pretty good fit, rear doors needing only minor alternation. Final image shows how it all could have looked. Would have used Hornet Sportabout's folding rear seat.

 

The Gremlin could have greatly benefited from FWD because it would have allowed a much lower rear load floor with spare hidden in well packaged between the rear wheels.

 

Javelin front fenders/hood/BFG could have mated to Gremlin as demonstrated by this project that recreates Gremlin show car.

 

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2015/07/02/amx-gt-redux-popular-concept-car-in-the-midst-of-re-creation/

 

 

 

1970 AMC Gremlin 96 WB.jpg

1970 AMC Gremlin 108 WB Hornet Doors.jpg

1970 AMC Gremlin 108 WB.jpg

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Those long rear quarter panels and lower rear roof line, looked cool, but were not good for more than two adults. And right side visibility was reduced.  Had a few of them back then.

 

My Father's Gremlin didn't have much room in the back seat. It was more a kid's sized seating area than for adults.  And storage space behind the seat was a joke.  A four door Gremlin would have been more livable with.  He was happier when he switched to a Hornet wagon.  The Hornet was not a lot longer, but it had better rear seat room, much more storage room in back and about the same gas mileage, even though he ordered it with the bigger 258 6 cylinder than his Gremlin's 232. Even my Hornet hatch back had more room and visibility, and being very light weight, it didn't lose much mileage with the 304 V8 than the 6's. The wife's Spirit hatch back had the same small back seat area problem of the Gremlin, but more storage behind the seat. But, being a two-door it was still tough getting kids into a child's seat strapped into the back seat.

 

The upswept roof of the 71 and later Javelins and AMX made for better head room for adults in the rear seat. Of the early 70's "Pony" cars, the Javelin/AMX had the most rear seat room and a good sized trunk. And the long doors made getting into the back seat easier than it's smaller AMC two door brethren.  

 

Paul

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That's great info, thanks. Seems Gremlin's poor visibility is now accepted for many crossovers. And my wife's Vibe.

 

With its 6 inch shorter rear overhang AMC never found a good home for Gremlin's spare. My wife drove her parents late 70's Subaru sedan for a while, was the car I learned to drive stick on. It had a flat 4 and FWD and the spare was mounted on top of the engine. So how about a Gremlin flat 6 with spare on top? Could have still been RWD.  Another solution would have been Toronado's FWD layout, which would have allowed a flat floor front and rear and the spare packaged under floor behind the rear seat. Could have still come with a V8. But AMC would have been into a major tear-up, probably not something they could have afforded.

 

The Hornet Sportabout and Hatchback bring to mind Fred Hudson's Rogue Sport Wagon concept shown at link in original post. Maybe a 4 door Javelin Sport Wagon was an opportunity. Like Hornet would have been called Sportabout to avoid the wagon connotation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968 4 Door 109 WB Javelin Sportabout.jpg

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AMC's wagon concept (first image) points to a very interesting opportunity... a sporty 4-door hatchback/wagon. Because the wagon concept looks a bit utilitarian I can't help but come back to the 109 wb AMX 4-door except now ditching Javelin's notched backlight/decklid for a hatchback that fills in the notch, following the roofline to the back.

 

Inside AMC's wagon concept notice a predictive feature: rear head restraints. These could have been included in the green AMX 5-door.

 

To visually lower the front have removed the power bulge and added a spoiler.

 

Even without an independent rear suspension I think this car could have helped change the perception people had of AMC, and because of its broader market appeal may well have driven stronger sales and pricing than the 97 wb AMX 2-door. If AMC could have only afforded one in-house entry this might have been a good choice, a mid-engine AMX sports car built in Italy and the Javelin supporting the racing program.

 

361881.jpg

 

 

1968 AMC Javelin 5-Door Liftback 109 WB.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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Looking at the broad sweep of AMC's activities in the 10 year period beginning with 1968, the theme seems to be that the traditional  small cars weren't selling anywhere near what they had been in the early Sixties. Nothing was hitting the mark, not even Javelin and Hornet, though noteworthy on the latter the 2 door hatchback and 4 door wagon were the most popular body styles, which suggests that buyers wanted utility. Speaking of which, Gremlin had a few good years but with its compromised package not the kind of volume that was going to sustain the company.

 

My conclusion is that AMC was offering too many cars, and more specifically that AMC was spreading its available capital too thin such that none of its cars were able to disrupt the market in any significant way. This and Hornet's body style take rates makes me wonder what life would have been like had AMC made as its backbone two cars, the first the rear wheel drive AMX 5-door hatchback and the second, a 5-door Gremlin with an all-new underbody highlighted by front wheel drive "borrowed with pride" from Toronado. The first would have been the pricing play, the second the volume play and both dialing in a pricing/volume mix that led to healthy profit.

 

With these cars as the base, the company would have needed to be very careful about additional models even if they were simply derivatives. Maybe a short wheelbase 3-door AMX and Gremlin, both with Gremlin's skimpy rear seat. Definitely an Italian-sourced mid-engine car because that investment would have come out of Marketing's budget and helped the entire company. No Javelin, the company was late to the party anyway. And no Hornet, the  5-passenger AMX and Gremlin attacking that space from the top and bottom.

 

Here's the Gremlin nice and clean without the power bulge hood. Imagine with a longitudinal Six (and maybe a Four derived from it), front wheel drive, flat floor with no transmission hump, fuel safely under rear seat and spare nicely tucked away behind beam rear axle in a covered well under the load floor. Smart, functional and with no direct competition until Rabbit. THAT might have sold by the hundreds of thousands annually and made AMC lots of money, with no need for Pacer and other silliness.

 

EDIT: took 3 inches off front overhang to balance with short rear overhang. Might have restricted engine choices to a Four and V8 unless they could have figured out how to package the Six.

 

 

1970 AMC Gremlin 108 WB Alt 2 3 short roh.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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Here's a try at 3-door derivatives of the 5-door cars that might have had broader appeal than AMX and Gremlin because the 108/109 wheelbase would be shortened by 6 instead of 12 inches. A 102 wb Gremlin would still be compact but rear legroom would be greatly improved and no 2 seater option would be offered. It would be offered on the 103 wb Javelin coupe to give racers the opportunity to remove weight, while a 4 seater with the familiar pathetic Gremlin rear seat would be standard. AMX name would be used for the mid-engined car, Javelin for the RWD series and Gremlin for the FWD series. Five cars total.

 

1970 AMC Gremlin 3-door Liftback 102 WB 3 short roh.jpg

1968 AMC Javelin 3-Door Liftback 103 WB.jpg

Edited by Mahoning63 (see edit history)
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