Blogs at Amazon

« Nissan Altima 3.5SE | Main | 1976 Plymouth Gran Fury 440 »

1979 AMC AMX



In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Pontiac Trans-Am was one of the most exciting muscle cars around. It was one of the best-handling and quickest cars around, and its breathtaking looks, complete with special wheels, special badging, emblems, stripes, and the hallowed fire-breathing "Flaming Chicken" hood sticker made it a legend. The Trans-Am, like Burt Reynolds's Bandit, lived and breathed pure 1970s-era machismo.

Like the Chevy Monza Spyder and Royal Knight El Camino, the AMC AMX of 1979-1980 tried to capture the Trans-Am's magic by emulating the sizzle while ignoring the steak.

The original AMX of the 1960s was a truly legendary supercar; its combination of compact size and powerful V-8 made it the most potent car in AMC's woebegone history. A decade later, today's Muscle Car Poseur was the sad marriage of a proud name, a garish hood decal, AMC's hoary old 304 V-8, and the AMC Spirit.

Don't remember the Spirit? Think of AMC's Eagle Wagon, only less advanced and less popular.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't really work. Though the Spirit was a decent enough family car for the time, it was embarrassing to drive around a wildly extroverted car that could only manage a 13-second sprint (saunter?) to 60 mph.

When given the choice between the AMX and a Trans-Am, the driving public could pretty easily see through the empty testosterone and pick the actual sporting machine. The latter-day AMX has mercifully been all but forgotten, but in its empty promises it is still a poster child for the Muscle Car Poseur phenomenon.

These are actually the original AMC publicity photos, courtesy of this enthusiast's page.

--Chris H.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 1979 AMC AMX:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The Spirit AMX's weren't all that bad, I mean, they did come 25th and 43rd overall out of a field of 120, and 1st and 2nd in their class. They were also were the fastest on street tires. ;)

But then again, I'm a bit biased; I love AMCs.

I have had a Spirit DL for almost 20 years now, most of which have been spent not running. Mine has a AMC 360, and I did the swap by stripping 2 Spirit AMX's, a Gremlin X (rear axle), and several other cars. It does not handle well no matter what you do to it, and parts are now very hard to come by. It's my first car and I still have it, but I can't wait to get rid of it.

yo tengo uno amc amx v8 lo he corrido a 280km

I just got a 79 AMX with the big motor,and I need EVERYTHING!!!!!
Where can I find parts?
thanks, Uncle Buck

The Spirit is really the same car as Gremlin, with a longer hatchback lid. It isn't just related to the Eagle.

If AMC brought this body style out sooner, maybe even instead of Gremlin's chop off, they'd have done better. But then there were other issues, too.

We are the original owners of a 1982 AMC Spirit. It has about 40,000 miles on it. This summer, it was getting about 30 mpg. With crank windows and no airconditioning, it is a good thing we drive this in northern Wisconsin and keep it garaged in the winter. We bought it with the Rusty Jones undercoating. It has very little rust. Probably related to keeping it off the salty roads in the rough, cold weather. The seats are low and not that comfortable. But we do turn heads when we drive it.

I bought a used (abused) 1979 AMX years ago and have since restored it with parts from other '79's and even an '80. A rebuilt AMC 360 will reside in its engine bay next summer. Although the later AMX's didn't receive much praise from the motoring publc and press at the time, my '79 gets alot of attention when I take it to cruise nights and local car shows; people are curious about it and comment on how good it looks. Keep your Trans Am's and Camaro's... I'll have my AMX for a long, long time.

I have A 79 AMX yousing the Spirit body. Is there somplase I can find body parts? I,m looking for the front air dam. Thank,s for any help Dave

I'm looking for the rear window louvers. To fit my 1982 spirit.

I just bought a 1979 AMC AMX. It needed a scoop for the hood n all new gaugesn just a new paint job. Now every summer I turn heads.

The Trans Am of the late '70's was not all that great of a performer
itself. I liked the RTS (Radial Tuned Suspension) but most engine and trans options left much to be desired.
I don't think a Spirit AMX would have a chance in the acceleration department but it would surely handle better than a comparable Firebird. They have a lighter body, front and rear sway bars, decent brakes and power steering.

While this article all but buries the '79 and '80 AMX, far fewer '79/'80 AMX's were produced (some 3700 units combined) than cars like the Trans Am, and as a result, they are becoming far more rare and valuable. I've been told that probably fewer than 100 examples still exist!

I am currently restoring a '79 AMX from the ground up. It is a complete car and it will be largely original with the exception of the AMC 360 that will reside under the hood. The car was originally delvered in black, but will likely receive a white paint job with a full compliment of striping, but no hood decal- it was optional!

i need fender flares and ground efects for 1979 amc amx any sugestions

Searching for a 79 AMX Preferably stock 304 V8 4spd. trans. Favorite car of all times. Trying to fill my bucket list ! I raised my 2 sons in this car & would like to get another in return...HELP PLEASE & THHANK YOU..

I have a 1979 AMX with 62,000km on it i would like to sell it. 4 speed 304cid, black with all flares

Steve, if you still have it I'm interested.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

Powered by Rollyo

Car Lust™ Contributors

June 2016

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30