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A Few AMC Concept Cars

AMX2Folks, please allow me to do a different kind of post this time. These cars were never sold, and there's just not enough information to do a detailed description on each one. So I guess this time it's more or less a slide show, hopefully a little more entertaining than that trip your aunt took to the quilt museum.

Some of these cars could have been built very easily. I think a couple were slightly ahead of their time and should have been built, and one is just awkward... maybe even drawn somewhat study hall-ish. But who knows? Maybe if some of these had made it to market in time, AMC could have survived.

AMX 2 rear First up, only two of these swoopy AMX\2 prototype coupes were built in 1969 for styling exercises and car shows. They had fake, plastic engines. Had the car made production, it would have had a longitudinally-mounted AMC V-8 engine and transaxle.

The styling reminds me of an early 1970s DeTomaso Pantera. Its clean lines are timeless, but they surely would have been spoiled by the invasion of 5-mile-per-hour bumpers that would have been fitted by 1974.

AMC AMX-GT HTWorkThis AMX-GT was built in 1968, about two years before the Gremlin was sold. Wow. Too bad it was never in AMC showrooms. I would have definitely bought one of these instead of a Chevy Vega.

It has the profile of a Gremlin, but that AMX-like front end looks right at home. The body lines are softer, maybe more organic than a production Gremlin. I even see a probable exhaust port in place of the rocker panel, but the wheels (wheel covers?) don't do much for me. I think AMC really missed the boat by not building this car instead of the more "blocky"-looking Gremlin.

Pacer concept 1977 What would an AMC concept car post be without an AMC Pacer concept car? The Pacer is a truly love-it-or-hate-it car (I love it), so AMC must have thought its legacy should continue. In 1977, this Concept-II styling proposal was unveiled. I'm not sure if they were serious, or if they just had some extra time.

OK, even I don't like this thing. It looks like a Pacer married a Renault Alliance. Maybe it did. I can't find any information about its running gear, or even if it had any. Conan O'Brian would surely have fun with this image if he still did the "If They Mated" skits.

AMC_03_Cavalier There was a 1965 AMC Cavalier ...sort of. It is not to be confused with the Chevy Cavalier or its high-falootin' stablemate, the Cadillac Cimarron. This AMC dream car received its likeness on a Sharjah postage stamp to honor their "Post Day," even though not a single AMC Cavalier was ever sold.

I like it for several reasons, not the least of which is that it has rear suicide doors! It was also an exercise in engineering in that only two doors, two fenders, and one hood had to be stamped to build the car. Left- and right-side opposing fender/quarter panels and doors were the same, as were the hood and trunklid. Those bumpers and valance panels look very similar too.

These shared stamped body panels supposedly saved 30% of the costs to build the car; Studebaker did a similar exercise in its final days, though only that car's doors and bumpers were interchangeable. I guess desperate economic times bring about desperate engineering measures. The AMC Cavalier became the styling forerunner of the AMC Hornet that was sold five years later, and was built well into 1977.

AMC III This AMX III concept car seemed to be part Javelin, part Ambassador, and part Pacer. But I'm not sure that the world was ready for a four-door, four bucket-seated Javelin station wagon in 1967.

It was a car that could do most everything. It had a racy, sporty front-end, convenient four doors for everybody, and a bulbous Pacer-like rear cargo area. The curved roof rack suggested sporty utility.

Again, AMC was slightly ahead of its time. Today's Toyota Venza and BMW's X6 aren't really that much different in concept from the AMX III, and I like this car's styling over both of them.

AMC Tarpon Please rub your eyes and look again. This is not a Marlin, it's the proposed AMC Tarpon, which was based on the smaller Rambler American convertible. Built in 1963 (Predating the Ford Mustang), the metal roof was dropped two inches, the windshield was curved back, and 13-inch wheels replaced the stock 14-inchers, all in an effort to lower the car.

The Tarpon was supposed to move Rambler's image away from cheap small cars, to compete with the Plymouth Barracuda, and also to enter the (then) brand-new automotive market segment called "pony cars." But the American was underpowered with just a 6-cylinder available, so Rambler decided to execute the styling concept onto the larger Rambler Classic, which had more niceties and a V-8. That car became the Marlin.

I guess these concept cars are also "What if?" cars. Had they been built in time, would AMC have survived? Hopefully so, if the sales volumes had been high enough. At the worst possible time, AMC was hit by overwhelming development costs of federally-mandated pollution and safety features; a higher volume of sales meant that these costs could be absorbed on each car. Selling millions of vehicles absorbed these costs easier; selling fewer meant higher costs per car. There go your profits, there goes your company.

AMC logo to use I miss AMC. I think they were a car company that took chances, and even sometimes succeeded. They may have had radical styling exercises, were built with components also used by competitors, and had a failure or two, but they also gave us an acceptable alternative to the other "Big Three" American auto makers at the time.

Whether AMC cars were a tick ahead of their time or were just plain wacky, they definitely have found a place in our culture. When I see a Pacer, I think of "Wayne's World," when I see a red Hornet, I think of James Bond ("I shore am, boy!"). Had some of these and other AMC concept cars made it to life, who knows what memories they would evoke.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Credits: The first AMX\2 image is from; its rear view is from The AMX-GT image is from HowStuffWorks. The Pacer Concept II picture is from AMC's Cavalier image(s) are from . The AMX III image is from The Tarpon photo is from The AMC logo is from Wikipedia.


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There's a lot to like here.

* The Concept II looks like a Pacer designed by Gugiaro--cleaner and more rational than the original.

* The Javelin wagon? Sign me up!

* The Cavalier is an elegant solution to the problem of getting the tooling costs down, and it's not bad looking at all.

The rear end of the AMX/2 looks a lot like the rear end of a Pontiac Fiero.

I don't particularly miss AMC, but I learned to drive in my dad's 1980 Concord. I remember it as a comfortable, reliable car. Good memories.

I like the back half of the Cavalier & the suicide doors. I never liked the Marlin other than as an oddity so the Tarpon does nothing for me & I'm glad they didn't go in that direction.

The Concept II needs to have George Jetson piloting it. The AMX-GT looks like what you end up with if Chip Foose made a hot rod out of your Gremlin.

And the AMX\2 is dead sexy. Even today. Love those lines. Though I hate the rear end. Give it a Ferrari style treatment (like the 458) and better tail lights & exhaust styling and I'd drive that thing today! Give it a throaty mid-mounted V8 with glass to look in at it and 2 into 1 for centered quad exhaust and a nice rumble out back and everyone would've been drooling!

I like the way the Concept II looks although it strikes me as something someone in 1967 would have thought was futuristic. Definitely Euro looking though.

The Cavalier looks like the automotive equivalent of a pushmi-pullyu. . . .

Um I thought James' AMC was a Matador not a Hornet.

The Man With The Golden Gun (Scaramanga) drove the Matador; 007 drove the Hornet. Please check that link in the last paragraph ("I shore AM, boy!").

I really like that AMX\2 prototype. If AMC had put that into production I think they still would have been around today.

That Wagon isn't an AMX/3! It's just a Javelin Wagon :p

Here is the real AMX/3:

Plans are already in production to start making replicas, just check out

Kyle: It's an AMX III Wagon:

Also try, which is linked above.


This shouldn't surprise anybody, given my predilection for AMCs and weird cars, but I love almost every car here.

- I agree that the AMX/2 is beautiful, and I can see the Pantera resemblance. There's a bit of Lamborghini Miura there, too.

- The AMX/Gremlin hybrid looks so, so wrong that it comes all the way back to right.

- The ConceptII isn't enthralling, necessarily, but it is charming.

- The other three cars are filed under the unabashed love category. The AMC Cavalier just looks right in the same way that a second-gen Chevy II just looks right. Its lovely crisp lines would look gorgeous stock or modified.

The Javelin wagon blew my mental circuit breakers. It's absolutely everything I'd want in a car.

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