Making cars is a bit more experimental than someone might first think, since focus groups and marketing speculation only brings theoretical success that does not always translate to higher sales.
But each new feature or design provides knowledge on which to create the next grand design. Such is the case with American Motors Corp.’s AMX, for American Motors eXperimental. Concepts became designs in 1965, with the first full concept car rolling off the line the following year. Packaged as a “sporty” and “youthful” car that set it apart from AMC’s “economy car” image, the AMX offered the first high-performance, steel-bodied, two-seat car since the 1957 Thunderbird.
But the V8 still came in as a budget car since, at $3,245, it was more than $1,000 less than others in its model class, namely the Chevrolet Corvette. The car clocked 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, and the quarter mile in just 15.2 seconds, making it a head turner. The 1969 model was powered by a 280-horsepower engine, harnessed by a four-speed manual transmission.
But its production run was short lived. Only 19,134 of them were produced between 1968 and when the line was halted in 1970. It was a noted history even if it was short, however. Two specially-prepared AMX vehicles set 106 world speed records at a track in Texas.