Tag: AMC

The 1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” World Record Setter – Ben Branch @Silodrome

The 1968 AMC Javelin “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” World Record Setter – Ben Branch @Silodrome

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This was the AMC Javelin that won the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” setting a new C-Production class record of 161.733 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats with Craig Breedlove at the wheel in 1968.

The competition was sponsored by AMC and CarCraft Magazine. They took three Javelins and assigned them to three separate three-man teams who had applied to enter the contest. The team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one for each man.

Fast Facts – A “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” AMC Javelin

  • The name Craig Breedlove needs to introduction to anyone even vaguely familiar with land speed record racing. He’s a five-time world land speed record holder and the first person in history to reach 500 mph and 600 mph on the ground.
  • The car you see here is the winner of the 1968 “Bonneville Speed Spectacular,” a competition that was held at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This car set a C-Production class record of 161.733 mph.
  • Three 1968 AMC Javelins were entered in total, each was modified by a team of three contestants, the winning team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one each.
  • The AMC Javelin was developed as an answer to the Ford Mustang and the wildly popular “Pony Car” genre. The Javelin was released in 1968, and the “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” was developed to drum up publicity for the new car.

The 1968 Bonneville Speed Spectacular

In 1968 with the release of the Javelin, AMC set to work creating a publicity stunt that would win the company coverage from coast to coast, and permanently link the new pony car challenger with two things: a world speed record at Bonneville and the Craig Breedlove – the national hero and famous land speed record setter.

This competition was co-sponsored by Car Craft Magazine. Readers of the magazine were invited to enter a competition to join one of three teams that would be modifying three Javelins in the hope of setting a new C-Production class record.

The Three Teams

Each applicant had answer some true or false questions and write a paragraph selling their mechanical aptitude. Nine winners were selected and divided into three teams, they were: Carl Tracer, Alynn Luessen, and Bruce Nottingham on Team #1.

Charlie Seabrook, Pete Darnell, and Matt Strong on Team #2, and Bill Tinker, Jim Riley, and Larry Lechner on Team #3.

The engine remains in original condition, still including all of the modifications made to the car by the team who won the competition and set the new record.

Interestingly, Pete Darnell of the winning team was flown in from the Vietnam War to compete.

Each of the teams modified their AMC Javelins to the best of their abilities and Breedlove drove each of them down a marked course on the Bonneville Salt Flats in November of 1968.

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For Sale:The Original 1977 AMC AM Van 4×4 Concept Vehicle – Ben Branch @Silodrome

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The styling of the AM Van is clearly the work of AMC designer Richard Teague, the father of the Gremlin, Pacer, AMX, Javelin, and the Jeep Cherokee to name but a few.

This is the 1977 AMC AM Van, a concept vehicle that was planned to have a four-wheel drive powertrain headed by a turbocharged engine – both quite novel ideas for a production car in the 1970s.

This van was part of AMC’s seven car “Concept 80” traveling motor show, intended to showcase to the American public their vision for the future of the automobile. The AMC AM Van was by far the most popular vehicle in the show, resoundingly winning the public vote everywhere it was shown.

Fast Facts – The 1977 AMC AM Van

  • The 1977 AMC AM Van was penned by legendary automotive stylist Richard Teague, the creator of the AMX, Javelin, Jeep Cherokee and a slew of other designs.
  • AMC was known for unusual and oftentimes quite prescient vehicle designs, including the likes of the Gremlin, the Eagle 4×4, and the SX/4 4×4.
  • Had it been approved for production the AMC AM Van would likely have sold well, the 1970s were a time when vans were king, and with the included turbocharged engine and 4×4 drivetrain the van would have ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of consumers.
  • Sadly the van didn’t get the green light for production, and now just this single fiberglass bodied concept vehicle remains to show the world what might have been.

The AMC “Concept 80” Traveling Motor Show

The AMC Concept 80 traveling motor show was unveiled in 1977 and sent on a seven city tour of the United States, to showcase the future direction of the American Motors Corporation

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Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Like a kid in a candy store, we’re zipping our way around a vast, virtual car market that is the Hemmings Classifieds. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re circling around to a specific asking price point between $10,000 and $20,000, this time rounding up four-door hardtops and sedans from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We’ve mentioned this plenty of times before, but for those new to this game, the good news about a $20k cap is that it offers options in good condition (even in our inflated market). So, given the money and space, which one would you take home?

1973 OLDSMOBILE NINETY-EIGHT LUXURY SEDAN

With exception of the Toronado, Oldsmobile’s Ninety-Eight (or, 98) continued its reign as the division’s top-of-the-line series for 1973, now offered in five body styles, including this four-door Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan. Bested in fine accoutrements by only the Ninety-Eight Regency, the hardtop’s lengthy listed of standard features included – but were not limited to – a 275-hp 455-cu.in. engine, Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, bench seats finished in “luxurious Bravo cloth with Morocceen trim” upholstery, windshield antenna, and more, all strapped to a 127-inch wheelbase chassis that cost $5,234 (or $34,335 in today’s currency). Olds built 21,896 four-door Luxury Sedans that year, making it the second most popular car within the Ninety-Eight series. From the seller’s description:

Talk about Old School Cool, once you see it, you won’t be able to walk away. Often turned into low-riders, or used for cruising or hopping, this car has the potential for it all. However, it’s perfect as is… a car that your Father drove and swore it was the best car ever. Finished in Honey Beige with Black 60/40 cloth upholstery, the looks are sure to get the town talking. Drive this one home now, it’s ready to go, in close to perfect condition. Solid body, chassis and drive train. Everything works and was a central part of an estate collection. Do you want to win car show trophies or just take the family out for an ice cream? Pile em’ and go. This car is an amazing drive that you don’t want to miss out on.

Price$18,500LocationCampbellsville, KYAvailability Available

1974 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER BROUGHAM SEDAN

Like the Olds Ninety-Eight, Chrysler’s New Yorker Brougham was bested only by the Imperial in terms of divisional luxury hierarchy by the time our featured 1974 four-door Brougham sedan was sold to its first owner. The Brougham’s mechanical DNA was identical to that of its base New Yorker sibling, meaning it was fitted with a 230-hp 440-cu.in. engine, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar front suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, and 15-inch wheels, yet the Brougham also benefitted from the installation of power windows, plusher 50/50 front bench seat with additional arm rests, upscale trim, and a few other bits, all for a standard base price of $6,479 (or $39,099 in today’s currency). While pillared four-door sedans sold exceptionally well in the entry-level Newport and Newport Custom series, the pillared four-door New Yorker Brougham flopped: just 4,533 examples were built. From the seller’s description:

This highly desirable top of the line 1974 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham has only 50,500 miles! Highly optioned with the iconic big-block 440 four-barrel V-8, three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, working air conditioning, power windows, locks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, vinyl top, factory AM/FM stereo, 50/50 power bench seat with dual armrests, etc. The body’s finished in Lucerne Blue Iridium, and is super straight rust free both top and bottom. All lights are in working order, the trunk trunk and engine compartment look like new. This car drives as good as it looks, and is guaranteed to draw attention. The 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler designed from the ground up, and one of the last to receive the big dog 440 V-8. Here’s your chance to own one at a very affordable price!

Price$12,950LocationMaple Lake, MNAvailability Available

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Other Than the Aftermarket Radio, This 1966 Rambler Rebel Is Remarkably Preserved – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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The fact that this 1966 Rambler Rebel, listed for sale on Hemmings.com, is still around shouldn’t come as a surprise: Well-equipped or sporty versions of any car tend to have higher survival rates than the bare-bones models. Go to any AMC show, though, and you’re far more likely to see restored Rebels than you are ones left essentially untouched, like this example. That legendary straight-six is just getting broken in, with the odometer reporting 65,000 miles. The body shows some wear on the trunklid but no rust, and that interior might have suffered some sun fading but remains intact and clean. The only modification we can see is the addition of the modern radio and speakers. This nice Rambler shows how these cars were originally put together. From the seller’s description:

This Teal Rambler Rebel has a black vinyl hard top and Rambler hubcaps with teal accented wheels making this a cool Survivor Classic. This Rambler started its life at the Kenosha Wisconsin assembly plant as verified by the VIN. The original inline 6 with 3 speed automatic glides through the gears and is an original numbers matching survivor.

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Which one of these four cars from the start of the “downsized era” would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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The dawn of Detroit’s downsized era in the late Seventies was probably long overdue. The bigger-is-better attitude had cost consumers a ton (pardon the pun) thanks to a series of circumstances that included, but were not limited to, a fuel crisis, emission and safety regulations, and rapidly changing CAFE standards.

The necessary diet, however, turned out to be a breath of fresh air in some regards, taken in steps and planned appropriately enough so that handling, comfort, and cabin space – all things most Americans thoroughly enjoyed – was not sacrificed.

A perfect example was Oldsmobile’s Cutlass, which set a staggering production record after shedding its bulk. So, in our latest edition of This or That, we’re celebrating the beginning of the downsized era, which was administered in steps that began in earnest in 1977. As always, we’re delivering just four examples to your inbox to ponder, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

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Flashy, not fast: The 1969 American Motors Rebel Raider was a limited-run package exclusive to New York and New Jersey dealers – Thomas A. DeMauro @Hemmings

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Regional specialty car programs lured curious potential customers into dealer showrooms by promising an exclusive offering, often at a tempting price. Even if consumers didn’t ultimately buy that particular vehicle, it still got them in the door so a savvy salesperson could seize the opportunity to sell them a different one.

These packages normally consisted of a group of options added to an existing model, as well as a catchy name announced with decals or emblems, and possibly special stripes and/or paint colors to make the creation standout further.

Some of these distinctive rides went on to become widely known beyond their geographical points of sale, while others were seemingly lost to time.In 1969, New York and New Jersey-area American Motors Rambler dealers offered the “Raider.” Based on the unit-body midsize Rebel, it featured “Electric Green, Tangerine, or Blue—You’ve Never Seen” (as stated in the ad) exterior colors, a black grille, a vinyl top, a bench-seat interior, a sports-type steering wheel, an AM radio, power steering and brakes, and other small items.

We know those colors instead as Big Bad Green, Big Bad Orange, and Big Bad Blue, and our featured Raider’s original window sticker lists “Big Bad Blue.

“Given its aggressive appearance, you may be expecting to hear that the engine was a rumbling 280-hp 343, or possibly the even-more-powerful 315-hp 390, but it was actually a 200-hp 290 two-barrel V-8 with a single exhaust. It was backed by a column-shifted Borg-Warner Shift- Command automatic transmission and a 3.15:1 axle ratio. The powertrain choice made sense to keep the price reasonable and reach a broader customer base.

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The History of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer – Benjamin Hunting @Motortrend

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How the 1984–1991 Grand Wagoneer cast the luxury SUV mould for today’s model.

Although luxury trucks are a key profit center for modern automotive manufacturers, there was a time when only a single brand on the American market was brave enough to make the leap from ski station to valet station. It was the early ’80s when AMC decided to go all-in on an aging platform by transforming its already decades-old Wagoneer into the Grand Wagoneer and open up an entirely new segment for U.S. buyers. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer beat the (still Spartan but nevertheless high-priced) Range Rover to the American market by a handful of years, and while Land Rover was able to outlast its underfunded rival in the long run, as contemporaries there was no question who was first, and in the minds of many sport-utility fans, who also did it better.

Ancient Roots

A bit of backstory first. The original Wagoneer, internally known as the Full-Size Jeep, FSJ, or SJ, debuted in 1963, and would soldier on for decades with only minor mechanical tweaks. The first hints that the truck had the potential to woo an upscale clientele came with the Super Wagoneer, which then Jeep owner Kaiser released in 1966. Packed with luxury gear completely foreign to anything trucklike at the time (power brakes, a high-end radio, tilt steering, power steering), it wasn’t long before the model was commanding nearly three times the average transaction price of an entry-level automobile.

Once AMC purchased Jeep in 1970, the product line coalesced around the more basic Cherokee and its more family-friendly Wagoneer variant. Despite repeated urging from AMC dealers to increase the price point on the latter—due to the surprisingly high household incomes of buyers attracted to the truck’s blend of on-pavement comfort and rugged go-anywhere image—each truck would stay in its lane for the next several year

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Distinctive and luxurious, this 1980 AMC Concord is an unlikely survivor – Terry Shea @Hemmings

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If you’re shopping for a well-preserved Corvette or Mercedes-Benz SL, the market’s probably got you covered one way or another. People just don’t ever throw those cars away and most were a second or third car when new, so they largely got taken care of. But, what if your tastes run to something that was, back in the day, just a little different, and, perhaps, not that well received by the marketplace?

Well, have we got something for you.Bid to win this 1980 AMC Concord D/L two-door sedan, currently offered on Hemmings Auctions, and you will surely be taking the road less traveled. Though not truly super rare, this AMC is still a remarkable survivor. Originally purchased by an AMC dealer for his wife, this little sedan seems to have survived so well due to careful ownership, years in the salt-free environs of the Pacific Northwest, and what appears to be an intact layer of undercoating on the rather clean undercarriage.

The Navy Blue finish looks to be in pretty fine shape, as does the partial vinyl roof. Don’t forget to check out that light blue “Sculptured Rochelle Velour” interior, as plush-looking a fabric as American car companies offered at the time, well this side of a buttoned-leather seat, anyway.

Including the carpets, door cards and seatbelts, there’s a whole lotta’ blue going on in this Concord. About the only thing non-standard would be the raised white letter Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires on bare steel wheels. But AMC wheel covers were nothing to write home about in 1980 anyway.Whether you want to call cars on this end of the hobby entry-level or a bargain, most family cars of the era are hardly in the condition this Concord is. And that makes it really easy to appreciate not only the car, but the care and effort that went into keeping it the way it is today.

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1984 AMC Eagle ready to tackle off-road adventure – Tyson Hughie @ClassicCars.com

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Innovation in automotive engineering has brought us some interesting creations over the years.  One car company broke ground in the 1980s with a unique family sedan (and wagon) equipped with a 4×4 drivetrain to deliver passenger-car comfort, better fuel economy than trucks or sport utility vehicles, and all-weather capability.

It’s been more than 30 years since AMC – which stood for American Motors Corporation – went defunct in 1988.  What started as a merger of Nash-Kelvinator and the Hudson Motor Company in 1954 evolved through a series of organizational changes and had a diverse product lineup with some unusual entries over the course of its lifetime.

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Sundancer – 1981 AMC Eagle Sundancer, 1982 AMC Concord Sundancer – Jeff Koch @Hemmings

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AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE, IN TWO FLAVORS: CONCORD AND EAGLE

AMC Sundancers: 1981 Concord & 1982 Eagle

AMC’S INTERESTING, ILL-FATED EARLY 1980S ATTEMPT AT BRINGING BACK THE CONVERTIBLE

The death of the “Great American Convertible” from the mid-’70s through the early ’80s has led to a lot of soul searching, head scratching, and finger pointing over the years. Who pulled the trigger? Who’s to blame? Was it the government publicly mulling over zealous safety regulations? Was it the advances in air conditioning that had made cool, enclosed air more desirable—and cheaper—than sun and a natural breeze? Was it Detroit, which refused to spend the millions tooling for a body style that was shrinking in sales from year to year? And if Detroit stopped making convertibles because of slow sales, wasn’t it really our fault? How did we ever get to a place where convertibles weren’t cool enough to buy?

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