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AMC History:   Nash and Hudson · Rambler · Kenosha Muscle · AMC Marque · Renault and Jeep · Foreign · Prototypes
Prototypes and Show Cars
Rambler Palm Beach
Rambler Palm Beach

The Rambler Palm Beach was the first experimental vehicle shown by American Motors. Designed and built in Italy by Pinin Farina, it was first displayed at European auto shows in 1956, debuting in America at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan in the spring of 1957. The Palm Beach, which may have been the intended successor to the Nash-Healey sports car, has survived and is currently under restoration.

Specifications:

  • Engine: 172.6 cubic inch 82- bhp Rambler L-head six (serial # F-13206)
  • Carburetion: single sidedraft Weber
  • Overall Length: 176 inches
  • Curb Weight: 2,600 pounds
  • Wheelbase: 101.5 inches
  • Width: 67.88 inches
  • Chassis: separate ladder-type with box-section side members
  • Undercarriage and Suspension: Rambler
  • Front / Rear Track: 54.5 / 53.5 inches
  • Interior: deep pile carpeting and twin beige leather semi-bucket seats
  • Instrumentation: tach, oil and manifold pressure, water temperature, total and trip mileage odometer.
  • Tires: 5.90 X 15 inches
  • Transmission: 3 speed Nash

References:

  • "Palm Beach: The First AMX" by Joseph H. Wherry in Collectible Automobile, Volume 1, Number 2, July 1984
  • Motor Trend, Volume 9, Number 8, August 1957

Photo and text provided by Michael Feingold.
 

Rambler XR-400

The caption on this photo in Automotive Industries (July 1996) states: "The 1963 XR-400 prototype for Rambler provided extra passenger space behind the front seat. The fully operational XR-400 was a frequent feature in parades."
Photo provided by Curt Hall

Rambler XR-400
 
Tarpon
Tarpon prototype

Derived from the American, the Tarpon was the car that AMC could have, should have, but didn't make in response to the Mustang. Instead AMC built the Marlin, which, on the larger Classic chassis, was too big to be a pony car, too slow to be a muscle car, and cursed with ungainly proportions due to the Classic's stubby hood. The Tarpon wasn't perfect, either, but its awkward side window treatment (which prefigured the Marlin's) could have been fixed easily, along with some tweaks to the stock American front end, to create a convincing sporty car. First shown in January 1964, the Tarpon was well-received, but the project was moved to the Classic platform because AMC lacked a small V-8 to fit in the smaller car. By 1966 AMC had fit the new 290 into a slightly elongated American, but by then the Marlin was in the second year of its unsuccessful run.
 

Vignale AMX Prototype
The AMX program was conceived in 1965, and in 1966 became "Project IV," a traveling show of prototypes that hinted at some of AMC's future production vehicles. The first AMX prototype, with a fiberglass skin and no engine, was soon replaced by a steel-bodied, fully-operational vehicle built by Vignale, an Italian coachbuilder. The Vignale prototype, completed in 78 days, featured a number of unique features, including hidden "A" pillars and a "Ramble seat" in back. Dimensions were very close to the production AMX: 98-inch wheelbase, overall length of 179 inches, and 48 inches high.
Photo provided by Ron Skala
 
Vignale AMX Prototype
AMX Prototype
AMX Prototype Another AMX prototypes, similar to the running Vignale car. This car does not appear to have the Ramble seat, and the door handles are in a different position.
Full-size images available from The Classic Car Pictures Archive
 
AMX II
Another Project IV car, the AMX II was eight inches longer than the Vignale car; its notchback styling, by freelance stylist Vince Gardner, resembled the Buick Riviera.
Full-size images available from J.J. Horst's Automobile Archive
 
AMX II
Cavalier
Cavalier prototype Also part of Project IV, the Cavalier demonstrated the uses of interchangeable body panels -- right front and left rear fenders were identical, as were their opposite panels, and doors, bumpers, hood and deck lid also interchanged. Many of its styling touches found their way into the Hornet, which also featured interchangeable door skins and bumpers, yielding significant cost savings. In its last years AMC made extensive use of this technique, building the Hornet, Gremlin, Concord, Spirit and Eagle lines, in all of their many variations, from a very limited number of basic stampings.
 
AMX III
The AMX III, not to be confused with the better-known AMX/3, was essentially a Javelin station wagon. First shown at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1967, its styling presages the Hornet Sportabout. AMX III
 
AMX/GT
AMX/GT
 
The AMX/GT was shown to the public in 1968, shortly after the production AMX was announced. According to stylist Dick Teague, it was "for all intents and purposes a forerunner of the Gremlin."
AMX/2
Designed by in-house stylists Bob Nixon and Fred Hudson, the non-working AMX/2 show car featured a "twin" theme, including dual movable spoilers, and was intended to have a mid-mounted engine. Unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in early 1969.
Full-size front view and rear view photos available in J.J. Horst's Automobile Archive
 
AMX/2
AMX/3
AMX/3 An exotic, mid-engined successor to the AMX, known as the AMX/3, came fairly close to regular production in 1970. Seven prototypes were made, styled and engineered by AMC using the 390 cid AMC V-8, with bodies hand-built in Turin,Italy. Jerry Beck has contributed a terrific history of the AMX/3, including some specifications and a "car-by-car where they are".
 
AMX Turbo
The text on the back of this promotional rendering reads:

"The AMX Turbo Pace Car is an exclusive - the personal design of Richard A. Teague, American Motors' Vice President of Automotive Design. It was constructed by Autodynamics of Troy, Michigan under contract from PPG Industries. This two-passenger, aerodynamically efficient vehicle will be one of four official pace cars in the PPG Indy Car World Series during the 1981 auto racing season.

"The AMX Turbo is powered by a turbo-charged fuel-injected 258 CID cylinder AMC engine delivering 450 horsepower, built by Turbo-Systems Inc. The AMX Turbo measures 50 inches in overall height, 164 inches long and is 72 inches in overall width. The car is equipped with Goodyear Eagle GT low profile 245x50x16 tires on 16" x 8" Gotti aluminum alloy wheels on a 96" wheelbase."

Thanks to Larry Daum.

AMX Turbo