|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.
Photo and text provided by Michael Feingold.
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."
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
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
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
Full-size images available from The Classic Car Pictures Archive
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
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.
|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.|
|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."|
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
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
Jerry Beck has contributed a terrific history
of the AMX/3, including some specifications and a "car-by-car
where they are".
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.