Rides from the Readers: 1968 AMC AMX

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Chris Hook

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured vehicle is a 1968 AMC AMX, specifically, one equipped with the four-barrel 390-cubic-inch engine, which made 315 horsepower, and the desirable Go Package. For 1968, on the AMX this meant a dual exhaust, an upgraded cooling system, beefier suspension, a limited-slip diff,  four-piston front brakes, Magnum 500 wheels, and racing stripes. AMC fans will also note that, as a 1968 model year car, this AMX is a true two-seater; subsequent model years saw the AMX hew closer to the Javelin, adopting a four-seat platform.

Chris Hook

This Calcutta Russet example belongs to Chris Hook, and it’s been in the Hook family since 1972, when Hook’s father traded in his ’66 Chevy Impala and borrowed $500 from his father to buy the AMX. At the time, the car showed roughly 7500 miles. The AMX was his dream car, and he kept notes of every oil change and repair in a little black book, in dedicated gearhead fashion. Chris remembers the first time he heard his father start the car: “It scared me because it was so loud, but I quickly got over that.”

Chris’ father and mother met, dated, and drove away from their wedding in the AMX; thereafter, it fell victim to a familiar formula. The elder Hooks were too busy with family life to spend much time on the AMX, and it sat quietly in the garage under a cover for nearly 25 years. After his father’s sudden and unexpected passing, Chris had a renewed desire to restore the AMX. The only sticking point was cost. However, the car community, in a serendipitous way, came to the rescue as it often does: a local restorer fell in love with the car and bought it with the intent to restore it. Upon realizing that every clip, seal, sticker, and bracket were stock—and that the car had less than 20K miles on the odometer—he decided to do the bare minimum in deference to the car’s originality. He replaced only the perishable components—brake lines, fuel lines, fuel tank, and fuel pump—and did some minor interior refreshing on the carpet, headliner, and seat covers.

Then, “in what must be the most stand-up thing a guy could do,” Chris reflects, the restorer sold the AMX back to Chris and his family for only the cost of the parts. “The car gods must have been looking down on us,” Chris writes. The AMX now resides back at the Hook residence, sharing garage space with a 2000 Honda S2000, a ’99 Cherokee XJ, an ’88 Comanche Pioneer, and a 2019 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400.

After his mother’s recent passing, Chris has found that that the AMX has taken on even more meaning. “The car is not perfect, and the paint is clearly showing its age,” he admits, but “having it back in the family means even more to me now.”

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