2023 Bull Market Pick: 1968–70 AMC AMX
Welcome back to the Hagerty Bull Market List, our annual deep dive into the collector cars (and bikes) climbing the value ranks. This vehicle is one of 11 chosen for the 2023 installment of the List. To see the other 10, click here.
American Motors Corp. lost a reported $12.6 million in 1966 and saw a 12 percent decline in sales. One has to imagine that the Big Three never looked bigger to Kenosha, Wisconsin’s favorite automotive manufacturer. Holding less than 4 percent market share, AMC was a distant fourth, an inconsequential player to the suits in Detroit and by all accounts well on its way to extinction.
And then, like a Hollywood movie, in walked AMC’s hero, one Robert Beverley Evans, known for buying into sick companies and nursing them back to health. Evans knew it also wouldn’t hurt to get some AMCs racing and have a bit of “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” mojo working in Kenosha. The result of this influence was to take the upcoming 1968 Javelin and make a unique two-seat personal sports car from it. If nothing else, it would draw young buyers into AMC showrooms again. The AMX (American Motors eXperimental) project got the green light in September 1966, with styling derived from the 1966 Vignale-designed AMX I show car. The production car was designed by Dick Teague, and it was a stunner.
To lose the back seat, 12 inches were sliced from the Javelin, giving it a 97-inch wheelbase. The AMX interior was the same as the Javelin SST’s. Engine choices, unlike in the Javelin, were solely V-8s, with 290-, 343-, and 390-cubic-inch displacements, all paired with either a four-speed stick or an automatic. The AMX had the desired effect; here was a two-seat “sports car,” as was the Corvette, but some $2000 cheaper. It was never designed to be a direct competitor, but the public certainly drew parallels, and AMC wasn’t about to complain.
Every AMX received a serialized dash plaque, a brilliant nod to the “exclusivity” of the AMX. AMC advertised this by saying, “We’re even putting the production number on the dash for collectors …” These plaques inexplicably bore no correlation with the VIN of the car. In any event, the new AMX was the shot in the arm that AMC needed.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The trunnion-style front suspension of the 1968 and ’69 AMX was flawed, the ball joint–style setup that arrived with the facelifted ’70 an improvement. The short wheelbase, combined with diabolically quick power steering and a big V-8, proved challenging for many. And, of course, the AMX wasn’t immune to the traditional 1960s scourges of build quality and propensity to rust. Over the 3 years of two-seat AMX production, just 19,134 were built. The best sales year was ’69, the AMX’s first full year, with 8293 rolling out of showrooms.
The 1969 on these pages belongs to Dayna Cussler, and it’s equipped with the 343 and Shift Command Borg-Warner M-11B three-speed automatic. It also has factory power steering and brakes, plus air conditioning. On the inside, a pair of 1970 AMX high-back bucket seats have replaced the low-back originals, while on the outside, an aftermarket front chin spoiler and a rear decklid spoiler lifted from a Mark Donohue Javelin have been added, as well. It’s all very Wisconsin muscle car groovy, baby.
Never destined to have the cult following of the Ford Mustang or the Chevrolet Camaro, the stylish AMX is an underdog at an incredible value compared with any similar big-block muscle car. And as of late, the market is clearly taking another look at these two-seat renegades.
1969 AMC AMX
Highs: The lone two-seat American muscle car; stout powertrains; bang for the buck; never oversubscribed anywhere outside of an AMC meet.
Lows: Will always remain in the shadow of other muscle cars from the Big Three; proven rusters; spotty parts availability; hard to find a great one.
Price range: #1 – $52,800 #2 – $34,500 #3 – $22,500 #4 – $13,500
HAGERTY AUTO INTELLIGENCE SAYS:
The AMX is the other two-seat American performance car of the 1960s, and though its appreciation lags behind other muscle cars, younger enthusiasts are increasingly shopping for it. Appreciation since 2019 for the AMX was 28.8 percent, which is behind the ’67–69 Camaro (up 40.5 percent). However, interest from next-generation enthusiasts has nearly tripled since 2019, from a share of 13 percent to 38, suggesting further appreciation is likely.
Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it.
In my street-racing youth, a couple of guys used to prowl the streets of Boise, Idaho in an AMX (a ’69, I think), with the blue/white/red Trans Am livery, 390 and 4-speed. They called it the “Nasty Nash” – cool name, even if there was no longer any AMC-Nash connection. It was pretty doggone quick. That car, along with the successes of Donohue and Revson, really caught my imagination. I’ve always admired the looks of the AMX (even as I really never liked the Javelins so much), and I always closely inspect any that I run across even to this day. Out of all of the “bull market picks”, this is the car I would consider one that I’d truly want to own and drive.
I have a picture of that car with mine.
Nasty Nash along side of dragster rolling stoned.
I picked up a 69 Matador Red / white striped AMX with black interior and the go package last May. It looks fantastic and is a blast to drive. I’ve never owned a car that gets this much attention. Everywhere I go, people ask what it is and many take pictures. It’s completely stock and low miles. I plan to keep it that way. Great investment.
I had a 68’ AMX, 290, 4 speed, original green color. Did 6,700 miles from Montreal to Vancouver and back in 3 weeks. Slept in the fold down seats with my girlfriend one night and camped in the Rockies on the way. Came back through the Okanagan Valley listening to my 8 track stereo with box speakers in the back. With that clutch, she had to pop it and peeled out every time. Love that car and girl.
The car is probably long gone, but do you still have the girl Al???
I loved the AMX and Javelin. Two bright spots for AMC,
An avid and active fan base for a marque that stopped existing in 1988. Teague did a great job styling the AMXs. To some, the ’68 & ’69 models look simpler and cleaner than the ’70 model. The ’70 model had upgrades like ball joint front suspension, dog-leg heads, and ram air. The Penske/Donohue TransAm connection gave the ’70 models a performance halo. Lowly AMC finished in 2nd place in the ’70 TransAm championship (w/Javelins). Good to see the AMX catching the eye of the younger crowd.
I had a 69 Blue/Black interior, 290/4speed trans what a car. Every where I went it turned heads. I have pic of the car in the dining room of my house. I was stopped by the police for speeding and I was just down shifting that beautiful car and it sounded racy. To many great memories. Best car I ever owned.
I GREW UP IN A RAMBLER FAMILY(AM I ALLOWED TO USE THAT WORD HERE?). RAMBLER AMERICAN THAT IS. I LIKED THE TRIPS TO THE DEALERSHIP FOR SERVICE. I MADE MY MOM WAIT FOR ME TO GET OUT OF SCHOOL SO I COULD TAG ALONG AND SIT IN THE SHOWROOM CARS. NOT MANY AMX OR SC/RAMBLERS, HOWEVER WHEN THERE WAS ONE, I GOT OUT EVERY OUNCE OF MUSCLE CAR A 14 YEAR OLD COULD. ONE GREMLIN -X AND MOM WENT TO DODGE. AND I WENT BACK TO CHEVY’S. I DID FOLLOW DONOHUE FOR A TIME, UNTIL HIS UNTIMELY DEATH, LOVED THOSE RED WHITE AND BLUE CARS! I STILL HAVE A SPOT IN MY HEART FOR AMC. LONG LIVE THE NASH!!!
Great, there goes the last affordable muscle car brand. Look everyone, a great deal! Not for long.
I have always found the AMC muscle cars to be different and surprised in a way they didn’t do better. I guess the Ford / GM / Mopar availability of options just overshadowed these cars.
I have some VHS footage of my friend throwing his ’69 AMX around (390 4-speed) “back in the day”. Terrific performer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SD_-S6c12ME&t=610s. There’s some of me later on for anyone with the stamina to sit through it.
Watched some the video. Love the sound of Polyglass tires.
My first ride in a new AMX:
A good buddy and classmate in high school was a die-hard AMC guy, as a family member had worked in a Nash & AMC dealership. He had been driving a 1963 Rambler American with stickshift. We used to go to his home after school, riding in the Rambler. Each time he would make a left hand turn around a corner onto his street [filled with cookie-cutter post-war homes], he would turn off the engine, straighten the wheels, put it in neutral, and glide to a stop in front of his family’s home.
He traded in the old Rambler for a new 1970 AMX with 390 and 4-speed. My friend drove his brand new AMX to school the next day, and as usual the 2 of us headed for his house after school. As we rounded the corner, he turned the engine off. As he turned the steering wheel to straighten up & arrive alongside the curb, we both heard the ignition switch “click”. The steering wheel was now locked in a tight left hand turn!
Within a couple of seconds the AMX bumped over the curb, mowed down a hedge, and began climbing a small hill before finally coming to a halt. Looking back at the path the car took, we realized it had gone between 2 cars parked on the opposite side of the street, proceeding between 2 maple trees before mowing down the hedge. The car was undamaged, but the neighbor and my friend’s parents were not amused. For the next month we rode the bus to school!
Been driving AMXs for 54 years . Here is the AMX i built that I always wanted.
After years of admiring these cars, and looking seriously at several on the high end…I finally bought one that is in fantastic condition…390, 4 speed, 3.15 twin grip…car is a rotisserie restoration and hopped up a little…I’m very very happy with it…everywhere I go, people want to take pictures of it…I’ve always been a pontiac/chevy guy but this thing is a treasure!!! OH…and it runs like a scolded cat!!!