[American Classics] AMC(s)!

Almost everybody knows that the three big American car makers are Chrysler, Ford and GM. But from 1954 to 1987, there was another american big one : American Motors Corporation, usually known as AMC. Created in 1954 from the fusion of Nash and Hudson, AMC written a page of the american car history, especially by developing the Jeep brand. Unfortunately, competition of the "Big Three" had been hard for AMC. The brand has been bought in 1979 by the french giant Renault, before being sold to Chrysler in 1987. Only the Jeep and Eagle names survived to this last sale.

Strange fact : the name AMC had been adopted as the official name only in 1970. From 1954 to 1958, Nash and Hudson were still used. Then, from 1959 to 1969, the name Rambler was used for the big sedans the company was producing. The Nash name survived until 1962, with the small Nash Metropolitan. AMC is recognized as the first american company to promote "small cars", thing that maybe saved the company in 70s, in the petrol crisis. Unfortunately, it also caused company's death, since when the crisis stopped in 1985, Americans wanted to buy big cars again, and AMC only had compacts and intermediates to propose.

AMC is neglicted in the diecast world, but there's still a few interesting ones, mainly from the 70's. I wish we would had some 80's AMC sometime...

Record-breaking, original one : AMC AMX

The AMX, standing for American Motors eXperimental, was one of the most original american cars of its time. Only produced from 1968 to 1970, it was described as a muscle car, but because of its short wheelbase, it was only compared to the Corvette. It was also the only 2-seater steel-bodied car of its time (previous one was the Ford Thunderbird). The AMX had also been recognized has the "Best Engineered Car of The Year" for two consecutive years, 1969 and 1970. Interesting fact, the original ad campaign in 1968 for the launch of the car was in cooperation with Playboy Entreprises.

There were lots of engines offered, from V8 225hp to 315hp big V8 block. In 1969, the Super Stock AMX has been introduced, offering a 420 hp, able to do a 10.73 seconds on the quartermile. It didnt even have a heater, but it was a true performance car.  Two specially prepared AMX were able to do some new high speed and endurance records at Texas's Goodyear race track. Officially, the car reached an astonishing 304 km/h, but the driver affirmed that he was able to push the car over 322 km/h. Those AMX were pieces of art.

The Johnny Lightning diecast replica i own is painted with the legendary colors of those two record-breaking AMX : White, Blue and Red. Released in 2005, as usual, JL did an awesome job with the car. It really feels the overall look. With the opening hood, you can even take a look at the terrific engine of this beast!

AMX as a Javelin extension

The AMX evolved as a performance extension of the AMC Javelin in 1971. It became a 4-seater, but was still a high performance car. The Javelin AMX offered multiple racing packages for the car enthusiast, such as the "Go Package" , with the choice of a 360 or 401 cu engine. The 1972 Javelin broke record sales for AMC, but never reached numbers as high as the competition (big names were in there, like the Mustand and the Camaro).

In 1974, the car market was changing a lot, and there was no more place for cars such as the Javelin AMX, mainly because of the petrol crisis. Cars were going smaller, and AMC needed place to build its new Pacer. Nowadays, the Javelin AMX is really prized among collectors and can reach astonishing prices. Originally introduced in 2009 as a new casting in the Hot Wheels regular line, the Javelin i own is the 2010 regular one. Designed with the AMC racing colors (red, white and blue again), it shows a really aggressive look.

Casting's well made, but Hot Wheels's quality is never as high as a JL one (i'm talking of the regular line here, the HW Garage serie is pretty good). Colors are pretty well chosen though, but more details on the body would have been appreciated, as well as tampos. It's still a pretty nice add to any collection.

First American compact car : Gremlin's introduction

The AMC Gremlin has been introduced in 1970, and is recognized as the first American subcompact-car (even if the Crosley and the Nash Metropolitan has been there before). Competing with the six-months later released Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega, it was also designed to compete with the legendary Volkswagen Beetle. In my humble opinion, the Gremlin's obviously one of the ugliest American car produced...

The Gremling was described as a stable and comfortable ride... for the front passengers. Of course, with the car being so small, the two rear seats were reserved for children. Competing with the VW Beetle, it had a style immediately recognizable in the streets. The car has really been popular from 70 to 74, but an inflatory economy put a hard shot at the sales in 1975, and they declined until 1978. As the Pacer was introduced in 1975 too, it was already over for the Gremlin. Over 8 years, AMC often offered Volkswagen engines under the hood of this special car. The Gremlin has even been used as a dragstrip racing car, or to experiment hydrogen or electric engines.

Offered in 2006 by Johnny Lightning, the diecast is simply awesome. The pale yellow gives it a real oldtimer look, and the overall car is awesomely reproduced. It's truly one of my favorite pieces of my collection. Even though the car is fugly, its unique style gives it a special feeling. Yellow wheels add a nice touch. Only thing missing is the side mirrors!

AMC Pacer, nicknamed "The Aquarium"

The Pacer is certainly one of the most iconic cars of the late 70's. Contrasting with the boxy design used in those years, the Pacer offered a controversial rounded, fully glassed style. Even more original, during the development of the car, it was supposed to be equipped with a Wankel rotary engine produced by GM. Just before the release, in 1974, GM decided to stop developing the engine (durability issue), and it left the Pacer with a straight 6-line cylinder flat engine for its 1975 introduction.

The car received a lot of criticism, good or bad. Some described it as the "car of the future", others said it was the ugliest car ever made. For those years, it was surely original. It was designed as an alternative to the huge American cars, in years where the petrol was about to become really expensive. It sold well for the first 2 years, but after 1977, the Japanese competition along with a few reliability problems killed the Pacer's career. It disappeared in the year 1979. A lot of variants had been offered, such as the Wagon or the Pacer X (sporty version). Even an electric Pacer has been produced, but at a starting price of 12 000$, it was SO expensive!

The nickname Aquarium came from my father, who was working in an AMC/Jeep garage in these years. The big glasses got a problem : they weren't so well sealed, so they had a lot of cases of water infiltrating the car... then they gave it that name.

Talking diecast, i have a nice replica of a 1977 Pacer X made by Johnny Lightning. The front of the casting is a bit off imo, but it's nice overall... it got a "cheap" look though. Tires are great! Side mirrors would have been a nice add.. i think i would have prefered the brown Classic Gold serie one, but that yellow Pacer is still a must for any car collector.

Enjoy the pics!

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