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Concept Car of the Week: AMC AMX/2 (1969)

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Like Detroit's Big Three, AMC rapidly understood the importance of the youth market after the success of the Ford Mustang. In the late 60s, the design team produced a series of "Think Young" concept cars to reach the younger audience as well as exciting new showroom offerings like the Mustang-inspired Javelin, the two-seater AMX and the Rambler.

Presented at the 1969 Chicago auto show, the second opus of the American Motors Experimental series, the AMX/2 was not just AMC's most daring concept car ever, but one of Detroit's first acknowledgments that the future of high-performance sports cars would be mid-engined.

Richard "Dick" Teague, who ran AMC's styling studios from 1961 until his retirement in 1986, was a huge petrolhead. The 1969 AMX/2 was subtly influenced by European exotics like the Lamborghini Miura, Lotus Europa, and Porsche 914 as well as the trans-Atlantic Ford GT40.

Compared to the scale and exuberance of American automotive design of that era, the perfectly controlled proportions and understated design of the AMX/2 have to be admired. The sloped front section, made possible by the mid-engine design, merges smoothly with a severely raked windshield and roofline to form an incredibly graceful and simple silhouette.

From the side, the clean and linear body section is only interrupted by the rear flared arches to enhance the impression of power. The twin hood vents are echoed at the rear with a recessed louvered deck and moveable twin spoilers split in half by a raised centre spine. Slotted tail lamps embossed in a clean black rectangular graphic finish beautifully the sharply truncated tail.

The AMX/2 never made it passed the fiberglass model stage and has no engine, but an AMC V8 would have been the chosen power train.

Finished in iridescent copper orange, the model was shown around auto shows in 1969 and created quite a stir. It also helped to crystallize the public's new image of AMC as a performance-oriented, progressive carmaker. There was no information about the car at the shows. The AMC hostesses at the display would only say when asked about the mysterious prototype, "Who knows?"

Two rolling prototypes were made of the AMX/2, with one being used for many years on top of a pole of a used car dealership. The theme was further developed into a fully drivable prototype, the AMX/3 designed by the decidedly omnipresent Giugiaro.

Wheelbase 2,667mm
Length 4,356mm
Height 1,092mm
Width 1,778mm
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Your author, Flavien Dachet, is a UK-based, French-born car designer. You may know him as the purveyor of KarzNshit, a photo blog that if isn't already in your bookmarks, certainly should be.

By Flavien Dachet