1970 AMC AMX/3 – The Stunning American Supercar

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Designed in the US, made in Italy, and modified in Germany by icons of the automotive industry, AMC AMX/3 is one of the most amazing mid-engine sports cars of this era. CarSwitch brings you this tragic story where you can sell your car in Dubai.

How AMX/3 was born

In the 1960s, American Motors Corporation was failing to compete with Detroit’s Big Three. After the end of the decade, the company began to develop sporty cars to attract youngsters. This led to the birth of the AMX 2-seat grand tourer and other vehicles. All of these were excellent but their arrival was late and they couldn’t sell as much as the company predicted. 

The onset of the project

As a last effort to change the company’s reputation and bring in required funds, the new management team prioritized a big part of the remaining resources on the progress of a stellar mid-engine sports car. 

The project’s work was initiated in 1967 when the head of design along with his chief designer, were offered permission to make a full concept. Eric Kugler’s sketch induced visual inspiration and after a year of modifications, a clay model was prepared and shown to higher-ups. 

AMC hired the popular Giorgetto Giugiaro to make a separate design. However, the Styrofoam model he presented was said to be dull. So, the earlier in-house design proposal was accepted for production.

But AMC didn’t know how to build a mid-engine sports car which is why they traveled to other countries for guidance. This is the point where the story gets complex. Different reports exist but the project evolved into two similar cars. 

First, AMX/3 is the one that couldn’t enter production, and second, AMX/2 a fiberglass show car developed by the AMC design team was presented in important auto shows to hype the public. 

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The resulting shape of the vehicle

Based on the in-house design proposal, AMX/3 took shape in Italy. The vehicle boasted a sculptured steel body which was built by the hands of Salvatore Diamante and his company. It’s body included a semi-monocoque chassis (based on Giorgetto Giugiaro design, made by Italdesign with the help of iconic Giotto Bizzarrini) and a creative, independent suspension system. Six bespoke Koni shocks by Bizzarrini were utilized. 

In 1969, the earlier 4-disc brakes were proven to be weak by the BMW tests. After a few months, the Bavarians equipped the second prototype with a new ATE system. This included dual vacuum brake boosters, a big master cylinder, ventilated rotors, twin two-piston calipers in the back, and 4-piston calipers.

Power was derived from the company’s most efficient 340 hp engine, which was a stronger version of its 6.4 liter V-8. On many prototypes, the powertrain was mated to a 4-speed transaxle made by the Italian company, Oto Melara. But this unit wasn’t perfect so the later prototypes were given a modified 5-speed ZF unit.

The testing of AMX/3

In 1970, Bizzarrini along with the racing driver Antonio Nieri analyzed the second prototype in Monza. The test runs revealed the top speed to be 170 mph which is similar to the top speed of Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. The quickest lap time by the driver was 1:56 which is equal to the 1965 5300 GT. 

AMX/3 was one of the rare mid-engine sports cars of the time, and it had DeTomaso Pantera as a rival. This was disclosed in the US and Italy a day prior to the official unveiling of its competitor. AMX/3 was creative and beautiful and a product of some of the industry’s best minds but it could not reach the production stage.

Wrapping it up

It is still unknown why the company decided to suddenly let go of this marvelous car after the official reveal. Some people say that it was too over the budget and the final price tag would have been around $12,000. This price was necessary for covering the production cost. 

Moreover, the 3 incomplete chassis became the 7th AMX/3 (when it was finished in the late 1990s), another was transformed into an Iso Varedo show car in 1971, and the 3rd chassis is linked to the Bizzarrini P 538 race car. But to this day, automotive experts have not been able to authenticate it’s link to the original AMC project. 

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