|American Motors' AMX - America's "Other" Sports Car
You gotta hand it to American Motors (Rambler), they REALLY tried! Wanting to jump into the emerging pony car market, AMC came out with the Javelin in 1968. It was a “nice” pony car, but needed something more. So AMC shortened the chassis, restyled the body and unleashed the AMX. What was so cool about the AMX was that it didn’t look like ANYTHING else on the road, it was completely unique. And it was a true “sports car” in the sense that it did not have a back seat, it was a 2-seater only!
Weighing in at 200 pounds less than a Javelin, AMC packed all the hot hardware they could think of. The car handled well and had a very under-rated 390 engine that responded very well to hot rod tricks such as headers, a larger carb, hot ignition, and taller gearing. Hurst Performance of Warminster, Pennsylvania. actually offered a heavily modified version of the AMX that was as close as you could get to an all-out Super Stock car for the street. All it really needed was a set of slicks and it’s mufflers uncapped! It was an 11-second, ready made drag racer.
American Motors' 1970 Mark Donahue Javelin Special - The Road Racing Rambler
Thanks to awesome cars such as the Z-28 Camaro and the Boss 302 Mustang, some muscle cars were more oriented towards going fast around curves rather than drag racing. Roger Penske and Mark Donahue dominated the Trans-Am series for 3 seasons with their Penske-prepared Z-28 Camaros. American Motors, wanting to disparately to improve their image, wooed Penske and Donahue away from Chevrolet to American Motors! A Rambler road racer?! YES!
To make the racer version of the Javelin legitimate, AMC created the “Mark Donahue Special" that features a big 390 engine, special paint, stripes, and very nice front and rear spoilers.
So how did Penske and Donahue do switching to the Javelin? They never missed a beat! The continued on with their winning ways. Imagine that, road racing a Rambler.
Blueprint Series No. 18: 1969 SC/Rambler - The Most Unlikely Muscle Car Ever?
This is perhaps, one of the most unusual muscle cars ever made. Dinky little American Motors sure had balls with this one. Let’s face it, AMC’s performance image wasn’t even “your father’s car.” It was more like “your grand parent’s car!” American Motors (aka Rambler) had been selling the “American” since 1958. It was a cheap, light weight, dependable, plain little sedan. It was so plain that it was almost completely forgettable!
By ‘69, the Rambler name just wasn’t making it anymore and the company was in the process of reinventing itself as “American Motors.” As a final farewell, the company offered a “performance” version of the little Rambler America called the “SC/Rambler” or Scrambler. It came with a 315 hp 390 cid engine, 4-speed, performance gears, mag wheels, fat tires, a red, white, and blue stripe package, and an odd-shaped little shaker hood scoop.
This was probably the ultimate “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” muscle car. It was almost like the “Revenge of the Nerds” for the street muscle car scene. The 3000 pound Rambler was surprisingly quick and no doubt caught many a SS Chevelle, Mustang, or Corvette off guard. Odd as it was, there was something charming about this little wanna-be muscle car.
1970 Buick GS-X: Buick's Velvet Hammer
The Buick GS-X was one of the most overlooked muscle cars of its day. Buick had a reputation for building old people’s cars and high-end personal luxury cars like to Riviera. Built on the same chassis platform as the Chevelle, Tempest, and Cutlass, the Skylark-based GS-X was an outgrowth of the overlooked GS-400. The car just seemed like a goosed up middle-age person’s car. But the GS-X was another story.
Packing an under-rated 360 horsepower 455 big-block Buick engine with 510 lb.ft. of torque, this beast could handle almost anything on the street. The overall package had just about everything a cushy muscle car owner might want. It had scoops and front and rear spoilers, cool stripes, a hood-mounted tach, PLUS, it had all that extra upscale Buick trim in the interior. It was like a Riviera on steroids!
But luxury and performance had a price. The GS-X cost over $5,500 - a LOT OF MONEY in 1970. However, with the right tune and driver, a GS-X was capable of 13.5 second ets on the drag strip.