Dear Stephen Kim: It'd be real nice to read, for once, in a mainstream car magazine, a non knee-jerk introduction to a product from American Motors. Something other than the premise that on par or even superior performance and appearance of said item is a fluke. You say yourself in November article on the 1970 AMX that Chrysler hired AMC’s skilled talent to engineer Chrycho’s own turn-around in the nineties. You also wonder why the AMX wasn’t more “successful”. If, as you maintain, the hits were unexpected then the answer is clear if your view was one shared by the buying public in the years 1968 through 1970. Yet if AMC’s engineers were talented, and by extension, it’s designers, then it’s likely that the resultant efforts under the AMC banner would be successful, or at least interesting and capable. Alternately, the high points represented by the AMC examples you do deliver could also spark intrigue in the would-be AMC explorer. That fact and the fact that you mention AMC’s legacy reaching forward 'til now mitigate, in part, your all too familiar qualified praise. AMC, nee Rambler, Hudson, Nash, Lafayette, and Jeffery built cars that were at times quirky, staid, odd, and ungainly(styling) yet mediocre isn’t the adjective that summarizes the 87(or is it 104?) year history of things AMC. Quality, economy, affordability, reliability, and daring did often as not qualify as the company’s legacy. The Pacer, which you shun as the ugliest, also presaged engineering and style features to appear later even on European cars. Take a look at a 928 and the genesis behind it. Observe the first Accords and subsequent 80’s mainstream styling aspects such as body corner flush turn-signals or check later American cars with rack and pinion steering. Arguably, today’s three door concept is a natural offshoot from the Pacer’s longer curbside door. Take the styling of the 1977 Pacer Wagon, for instance, that struck a balance between window area (particularly window height) and horizontal body sight lines and was more in line with the original design drawings that envisioned the Pacer as a mid-engine mini-van. Conversely look at the ’78 and up Concords and ‘80 and later Eagles. Not at all new cars. They were restyled Hornets. But the concept, that of a high feature content compact, when intermediates and above had luxury and features, was brilliant. Eagles took it even further. All wheel drive. Full length frame rails, reinforced control arms; in reality the Eagle was also the rolling test bed for the Cherokee. Ironic that the Cherokee turned the profit game around for AMC at just the moment when then partner Renault considered the struggle of gaining a toehold in America, while sustaining AMC, too great. Chrysler and history changed course or names at least. Another legacy AMC left behind, Cherokee sales were amongst the highest in automotive history for a single model. A company with a well deserved reputation for mediocrity? Operating from their shoe-string budget and as the last major independent to make it for the amount of time that they did, the industry still feels the effects of their existence. No surprise then that their greatest hits coincided with cash reserves sufficient to fully develop the line. With the confluence of money AND talent at points the best was the result. After all, the evidence exists right now.Steve AverySanta Maria, Ca
AMC people are own worst enemies. I signed up on the GAYMCforum.com but promptly left. Infighting, disinformation, inaccurate information; depressingly predictable American Motors fans self destructing. Much information plagiarized from other sites. Bookmark this page to see another AMC site crater. Unprofessional, unfriendly, unlike the cheery card mentions. Content scraping should be condemned at any level but theamcforum.com takes it to another level stealing domain name of original website including content. My search for a legitimate AMC club to contribute to continues. Why should PHR waste valuable space in their magazine? Dawn
I agree, the dysfunctional AMC crowd that wanders dead forums necroposting and flaming people with only one post from years ago are a tad annoying. Exactly the kind of activity that turns people off.That aside I'm noticing a lot more AMC and non-Mustang Ford activity in Ohio this year.
Relax, partner. Stephen is just approaching the subject from the expectation of the typical non-AMC reader.My uncle was one of AMC's chief engineers for years, going all the way back to the 1950s. In fact, most of my family is from Toledo and worked for AMC at one time or another. I found nothing derogatory or factually incorrect in the story.And yeah, some of AMC's products were crap.