Best Muscle Cars
By Dave Ashton
The American Motors Corporation or AMC, may not be front of mind when it comes to priced muscle cars. But in the golden age of high displacement vehicles, AMC made some outstanding vehicles like this AMC 1969 AMX California 500 Special.
For a bit of back history, AMC was born in 1954 from the Nash and Hudson company. The merger joined the other big 3 carmakers, Chrysler, Ford and GM, pumping out general roadgoing vehicles like the Nash Metropolitan and Rambler American. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1960s that the most commonly known muscle car variations were produced. These included the likes of the AMC Marlin, AMX, 390, Javelin, The Machine, Javelin AMX 401, and the Hornet SC 360. Renault took over the reins of the company in 1979, and eventually merged into the Chrysler brand in 1990.
The AMX popped into existence in 1968, scrapping it out in the pony car market with the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. At the time it was the only US produced 2 seater sports car, along with the Chevrolet Corvette. The AMX(American Motors eXperimental) stood out for its short wheelbase at 97 inches, and cost less than a Corvette at $3,250.
Under the Hood
The AMX California 500 Special was sold through the Southern California American Motors Dealer Association to acknowledge the 1969 Riverside International Raceway. As the pace car that season was a Big Bad Green AMX with a 390 ci V8, the roadgoing versions were given the same treatment, with a saddle leather interior, and an engine producing 315 hp and 425 ft lbs of torque.
Only 23 of the 283 Big Bad Green AMX models became California 500 Specials. As this example is in such pristine condition, it’s expected to fetch between $100,000 – $120,000 USD at RM Sothebys at the end of April.
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