Project: Street Machine!
1969 AMX 290 / Automatic
1 of just 299 produced, making it the rarest regular production 2-seater AMX. This was my first car purchased for $600.00 on June 16, 1980, back when you could drive home an AMX for less than a grand! It was originally Castillion Grey Metallic with a rare Platinum interior, but sported a fresh coat of racing style red, white and blue when I bought it.
Once my brother replaced the master cylinder the AMX never let me down. With my mom as co-pilot I took it to driver's ed, then drove it to my first summer job cutting grass. And even though it definitely wasn't the best AMX around I still didn't want to destroy it by driving it through an Ohio winter, so in the fall of 1980 I found it a new home.
Fast forward to June 16, 1997 when a friend landed a package deal of AMX parts with a couple of project cars thrown in. Included was my old AMX! Although I had seen it at an AMC show in 1982 I didn't expect to find it again after this much time. So 17 years later (to the day) I bought back my first car! How often does that happen? Although it was pretty rough now, missing a lot of parts and no longer painted red, white and blue, I stored the AMX for 15 years as raising kids and completing several other car projects took priority.
I finally decided in 2012 that it was time to do something with it, but what? A stock restoration in Castillion Grey? How about putting it back to the way it looked in 1980? Or maybe something completely different? That's it! Follow along as my 290 AMX becomes a retro 1970s Street Machine!
"N" code on front frame rail indicates a high compression 290 V8
Although this car has a perfect floor and rocker panels, the bottom of the rear window channel and trunk seal area was badly rusted due to someone apparently storing the car for an extended period with a bag of rock salt in the trunk. Removing the outer sheet metal revealed that the supporting structure underneath was rusty as well, requiring the complete removal of the affected area. Luckily a parts donor, one with badly rusted rockers, floor pans and troughs, supplied rust-free parts to repair this one!
No, it's not an AMX hatchback, it only looks that way!
Any great project requires a lot of great parts. For a car like this that means tracking down a lot of period correct and obsolete speed parts. Here are some of the items sourced for the AMX Street Machine.
The reissued Edelbrock AMC valve covers are new, the Cal Custom "fly eye" air cleaner is NOS. Yellow label Accel Super Coils are rarely seen in such nice condition! Wires are yellow to match.
Vintage 14x10" Cragar S/S wheels for the rear, ones this nice are hard to find! I still have to decide on wheels for the front. Also shown are some of the new undercar parts.
Vintage Thrush side pipes appear to be the perfect size for the short wheelbase AMX. I found some stainless steel mufflers from Speedway Motors which fit inside the covers!
Moving inside, the real wood steering wheel is "The 500" by Superior, the USA-made gauge set is NOS. The Ranger brand AM/FM/8-track stereo is from an AMX that I bought in 1983. Vintage speakers are NOS.
We're making some progress up front. The steering and suspension has been removed and will be rebuilt as needed. The engine compartment and inner fenders have been prepped then coated with etching primer.