AMC, American Motors

Torq-O Podcast #12: Dr. Charles Hyde on Nash, Hudson and AMC

Torq-O has a holiday gift for you: a brand new podcast!

STORIED book cover
Nash, Hudson, and AMC fans will love this podcast (our last one!) with Dr. Charles K. Hyde, the author of Storied Independent Automakers: Nash, Hudson and American Motors.

Hyde is the only guy I know of who has actually done a swan dive into the surviving corporate records of Nash, Hudson, and AMC. Listen in as he provides an objective historical perspective on three of our favorite orphan car companies.

Plus, Torq-O delivers three impossible-to-find radio commercials.

It’s 65 minutes of orphan car bliss. It’s our longest podcast ever, and it’s just for you. Happy holidays, orphan car fans!

AMC Pacer is a "dirt cheap collectible car".

CNN has a slideshow of its top ten “dirt cheap collectible cars”. AMC’s Pacer scored a silver medal.

What, no Gremlin, Matador, Rambler, Studebaker Lark, Oldsmobile almost anything, or any of the other scores, bushels, and pecks of granny cars from Plymouth, Pontiac, and Saturn?

AMC intermediates at Ate Up With Motor

Aaron Severson has a holiday treat for you. He’s written an article about AMC’s intermediate-sized cars. You’ll find great information about Classics, Marlins, Rebels, and Matadors. Check it out at his web site Ate Up With Motor.

Torq-O has a treat for you, too. We provided three rare movie clips from the The Torq-O Media Archive. (As far as I know, Aaron and I are the only ones who are using the written word and multimedia to chronicle car history.)

Happy Holidays!

1977 -78 AMC AMX in Collectible Automobile

In the Cheap Wheels section of the October 2009 issue of Collectible Automobile (still no web site), there’s a great article about the 1977-78 AMC AMX first built on the Hornet/Concord chassis.

These are rare, rare, rare cars. The 1977’s look like Hornets that kinda suffered through beauty school makeovers. I think the 1978’s are trimmed out a little better. And there’s no mistaking the popularity of flaming hood decals on the ’78. Pontiac had the flaming chicken, and AMC had the flaming Hornet.

Anybody who has visited this blog in the past year knows that Torq-O has a lot of vintage AMC movies. I’m pretty sure that we have the most hours of AMC audio-visual material in the U.S. if not the world. Certainly more than Chrysler.

One of the films that we just had digitized is the 1977 AMC Dealer Announcement Show. It features singin’, dancin’, and product introducin’. And, you probably already guessed it, the 1977 AMX is prominently featured.

Check out this splashy introduction featuring an actor playing a very Fonz-like greaser (with very 70’s-like hair). It’s the perfect complement to the Collectible Automobile article. (Keep in mind that this is a filmed stage show.)


AMC Concept 80 cars in Hemmings Classic Car

If you’re an AMC fan, you need to check out Patrick Foster’s latest article in the September 2009 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

Foster tells a great story about his personal trip in 1977 to AMC’s Concept 80 show in New York City. AMC was showing some automotive ideas to the public, and Foster was there. In fact, he was escorted around the show floor by John Conde (AMC’s unofficial historian and public relations executive) and styling guru Dick Teague.

The article features all of the Concept 80 cars, but there’s one total standout: the AM Van. AMC coulda/shoulda built this stylish minivan and beat Chrysler to market by three or more years.

Even though the article features several great color illustrations of the cars, there’s no substitute for being there. So we dug through the Torq-O Media Archive and found this vintage 1977 news film. (We bought the film from John Conde himself several years back.)


1966 AMC Ambassador convertible in Cars & Parts

The folks at Cars & Parts (right up the highway from us in Sidney, OH) often give the guys who work for the Hemmpire in Vermont a run for their money.

Their cover story about the ’66 AMC Ambassador 990 convertible in the July 2009 issue is a great example. Richard Truesdell wrote a great story about what American Motors was doing at that time. He talks about how owner Ken Norman’s car is tricked out with every factory option except the tachometer.

But I felt the story needed a little hot sauce. So I burrowed deep into the Torq-O Media Archive until only my feet were sticking of the hole. When my assistants pulled me out, I was feverish and babbling. The 16mm commercial spot that they crowbarred out of my hands is the secret sauce for this article.

Here’s a 1966 Ambassador TV commercial for your contextual pleasure.

In 1966, AMC promoted themselves as the “Friendly Giant Killers.” And they spent a ton of money doing it. They produced one of their traveling dealer introduction shows that toured the United States. They recorded and distributed an original cast recording on a vinyl LP.

They also spent some coins sponsoring big television shows. Here’s a short movie featuring actor David Wayne pitching American Motors. You would have seen this video running in the middle of some big TV special on one of the big three networks at that time.

Did this advertising investment work? Not unless you consider the President’s unceremonious dumping in January 1967 a serendipitous career change.

Nevertheless, for one glorious year, AMC showed that the littlest American car company could write checks just as big as the Big Three.