My Car Quest

September 25, 2018

The AMC AMX Fiberglass Prototype Is For Sale

by Mike –

In the mid-1960s American Motors Corporation (AMC) wanted to change their image from old fashioned economy car maker to a designer and manufacturer of exciting sports cars and muscle cars.

The “American Motors eXperimental or AMX was an important part of that transition. The AMX eventually became a successful two seat sports car that also performed like a muscle car.

The creation of the AMX was done through the development of several prototype and concept designs that were first presented to the public in 1966.

The first was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 1966 as a non-powered, fiberglass bodied concept car that came to be known as the AMX Pushcar because it had to be pushed.

The second was a fully functional steel body AMX made for AMC by the Italian coach builder, Vignale. The Vignale AMX was introduced at the New York Auto Show in May 1966.

AMC management was interested in building a fiberglass bodied sports car to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette, so they hired Smith Inland of Ionia, Michigan to build the fiberglass bodied AMX prototypes.

The car for sale here is the only AMC AMX fiberglass prototype to survive and it has a fascinating history as told by the owner below and in newspapers copied below. As happens many times with cars the human element has made a big difference – if not for an AMC car lover (Domenick Jiardine, Jr.), who was also an AMC employee, and a sympathetic AMC executive (William Luneburg, president & COO of AMC) this car would have been burned with the other fiberglass AMX prototype and thus would not exist today.

Most car prototypes are not allowed to be sold to the public. The AMX Prototype for sale here represents a unique opportunity to own a piece of history.

AMC AMX Fiberglass Prototype – For Sale

AMC AMX Prototype

Make: American Motors Corporation
Model: AMX Prototype
Year: 1966
Chassis number: None
Exterior: Trans-Am Red (Red/Orange)
Interior: Black
Body: Fiberglass
Engine: 343 cid V-8
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Odometer: Approximately 1,100 miles
Number made: The only survivor of 2 or 3 fiberglass AMC AMX prototypes
Original family ownership

Text by Austin Hagerty

Fiberglass AMX Prototypes – FRPs (Fiberglass Research Project)

Three fiberglass bodies were created circa June 1966 at the request of Robert B. Evans (AMC Chairman of the Board). They were based on a clay separate and distinct from the AMX Pushcar and Vignale AMX clay(s). The bodies were fabricated at Smith Inland in Ionia, Michigan. Unlike the previous prototypes, this series had substantial A pillars.

Fiberglass AMX #1 – (frp10?) – DESTROYED

Crash tested and destroyed circa June 1966. The violent manner in which the car broke apart in the crash test was a major factor in AMC canceling plans to create a production fiberglass AMX.

This AMX may have not have had a full drive train. It may have been just a push car.

There are conflicting stories on whether this particular fiberglass AMX existed or not. It is possible it did not and as such a fiberglass AMX rumble seat prototype was not crash tested. Frp10 would then be the AMX Pushcar.

Fiberglass AMX #2 – (frp20) – DESTROYED

This AMX had a full drive train. It was also modified at various points by the engineers and mechanics at the Proving Grounds.

Burned and destroyed at the Proving Grounds in Burlington, WI by Jimmy Phillips in 1971.

Fiberglass AMX #3 – (frp30) – Domenick Jiardine’s AMX – The Car For Sale Here

Has a full drive train including a prototype 343 cid V-8 engine with no identifying numbers on the block. The chassis is believed to be a prototype AMX/Javelin chassis.

By February 1967, this AMX had a fleet card (see photo below) and was being tested at the Proving Grounds. The car was driven 500+ miles at the Proving Grounds track and on the roads. Scrapes and gouges on the undercarriage are evidence of the time the car spent on the test track.

It was possibly used as a styling buck at one point.

It was planned to be destroyed by American Motors in 1971 along with frp20 (see above); however, it snowed the day Jimmy Phillips was scheduled to burn it so he decided to wait. He forgot about the task and a few weeks later Domenick Jiardine purchased the car from American Motors.

The way in which Domenick obtained the car is documented in various newspaper articles which can be found below.

AMC AMX Prototype

AMC AMX Prototype

AMC AMX Prototype

AMC AMX Prototype

AMC AMX Prototype

This photos above by Jeff Koch originally appeared in the August, 2013 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

AMX Conceptual Drawing

AMX Conceptual Drawing

AMX Prototype

The clay model that was used to create the body of the fiberglass AMX series (FRPs) including Domenick Jiardine’s car. Note the quad headlamps which are unique to this version of the prototype. This photo is dated June 8, 1966 which shows how early the fiberglass idea occurred in the development of the AMX.

AMX Prototype Documents

AMX Prototype At The Kenosha History Center in 2012

Domenick Jiardine, Jr. – Original Owner Photos

Magazine Articles – Part 1

Magazine Articles – Part 2

Magazine Articles – Part 3

Magazine Articles – Part 4

Magazine Articles – Part 5

Magazine Articles – Part 6

American Motors Press Releases

Other Articles

AMX Vignale

AMX Pushcar

Disclaimer

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Summary
The AMC AMX Fiberglass Prototype Is For Sale
Article Name
The AMC AMX Fiberglass Prototype Is For Sale
Description
This one-of-a-kind prototype of the American Motors AMX is for sale here!
Author

Comments

  1. Dave Hoelcher says:

    I hope it goes to the unfunded, at this time, AMC museum!

  2. J.W. Magner says:

    I can see this ending up in Jay Leno’s garage, sitting right next to his green 1950 NASH Ambassador Custom!

  3. Wallace Wyss says:

    I like the Vignale bodied one that’s up in Canada because of the rectangular headlamps(at that time illegal in the U.S.).
    Does anybody recall if that Vignale bodied car was sold at auction and when and what the price was? Was it alloy bodied?
    Thanks for all the documentation presented with the story above, it really builds a good case for the car. Sometime these prototype show up at auction (I am thinking of the Corvair Pininfarina) with no sign, no nuthin’ t tell what they are.

  4. Rory Beane says:

    The vignale amx/1 prototype was built by
    Vignale in Turin Italy of such a quality the only
    Italian craftsman was capable of in such a short time
    In 1965 , built for AMC after one of the prototype fibreglass cars failed in a crash test.
    The car is not alloy but steel
    The car has never gone to auction but was purchased
    From the taladega meusum for an undisclosed amount
    Rory Beane

  5. Wayne Watkins says:

    Take a look at it from straight on in the front and it is almost an exact copy of the Japanese Nissan Silvia csp311 . However the rest is pure AMC style , but with a dicky seat in the rear !!

  6. Ken Perriier says:

    hey there readers DO NOT confuse this car with the AMX1, AMX2, or the AMX III. Those vehicles where “mid-engined ” exotic style.

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