My Car Quest

December 4, 2022

The American Motors AMX/3 – Number 6

by Mike Gulett –

There were only five AMX/3s made before American Motors shut the program down in late 1970. Then one more was assembled by Salvatore Diomante from the remaining parts for a total of six of these beautiful super cars. The AMC AMX/3 was engineered and constructed by the brilliant Giotto Bizzarrini with styling by AMC’s head of design Richard Teague.

AMC AMX/3 Number 6

AMC AMX/3 number 6 has reemerged and is now owned by Simon Vels of The Netherlands who is only the second owner after Salvatore Diomante. Simon sent these photos to me. This is the car that was the first of the planned Bizzarrini Sciabola (see below for more on the Sciabola).

AMC AMX/3 No. 6

AMC AMX/3 History Summary

In 1969 American Motors Corporation (AMC) was a distant fourth in automobile production in the United States and wanted to do something dramatic to try and change the outlook of their business. They introduced the AMX/3 mid-engine concept car at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show.

AMC AMX/3 and Giotto Bizzarrini

Giotto Bizzarrini on the left and Beppe Nieri, Bizzarrini’s test driver, leaning on an AMX/3. Photo by Flavio Pieri.

Although this was just a rolling chassis it generated some attention.

AMC needed help to turn this dream into a reality so they contacted Giotto Bizzarrini who was having business troubles of his own.

The engine for the AMX/3 was an AMC 390 cid V8 putting out 340 hp. It accelerated to 60 MPH in just 5.5 seconds. By all accounts the AMX/3 was an excellent car and handled very well. BMW also made contributions to testing the AMX/3.

The AMX/3 chassis is a semi-monocoque design made of steel as is the body. Underneath – upper and lower wishbone suspension front and rear, Teves four-wheel power disc brakes, Campagnolo alloy wheels, and a front-mounted radiator with cooling fans.

Unfortunately AMC ran out of money and Bizzarrini was distracted by his own problems so the project was halted after only five cars were made. Sweet dreams unfulfilled. But then Salvatore Diomante assembled a sixth example with the parts he had left over.

AMC AMX/3

This AMX/3 was at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2006 and 2016.

The Dream Of The Bizzarrini Sciabola

After American Motors dropped the AMX/3 development Giotto Bizzarrini wanted to turn this special super car design into a real product bearing the Bizzarrini badge.

Sciabola is an Italian word meaning saber in English. This was the name Giotto Bizzarrini selected for the planned super car model that came out of the work he did with American Motors on the AMX/3.

Bizzarrini Sciabola Brochure

Bizzarrini Sciabola Brochure showing AMX/3 No. 6

Perhaps saber was selected because of the sharp shape of the front of the AMX/3 or maybe Sciabola is just a cool name that fits a really cool super car.

The AMX/3 is as much a Bizzarrini as any of the models that bear the Bizzarrini badge. The way the AMX/3 was created is similar to how the Bizzarrini GT 5300 was created.

The AMX/3 development was funded by American Motors, styled by Richard Teague of AMC, powered by an American Motors engine and was branded AMC.

The Bizzarrini GT 5300 was funded by Iso, styled by Giugiaro of Bertone and powered by Chevrolet as were other Isos at the time. Initially it was branded an Iso and changed to the Bizzarrini brand later when Giotto Bizzarrini and Renzo Rivolta, owner of Iso, decide to part ways.

Giotto Bizzarrini is responsible for both the Bizzarrini GT 5300 and the AMX/3 engineering. The AMX/3 was built by Diomante and initially Drogo built the GT 5300 bodies.

Shown above is a brochure for the Bizzarrini Sciabola showing AMX/3 number 6. Once a brochure was made that meant that Giotto was serious. It is too bad he could not pull this off and make a hundred or so like he did with the GT 5300.

The only American Motors car to win its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is this AMX/3

And the winner is … this American Motors AMX/3 super car – the first AMC car to win its class at Pebble Beach, ever.

This is the AMX/3 that was tested on the Monza track by BMW and Giotto Bizzarrini himself. Bizzarrini also put his name on this car, he labeled it “AMX/3 by Bizzarrini”.

This special AMC AMX/3 was sold through My Car Quest in 2013 – see old photos at this link.

American Motors AMX/3

American Motors AMX/3

American Motors AMX/3

Let us know what you think in the Comments. Who wishes that the AMX/3 would have gone into production?

The Simon Vels AMX/3 Sciabola won the Prototype Award at the Zoute Concours d’Elegance in 2022.

AMX/3 No 6

Summary
The American Motors AMX/3 - Number 6
Article Name
The American Motors AMX/3 - Number 6
Description
There were only five AMX/3s made before American Motors shut the program down in late 1970. Then one more was assembled by Salvatore Diomante from the remaining parts for a total of six of these beautiful super cars. Here is the last AMX/3 made.
Author

Comments

  1. Tom Grammer says

    It was produced – by Mattel as a Hot Wheels car. Unfortunately, that is the closest I will get to owning one of the beauties!

  2. Trevor Gaunt says

    What a shame this beautiful supercar didn’t make it to series production. There are hints of Pantera in the styling – one of your pictures shows #6 alongside a Pantera GT4 with a De Tomaso sign above. If the AMX/3 had been produced in numbers, it may well have made a dent in Ferrari sales in the U.S. – depending upon price.

  3. Wallace Wyss says

    I remember the excitement building in 1970 over the possibility of three American mid-engined cars coming to market at the same time–the AMX/3, the Pantera and Chevy’s mid-engine Corvette. Alas AMC was playing with an empty wallet and GM, well, it only took them another half century or so…

  4. Mike, Car #6 was a fully constructed, painted chassis and fully funded under the direction of American Motors. Per Diomante, all 9 surviving chassis were constructed under the American Motors AMX/3 program. Cars #5 and #6 were both used by Bizzarrini in attempting to launch the marketing of these AMX/3 cars as Sciabola in Europe. The plan was to dual brand / market these cars, with AMC selling the AMX/3 cars in the North America. AMC allowed Bizzzarrini to retain everything used in the project to do this. At some point in 1971-72, Bizzarrini declined to proceed with self-funding the construction costs (with AMC supplying parts and engines), so the project quietly died with AMC not importing Cars #1, #5 and the transaxles until 1973. AMC allowed Diomante to keep Car #6 and Bizzarrini kept unfinished chassis #7, #8 and #9 and used them for the Iso Rivolta Varedo and AMX/3 Spider. AMX/3 #7 unfinished and the Spider unfinished were sold around 1972. Bizzarrini did not independently develop or fund this project or these cars, except for the Spider version, but it was a modified AMC chassis. Per Bizzarrini he didn’t have the courage to proceed because his previous bankrupcy was so near in his mind. Car #6 did not become the Sciabola brochure car until 1976. Per a Bizzarrini interview at the 1976 event: “Exhibited to make known the changes of OTO-MELARA. Existing for several years at the time of display, the car is built to order, and made entirely by hand.” No Sciabola cars were ever constructed per the Italian government and Bizzarrini and Diomante. Per Simon Vels, he was required to register the car in the Netherlands as an American Motors AMX/3 per the government because no Bizzarrini Sciabola cars were ever constructed. See my website for the timeline and developement history. amx3.weebly.com

  5. Wallace Wyss says

    Though I sometimes shoot models with cars there’s something sad about that last picture (legs too skinny?) as if they thought “well, maybe the car and setting don’t look too good–let’ get a model.” As if we car guys will automatically connect the two, i.e.–“get the car, get the girl.” The car should be able to have enough appeal by its lonesome.
    I’m just sayin’

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