1970 AMX / 360
Written by: John Widiker
Here is the story of the AMX
My Dad wanted an AMX prior to when they found out my mom was pregnant (1971), Rinke Jeep in Mt. Clemens MI got ours in used (a year old) and he begged my mom to let him buy it, he was 18 at the time and didn't really think through the whole 2 seater thing I don't think.
I was brought home from the hospital in the AMX when I was born making it the first car I ever rode in. He drove it daily (and rapidly) to work daily until it cost him his license. I have about 10 racing stories I've heard over time from his family and friends, lets just say he was an enthusiastic driver. LOL. My mom then drove it while he waited for his points to drop. He was killed in an industrial accident in 1973 just after he had gotten his license back and was just wrapping up a head gasket swap on the car.
After he died my grandfather (his dad) bought it from my mom for $1000.00 to save it for me, he stored it in the back room of a factory he worked in for a few years, driving it occasionally, my earliest memory is getting picked up from preschool in it by my Grandpa. When he moved jobs he built a garage for it at his mom's house. it sat there for about 20 years getting started every few months but not driven.
When I was getting married in 1994 I asked if I could drive it and we had pictures taken at the wedding of us standing with it. My Grandpa told me I could have it to keep and I've been playing with it since. I've always felt that cars are meant to be driven and that trailer queens are useless paper weights so I've made some changes over time that I felt my dad would approve of. In order to save the original engine from harm I swapped in a 360 that I built back in 1991 for a spirit race car I had (tired and need to swap in my other one pretty soon). It's got a 727 transmission with a shift kit, 2800 stall converter, Mopar 8.75 rear end with Moser forged axles, Dynotech shaft, some other goodies.
Nothing that approaches what I want to do with it, but that's a money thing. The next thing I'm going to do is paint it as the paint has faded to almost flat army green over time. What I plan to do once I can afford it is make it a modern tech pro-touring car. I've loved the AMX my whole life. Not having any memories of my Dad (I was 1 1/2 when he died) it's super important to me, and now that my Grandfather is getting old it's pretty much my only tie to my dad. They only made 4116 of them in 1970 and most of those are gone making it super rare today, if they had been made by the big 3 and in those small numbers I think they would be the most collectable muscle car (excluding Cobras) ever made, but that's just my opinion.
Rochester Hills, MI
Greg: John, thank you so much for taking the time to send us such a great story and a tire frying burnout!! Sorry it took so long!