This is the story of what could have been for a now defunct American car manufacturer. Apparently, a mid-engined British car did so well in racing that American companies such as Ford and AMC took note. Ford eventually produced the De Tomaso Pantera and AMC produced Mystery Car 115 — the AMC AMX/3. It was originally designed in fiberglass by Dick Teague and was later produced in Italy by Giotto Bizzarrini.
Combining left over bits and some new AMC parts, Bizzarrini compiled a fully independent suspension all-round. The chassis was a semi-monocoque backbone type, which, with the body welded on, proved to be very stiff. AMC’s biggest input in the project was the 390 ci V8 engine, which was directly derived from the AMX coupe. The engine produced so much torque that the intended ZF five speed gearbox proved to weak, and Bizzarrini commissioned the construction of a custom built four speed box.
With 340 hp and 430 lb/ft of torque, the 390 cubic inch V8 was more powerful than the Pantera, but climbing costs, new bumper regulations, and a massive union strike in the early 1970’s brought the project to a stop after only five cars had been built. Growing up in the 1970’s, I can remember falling in love with the Pantera. But until now, I had never heard of the AMX/3. If it had been produced, this could have been the car that kept AMC going. But this was not to be.
Watch the video below beginning at 2:44 to see an interview of Dick Teague’s son at an AMC car show.