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Restored AMX/3 wins at Pebble Beach 2016

Discussion in 'AMC, Eagle, Hudson, Nash, Willys' started by Fast Eddie, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    AMX3_at Pebble Beach 2016.jpg




    Photos by Mark McCourt.

    Cracking paint from a 25-year-old restoration was all it took for Jurgen Wilms to decide that his newly acquired AMX/3 – a car that probably doesn’t need any paint at all, thanks to its unique provenance and its Giotto Bizzarrini styling – could use a little sprucing up, and thanks to that re-restoration, his mid-engine supercar this past weekend became the most highly decorated AMC at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

    Designated number 4, the AMX/3 now painted bronze is also known as the Monza car for the aerodynamic testing that Bizzarrini put it through at the racetrack in 1970, testing that resulted in a top speed of 170 MPH. Bizzarrini had proven both the shape of the car and his chassis design, which he reportedly once called the ultimate evolution of the P538. The anticipated cost of the car and pending federalization requirements, however, kept AMC from putting the AMX/3 into production. Ultimately, Bizzarrini built five prototypes and a business partner of his built one more from leftover parts.

    Number 4 passed through a couple of hands over the next two decades (AMX/3s tend not to sell too often – a couple of the other five remain in the hands of their original owners) before Walter Kirtland bought it in 1989 and commissioned a full restoration, one that took the car’s appearance during the Monza tests as inspiration. The next year he showed it at Pebble Beach in a class dedicated to cars influenced by Bizzarrini, a class won by a Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

    Kirtland then sold number 4 in 2014 to Wilms, who showed the AMX/3 in its Monza form at Villa d’Este, but felt that it could present itself better.

    “Cracks were growing like a spider web,” as Wilms descibed the car’s condition. “Since the car needed a solid respray, I asked myself what the objective should be: restore faithfully, as seen on period photos, garish lettering on the front and back, and no covers on the front hood for the radiator exhausts? Or, restore in period-correct fashion, but with an objective to show the car in its best light to re-ignite interest in this vehicle?

    “The lettering overpowered the car’s elegant lines and the later-installed grilles over the radiator exhaust openings on the front hood screamed ‘copied from the Lamborghini Miura.’ In this guise, the car would never win the hearts of spectators nor of concours judges.”

    So he decided to restore the car to a version “hopefully faithful to the design team’s ideas” – incorporating design changes that he believed AMC’s designers would have implemented had the AMX/3 gone into production such as the additional scoops behind the rear windows and the era-correct AMC color, P79 Bittersweet Orange.

    According to Wilms, the mechanical refurbishment of the 390-powered car took just as much research, involving Bizzarrini’s drawings of the shock absorber system for Koni, drawings from the German company that made the exhaust, and data from ATE on the braking system.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    While this year’s Bizzarrini class at Pebble Beach included a second AMX/3 – the yellow number 5 owned by Bernie and Joan Carl of Washington, D.C., a car which competed in the mid-engine prototypes class at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours – number 4 came out on top, becoming the only American Motors-branded car to place first in class at the concours.

    (Note: A pair of 1954 Hudson Italias placed first in their classes in the 1962 and 1963 editions of the concours, and a 1954 Nash Metropolitan placed first in its class in 1954.)

    Wilms, who still has plenty of research ahead of him, said the refresh of number 4 was worth it, but “One should quit when on top, so I guess I should never do this again.”
     
    Shane Estabrooks, dana44 and PCRMike like this.
  2. pt006

    pt006 Active Member

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    Eddie; thanks for showing us a car which I [and most] never knew about. Reminds me of a Pantera. Definitely cool. There was a lot of unique cars built back then. Pantera, GT 40, AC Cobra, Delorean, Avanti, etc. The rear window looks massive!
     
    PCRMike likes this.
  3. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Eddie, thank you very much.

    Being an AMC fan, I fancied their Stuff quite a bit. This fellow, Wilms, did a fine job of keeping the AMX/3 going.
    Hat's off to him.
    .
     
  4. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

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    Another AMC fan here.

    Very smart engineering on a tight budget for many years.

    Thanks
    Randy
     
  5. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    Note how some styling went into the later Matador.
    I was lucky enough to see one of the AMX cars in the exec garage at AMTEK in 1979.
     
  6. JavelinAMX

    JavelinAMX Well-Known Member

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    Yeah; you're right. The '74 Matador Coupe :

    This one { then look again at the yellow AMX/3 photo and note the similarities } :


    [​IMG]
     
  7. saltydog

    saltydog Well-Known Member

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    Very cool! Thanks for sharing!
     
    JavelinAMX likes this.
  8. chuzz

    chuzz Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful car. I never heard of before now. Awesome find!
     

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