The real story of the 1970 AMX/3 begins in with the 1969 AMX/2 concept car. Like Detroit's Big Three -- General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler -- American Motors was then aggressively courting the youth market, and the Teague studios had issued a variety of "think young" concept cars in pursuit of same, as well as groovy new showroom offerings like the Mustang-inspired Javelin, the unique two-seat AMX, and the outlandish SC/Rambler.
The 1969 AMX/2 was something else, however. Patterned after European exotics like the Lamborghini Miura, Lotus Europa, and Porsche 914, it was not just AMC's most daring concept car ever but one of Detroit's first acknowledgments that mid-engine design was The Coming Thing in production sports cars.
That the AMX/2 got built at all stemmed from the enthusiasm of AMC group vice-president Gerald C. Meyers and chairman Roy Chapin, Jr. The shape came from a Dick Teague sketch that had taken Meyers's fancy: a two-passenger fastback with what the designer termed an "airfoil" shape, which managed to be interesting --swoopy without being cartoonish.
The eventual non-running fiberglass mockup sported a "fast" windshield, shapely down-curving nose with functional hood vents and hidden headlamps, and a raised rear-deck "spine," which provided pivot points for twin tillable spoilers. Its outboard ends were flared neatly into the rear fenders.
The dorsal "spine" floated above a flat, ribbed engine cover-cum-deck. Central twin exhausts implied a V-8, which was planned for but not installed in this purely speculative exercise.
Teague supervised these and other details, but the actual design was executed by staffers Bob Nixon and Fred Hudson.
Though clearly just a pipe dream, the 1969 AMX/2 concept car was greeted with no little interest on its public unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1969. With people promising to buy if only AMC would oblige, Meyers and Chapin decided to take the next logical step by commissioning a fully engineered version that could be built for sale in at least limited numbers.
But just to make sure they weren't missing something design-wise, they also decided to solicit a proposal from Italy's Giorgetto Giugiaro, then increasingly regarded as the world's most talented car designer.
Go to the next page to see what Giugiaro's team came up with.