1960s AMC Concept Cars

AMC Vixen, AMX-GT, and AMX III Concept Cars
The 1965 AMC Vixen concept car was a coupe companion to the Cavalier concept sedan, though it didn't use interchangeable body panels.
The 1965 AMC Vixen concept car was a coupe companion to the Cavalier concept sedan, though it didn't use interchangeable body panels.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Looking back at the last of the 1960s AMC concept cars, it's clear one didn't deserve to be put into production, one should have been, and one might have been a success. Take those conclusions in order, and apply them to the AMC Vixen, AMX-GT, and AMX III concept cars

Rounding out Project IV was the Vixen, essentially a coupe companion to Cavalier designed with no thought of panel swapping. It, too, forecast Hornet appearance in its simple blunt "face," dual headlamps, long-hood/short-deck profile, and flared wheel openings.

Lower bodysides were a Hornet/Javelin mix, but the distinctive rear roofline was Vixen's own. Small sliding quarter windows enhanced interior ventilation; behind were vertical vanes angled at 45 degrees to give a measure of privacy without obstructing vision. The louvers also conferred a certain design "distinction" that prefigured an unhappy fad of the late Seventies.

Like most auto-show exercises, Project IV was more trial balloon than research tool. Though Abernethy declared that public response "to the innovations presented will have substantial bearing on [our] decisions," many Project IV styling ideas had already been approved for Javelin, AMX, the more distant Hornet, and other future models. Still, evidence suggests that Project IV accomplished its goal of convincing the public that AMC had a future after all, and a bright, exciting one at that.

The AMX-GT concept car of 1968 predicted the AMC Gremlin of 1970, but looked far more stylish.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

As a result, AMC experimentals soon became regular showtime fare. For example, 1967 saw an AMX III that previewed Javelin front-end styling as well as the general shape of the Hornet Sportabout wagon then four years away. And though we didn't know it at the time, 1968's AMX-GT was, for all intents and purposes, a preview (warning?) of the 1970 Hornet-based Gremlin.

Though not part of Project IV, the bold AMX-GT suggested that the later Gremlin would have looked great with a Javelin instead of Hornet front end. Built on a 97-inch wheelbase, the AMX-GT bowed at the New York Auto Show in April 1968 wearing simple flush wheel covers and red paint with a white bodyside/roof stripe. It was later given five-spoke road wheels and black hood/roof paint. Rear side glass was fixed, but B-pillars were absent.

The 1968 AMC AMX III sportwagon concept car was basically a 1968 AMC Javelin coupe turned into a four-door. It didn't make it to showrooms.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

A final AMC concept car from this period was the 1967 AMX III "sportwagon." This was was also a virtually stock 1968 Javelin in front, but included a stretched four-door body with a fastback wagon tail. A November 1967 mockup suggested that AMC considered adding a four-door Javelin at some point. A pity the notion went no further.

For more on concept cars and the production models they forecast, check out: