Over the past 40+ years, I have owned for personal use or to fix up and resell no less than 15 two seater AMXs, 6 or 7 Javelins and the later Javelin AMXs, 3 Machines, 8 SC/Ramblers, a 67 Rebel convertible, a 67 Rogue Convertible and a boat load of other AMC cars and parts. I once gave away a massive truck load of parts when I was moving out west and thought that I was out of the AMC hobby after 30 years. That lasted less than a year and I am now back in it again with a huge supply of mechanical parts, body parts and currently 14 AMC cars all packed in my garages, storage sheds and now the shop featured in this site which is dedicated to the preservation and resurrection of AMC cars
I currently hail from a nice smallish town outside of Phoenix surrounded primarily on two sides each by Phoenix and Scottsdale and the supply of rust free vintage cars out here is nearly unlimited so this is definitely my kind of place. I worked for a number of very well known IT Services companies in senior executive roles past 40 years and am now in a position to be fully retired and dedicating my energies full time to restoring many more of these fine but often overlooked automobiles back to their former glory.
My AMC experience started when I graduated high school back in 1971 and started looking for a muscle car like a Chevelle SS 396, 389 tri-power GTO or even a big block 390 Mustang. I had driven them all and they all felt like lumbering hulks but one day I stopped by a boat dealership that my father was visiting to tell him about the latest Chevelle SS 396 that I had driven when he turned and pointed to this funny little green car (my original 68 390 4 speed AMX) with a dented front fender and said why don’t you buy that car. Truth be told, I actually chuckled and said why would I want to buy a Rambler, of all things, and he and the car’s owner (who was also the boat dealership owner) simply smiled and replied that I should drive it first and then we’d talk. Well anyone who currently or has owned a 390 AMX knows that to drive one is to immediately fall in love with it. Although it was pure stock, it was far and away the best performing car I had ever taken out for a ride and 30 minutes later we agreed upon $1100 sale price, dented fender and all, and the car became mine two days later.
I owned that car for nearly 30 years during which time I sold and bought it back twice. Along the way, I first added headers, a Holley 750, Mallory dual point and a Hurst competition plus shifter along with spoked aluminum wheels and bigger tires and terrorized the locals with that car for a couple of years while using the car as my daily driver. Upon approaching 80,000 miles with the engine was showing signs of age, I bought a beater car (we called them winter beaters back then) and pulled my AMX off the road for its first major performance engine rebuild. To this day I know who currently owns the car and there is a pretty good chance that I eventually buy it back before too long. And if that momentous 4th purchase of the same car occurs, it will have a full page dedicated on this website to my very long and occasionally off periods of owning that very special AMC AMX.
During the first rebuild, I opted to significantly enhance the engine’s performance with a Torker intake, the infamous Crane 306 thumper Cam with lifters and valve springs kit and Janz 10.2 compression replacement pistons. I had the heads cc’d with a new multiangle competition valve job, the assembly fully balanced, the 4 speed tranny rebuilt with new bearings and seals (it needed it from all of those foot to the floor speed shifts), all mains and new rod bearings, freeze plugs and gaskets, new oil pump with 8 quart pan and pickup, shot peaned the rods with new rod bolts, polished the crank and a installed a Zoom roller timing chain. I also had the rocker studs replaced with bigger ½ inch studs with 1.7 ratio rockers and it was all professionally assembled and ready to drop in the car. I also upgraded to Zoom universal joints and a 3200 lb knee cracking heavy duty clutch plus upgraded the carb to a Holley 850 double pumper. Amazingly, the engine work cost well over twice what I had paid for the car 3 years earlier but it was worth it the first time I mashed the pedal to the floor and slammed the T-10 into 2nd gear at 4500 RPM leaving two black stripes on the pavement at least 50′ long…and that was while it was still being broken in!
The one thing I did not change was the factory 3:15 rear gears which resulted in a lot of clutch wear but allowed the car to still be a decent freeway cruiser. For the next ten years, I terrorized any and all who were fool hardy enough to challenge my little “Nash” (as all my friends and I called it). Even with the 3:15 gears, the car would still hook up well and take off while others were spinning their tires and making a lot of noise but not going anywhere. I regularly shifted at 6500 RPM and the “Nash” embarrassed the likes of W-30 Olds 442s, a 440 six pack Super Bee with 4:10 gears, 428 Cobra Jets, 455 TA’s and anyone else who was not aware of what a 420 HP motor will do in a 3100 lb car, (lower weight due to getting rid of a lot of cast iron parts and replacing them with aluminum or just removing things like the smog system). The other amazing thing about that car is that it would easily hit 140+ MPH although at around 110 it would pop the side window seals and push the electric wipers straight up. I hammered that poor engine every change I got and it took everything I could throw at it including multiple trips to NE Dragway where my best time slip was 13.19 @ 109.7MPH despite the 3:15 gears and glass belted tires and barely shifting into 4th gear 150′ or less from the finish line.
With the exception of selling the car twice for a total period of less than two years, I kept that car from 1971 through 2002 until I finally sold it for the last time due to not having the time to put it back together while being divorceed and having an impending move out West for work. A friend in Vermont bought it and put it all back together and when finished he nicknamed it the beast. Over the years, I had disassembled it for another rebuild and had thousands of dollars in NOS parts but the divorce and a heavy work travel schedule prevented me from getting it back together. My friend Steve bought it, loaded it on a flat bed with all the parts and within a year had it all back together as a gorgeous near stock car with the exception of the freshly rebuilt (again) hypo motor, this time with 502-2 heads and Hooker Super Comps.
Along the way in December of 1998, I also picked up my first SC/Rambler which was a very very clean and mostly original 43000 mile car. It has obviously been someone’s long term toy and had seen very little rain or snow but had been run hard over its life. Due to it being the holiday time of the year and the fact that SC/Ramblers had not yet caught on, I was able to pick that car up for $5300 and drive it home from Fitchburg MA to my house in Hingham, MA. I distinctly remember how blazingly fast the car was with even a very modestly modified motor with just an R4B, holley 650 double pumper and headers. After rebuilding the engine with NOS pistons, the same head and valve treatment as my former AMX, balancing the motor and having all new bearings, rings, seals, etc installed as well as having the engine bay and trunk cleaned up and repainted, new stripe kit, new basket weave seat inserts and installing an original carb and pollution control setup with stock exhaust including the original Thrush mufflers, I sold it to a fellow in Florida in 2002. Since then he had the car stripped and repainted as well as continued to add odds and ends of authentic original parts. Over the past 10 years I have bought and restored many more SC/Ramblers and currently restoring #7 and #8 with #7 soon to be on its way to a new owner in NY.
In 2011 I purchased a full service AMC restoration shop that became the inspiration for this website. Currently the shop has 3 full time contract employees plus myself and on any given day you will see final stages of AMC restorations in progress, engines, transmissions and suspension regbuilds in progress, and one or more car’s bodies being stripped, having metal replaced or getting new paint. Current projects include a 74 Jav AMX, two Rambler SC/Ramblers, a 67 Ambo factory 343 4 bbl 4 spd restonation underway, 4 70 AMXs, a 67 Rebel convertible and a 67 Rogue convertible restomod.
Additiona Photos and information about the AMC Restoration Shop can be found at our facebook page of AMC Musclecars.
Well that’s about it for who I am. My areas of expertise in AMC’s are both mechanical and restoration, leaning more so on the high performance modification side.
This site is intended to be a great venue for documenting the restoration of all my AMC projects and will hopefully be enjoyed by those who are interested in seeing step by step pictures as the restorations take place. AMCs are finally getting some positive recognition in the collector car world and I am attempting to do my part to build upon that momentum rather than slow it down as has too often been the case in the AMC world.
AMCs are unusual cars often owned by some, shall we say, somewhat unusual people. Now that the cars are becoming noteworthy and of high interest, we all need to do our part to build on that interest. I look forward to interacting with everyone while helping to make AMC cars on par with the level of interest as some of the other great but much less unique cars already out there from the Big 3.
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