Fun Stuff

Find of the Week: 1979 AMC Spirit AMX

Have you seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet? Has it, perhaps, inspired you to shave your head into a mohawk, throw on a leather jacket and go cause some mayhem? Well, have we got the car for you.

This little runt is a lost puppy from the now defunct American Motor Corporation, producers of such mostly-forgotten machinery like the Matador, the Pacer, the Javelin, and the Gremlin. Ah, but perhaps you've heard of the last, and likely in a negative light. Well imagine if somebody took a Gremlin, sketched it out as a miniature muscle car, beefed up the suspension to a degree, and then shoehorned in a 6.6L V8 making something north of 400 hp.

That's what this sawed-off street brawler is: the sportiest version of a sporty coupe based on Gremlin underpinnings, hot-rodded to Hell by an AMC fan. The 401 c.i. (6.6L) V8 is out of a 1974 Javelin, and has been entirely professionally built for maximum savagery. The five-speed transmission was lifted out of a 2006 Ford Mustang. It's fitted with racing bucket seats, overboosted '70s-style one-finger-steering, and should blaze down the quarter-mile strip like a pint-size hooligan.

To drive, it's an absolute hoot. People literally stop in the middle of the crosswalk, dumbfounded. What is that? The AMX huffs and burbles and growls, and then you stomp the loud pedal and unleash several hundred horsepower out the back of a car with the wheelbase of a Mazda Miata and 1970s suspension.

Growling, snorting, chirping the tires, turning every tunnel into a battlefield, and getting appallingly bad fuel economy: all for the wallet-friendly price of $6,500. Were you thinking instead of buying a Honda Civic? That is a puny plan. Don't do that. Buy this.