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1970 AMC AMX

IT’S AS REAL AS A CAR CAN BE

Story Larry Jewett - Images Bill Erdman - May 01, 2011 09:00 AM

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It's fully loaded. The red leather (interior) is rare. I think this car is maxed out on the options.

Glenn McKenzie is committed to American motors cars, and he is especially committed to this one. McKenzie has seen 30 AMC products come and go while he has owned this one, but he’s never been tempted to sell.

What’s so special about this car? Take a look at the dealer window sticker, and you’ll find your own answers. But if it isn’t clear, we’ll let McKenzie tell you.

“It’s the real deal,” he said. “It’s fully loaded. The red leather (interior) is rare. I think this car is maxed out on the options.”

McKenzie grew up as the son of an auto dealer, with his family owning Empire Rambler in the Bronx. The family later moved their association to Chrysler, which explains McKenzie’s passion for certain products from that company, but that’s a story for another day. The name McKenzie Motors lives on in his current business in the Highland Mills, New York, area.

As a child, McKenzie would spend his Saturdays with his father at the dealership. He could get up close and personal with the new AMC line, and the AMX caught his fancy. He latched onto a ’68 390 car when he hit the age of 16. The special car seen here was lying in wait.

“I bought the car in Fort Lauderdale [Florida] in 1979,” he related. “I was going to school in Florida and saw it in a driveway.”

An older cousin had owned a red-on-red promo car that had been purchased from a regional manager, and that car left the impression that made this car the one to have. Glenn paid $2,700 and came away with the car as its second owner.

The car was originally sold at the Kobbe & Flannery dealership in Teaneck, New Jersey. The original owner took the car with him when he retired to Florida, and that’s where the fates put it in the hands of McKenzie.

It’s an unrestored original that has about 58,000 miles on it now. As you can see from the sticker, it has air conditioning, a heated rear window, side pipes, the 3.91 rear gears, tilt wheel and the AM-FM radio. That radio was a $133 option, equal to about three weeks’ wages in the day.

The body did get a paint job in 1980, but other than that, it is exactly the way it came from Kenosha. “The patina is there,” McKenzie pointed out. “There’s even some wear on the seats.”

To find an example like this among the limited build of 4,116 cars, McKenzie knows he made the right move in keeping it the way it was. He takes the car to occasional shows and rides around with it a bit. He knows that the value this car holds can’t be easily reflected in price guides. “I could put $20,000 into a paint job and maybe sell it for $45,000. I’d be lucky to get that much out of it.

“These cars were before their time. They had the plastic dash and everyone thought that was cheap. Take a look at the cars today. These cars were ahead of their time.”

McKenzie’s collection of vintage muscle includes a Scrambler, a Bittersweet Orange ’70 AMX, a ’69 Barracuda and his current project, a ’65 Satellite. His concession to modern muscle was the purchase of a Viper, but that was traded in on a 2002 Thunderbird. Glenn will agree that sometimes we do things that look good at the time, so go easy on him here. It won’t happen again.

The passion is clear. Glenn McKenzie loves and appreciates the AMC cars, and you can even say he deserves to have the red ’70 AMX. There will be no third owner, so don’t get any ideas.

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