Note from Robert Kibbe:
For those of you who are regular readers, this blog post was written by Wayne Davis of Colorado AMX Motorsports. Wayne opened his shop recently to chase a dream he’s always had and is someone I really thought you’d enjoy reading from. We’re trying something new here at The MuscleCar Place by adding in contributors that are working hard to make the world of muscle cars a better place, and are chasing their dreams while doing it. Look for more great stuff here from Wayne in the future!
The “Red Headed Stepchild”
My dad drove Studebakers and then after they went away, he drove Oldsmobiles. So as things go, I should be a Studebaker or Oldsmobile loyalist (if your dad drove a certain brand, the unspoken rule is; that’s what you drive). But I’m an AMC guy…what gives?
In 1969, I saw my first AMX. My heart went pitter-patter. I instantly fell in love and that love exists to today, forty years later. My cousin, who was a couple years older than me, got a brand new Castilian Grey, red stripe, 390 cid, Hurst 4-speed AMX for his graduation from high school. His parents were a little better-off than my folks…I got a new shirt and neck tie for my graduation. Can you imagine being 17 years old and getting a brand new muscle car like that for a graduation present? That’s when I fell in love. I would go over to his house on weekends and wax the car for him, hand him wrenches as he upgraded the car with an aluminum manifold, bigger carb, bigger tires (remember M50’s?). It was ecstasy for a 15 year old.
Well, its 40 years later and it’s no longer ecstasy, but it’s still fun, and the love affair with AMC muscle is still beating strong. My heart goes pitter-patter when I see a beautiful well-done AMX, Javelin, Rebel Machine or Hurst sc/Rambler. Through the years I’ve owned, built and restored many of these cars as a hobby. I even drag raced a 1970 AMX and later a Javelin/AMX in the late 70’s. It was a hobby because my wife and I were raising three kids and I had a full-time job, and funds were limited. But now the kids are gone, and I’ve semi-retired, so I am turning the passion into something bigger. In recent years some of our cars have received recognition at some of the larger shows, at the AMC Nationals, and in Muscle Car magazines and books. As a result I have been approached about doing some work for others…
Colorado AMX Motorsports is the realization of turning a hobby into a business. They say that when you do that “you’ll never work another day in your life.” On the other hand “they” also say “you’ll turn your passion into a job you hate.” Time will tell which one is true in my case, but right now I’m having the time of my life doing restorations, pro-touring builds, and general performance upgrades on AMC muscle as a specialty.
But what about the “Red Headed Stepchild”?
Well, that’s how AMC is still viewed by many people. The stigma of AMC being a lesser brand, and lacking REAL performance still exists from way back. Admittedly, AMC did make some interesting cars. The company is remembered for the Pacer and Gremlin. When I bring out my pro-touring AMX the comment is always “oh that’s right…AMC did make the Javelin, I forgot all about those cars.” What if Ford was remembered only for the Pinto or Edsel, or GM for the Vega, Corvair, Aztec or the Chevette? That’s also what drives me to build examples of AMC performance with the proper attention to detail, quality, the right combination of parts, and options to capture the correct stance, color combination and performance to turn the heads of dyed in the wool Ford, Chevy or Mopar guys. They don’t need to convert, but just maybe I can get them to turn their head at something that’s not another or Mustang. As a new contributor to TheMuscleCarPlace.com, in the future I’ll profile a few examples of AMC muscle, that just may make your heart go pitter-patter.
Later on, I’ll chronicle the racing efforts of AMC in NHRA drag racing, SCCA, Off-Road, and yes even Indy Car. You’ll be surprised! The Red Headed Stepchild is alive and well!
Wayne Davis is a contributing author for TheMuscleCarPlace.com
Wayne and his son Aaron own ColoradoAMX Motorsports. You can see their work at coloradoamx.com