Tiny and financially struggling automaker American Motors began a $2 million dollar project to build five Italian bodied prototype mid-engine sports cars that were completed by 1970 that came very close to production as the 1971 Javelin was scheduled for a redesign into a larger pony car, and AMC wanted to make the two-seater AMX models a more advanced car. The suspension on the prototype AMX/3 cars were said to have some of the most advanced of neutral handling characteristics and had far more than adequate horsepower supplied by AMC’s 390 cubic inch V8 which was mid-mounted for awesome engine balance characteristics of the car. But, with Washington changing the bumper safety standards, AMC had some difficulty envisioning a redsign of the car to meet these new standards. Further, estimated production costs only continued to rise to eventually doom this greatest AMC car ever design that came within an inch of actual production. When the redesigned 1971 Javelin was introduced, AMC fans have several reasons to be sad. The two seater AMX design was dropped, only becoming a high performance version of the Javelin. Further, the larger new Javelin lacked the same handling characteristics of the 1968-70 models which racer Mark Donahue was able to glide to dominating wins over Mustang and Camaro in Trans Am circuit racing. This led Donahue to eventually use the Matador model from AMC instead in racing, and with so many disappointments among Javelin customers in the new design as well coming fuel crisis and gas lines, gas thirsty cars like the Javelin and AMX were dropped by AMC after the 1974 models.
For all intents and purposes, the AMX /3 was AMC’s best car ever. But, sadly with only five built and a sixth later assembled from spare parts, few of these AMC supercars exist. One of the best cars never built to say the very least about this daring and awesome design from AMC.