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Rick Bennett's 1970 AMX - '70 All-American

By Todd Ryden, Photography by Todd Ryden

When Rick Bennett was approaching 17, he went to look at two cars for sale with his father: One was a fairly complete '70 Charger with a strong 440, air, disc brakes, and good paint. The other sported badly faded paint, a worn 360 with a nasty tick, and a shredded interior with a pair of buckets donned in some sort of rawhide with two-tone shag green carpet. Not only that, but the AMC was a few hundred bucks more than the Mopar.

For some reason they decided on the ragged AMX and Rick has never looked back. What could've caused such a strange choice? To answer that, let's flashback to Rick 's impressionable childhood.

When Rick's parents packed the family car for summer road trips, it wasn't a Brady-size station wagon or custom van (as was the current style). The Bennetts loaded their three kids, along with a week's worth of luggage and road food, into their '51 Hudson. Rick spent countless hours leaning forward to see over the Hudson's chrome deco dash and beyond the massive hood on many long trips from El Paso, Texas. We're talking serious road trips here. The Bennetts traveled to the shores of the Atlantic in South Carolina, to Northern California to take in the Pacific, to Pikes Peak, and to the majority of the state parks in between with a 308 straight-six pumping away through a three-speed overdrive trans. Those early trips in a car so different from the norm shaped Rick's appreciation for cars a little out of the ordinary. We can even back up this theory, as his brother has a '69 AMX!

In the 20 years that Rick has owned his X it has gone through a variety of upgrades, engines, and options. It served as a daily driver through high school and many years after with plenty of cruise nights and dragstrip time but has never looked or performed better than it does now.

Long gone is the original 360 (tucked away in the attic). These days, a healthy 401 provides plenty of AMC power. Though the 401 never made it into a production '70 AMX, it looks right at home between the fenders of this shortened Javelin. A rare factory-offered cross-ram intake is the crown of the engine giving it a serious performance look, sound, and feel. A set of Carter AFBs meter the fuel mixture sliding into the home-ported heads before being compressed by 10.5:1 TRW pistons and sent out through the stock exhaust manifolds.

The original four-speed spent a lot of time transferring the torque, so Rick recently opted to try an automatic. He assembled a strong TH400 with a switch-pitch converter to give it smooth driveability along with a hearty holeshot. BFG drag radials hook up through an AMC Twin Grip rearend with 3.54:1 gears.

To make the X even more unique, Rick has added such factory options as a tilt column, power disc brakes, and an AM/FM stereo. The 15-year-old Golden Lime Green Metallic is the only thing on the car that Rick didn't handle himself.

The AMX may exist in the shadow of other cars from its era, but for those who know and enjoy the peculiar offerings of the American Motors Company, no other will do. Rick thoroughly enjoys his AMC product and is now in the process of restoring a '70 Rebel Machine! This car shows up at local cruises and occasionally the dragstrip, and even with its low-key color the AMX stands out among the other unusual cars. Especially when he parks next to his Dad's '51 Hudson.

QUICK DATA
Rick Bennett
'70 AMX
ENGINE
Type: 401 AMC V-8
Induction: AMC/Edelbrock cross-ram intake, two Carter AFBs
Heads: Stock, home-ported
Cam: Comp Cam's roller
Pistons: TRW, 10.5:1
Crank: Stock steel
Ignition: MSD Digital 6 Plus
Exhaust: Factory manifolds, Flowmaster mufflers
DRIVETRAIN
Transmission: GM TH400, Switch-pitch torque converter
Rearend: AMC Twin Grip, 3.54:1 gears
BRAKES, WHEELS & TIRES
Front: Factory disc Magnum 500, 14x7 BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires
Rear: OEM drums Magnum 500, 15x7 BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires

By Todd Ryden
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33 comments
Tom Igoe
Tom Igoe

bah! rip out that 401, put an LS engine with 5 turbos in it, lower it on "22s so the HOT ROD guys might give it a second look and we can attract more hondadonklowrider enthusiasts to our readership!

Dina Mcmillion
Dina Mcmillion

My sister owned one and she loved it. Unfortunately it was totaled in a bad. Wreck

Clarence Siel
Clarence Siel

I have a 73 am javelin me and my dad built together. It was his when he was young, it had been stolen found burnt up and gutted and been putting time into it over the years trying to find all the parts and pieces.

Luis Matías
Luis Matías

A friend of mine has one 401engine 4 speed .

Charlie Bandy
Charlie Bandy

My dad still has his 68, 390 automatic, he bought it brand new!!!

Roger Womack
Roger Womack

A friend had one in '69 it was very fast !

Greg Kenney
Greg Kenney

I have had my 69 390 Big Bad Orange AMX for 26 years and at 58 still enjoy fryin the rear tires ever chance I get

Kyle Heaberlin
Kyle Heaberlin

My dad has a 69 s/c rambler he's been working on for the last 15 years!!!...lack of funds to finish the project, but a badass ride for sure!

J Keith Bryan
J Keith Bryan

If AMC had survived, could you imagine a modern version of the AMX? Going head to head with the Camaro Mustang Challenger......hmm

Jesse Madarash
Jesse Madarash

72 gremlin X with a 401 5 speed slowly making its way in. 70 is my favorite year of amx!

Walter Thomas
Walter Thomas

Gremlin 74 v8 x orange fast and fun .good ride .new.car.

Tom Hanna
Tom Hanna

That was a sweet ass car , back then !

Gordon Keir Pedersen
Gordon Keir Pedersen

I own and built the 66 rambler in my profile pic. It has 360 with a 4speed and Dana 60 rear with 410 gears

Cam Beaton
Cam Beaton

I had a Hornet X. Turned out it was stolen when I bought it!

Ryan Mcanally
Ryan Mcanally

They down right got nasty with them to take care of buisness They might even used a spear from Buick to do it.

Bruce Spence
Bruce Spence

Beautiful AMX Rick, thanks for sharing !! :)

Darrick Sewell
Darrick Sewell

I have 74 Javelin I have had for 20 years. Its had a 304,360, and now has a 401. It pretty bad ass.

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