This little mutt is an AMC Spirit AMX, a mini-musclecar from the late seventies with flares n’ white-lettered tires n’ a big ol’ hood decal - and a somewhat lamentable 130hp V8. Based on the Gremlin, it’s a sawed-off runt that few remember. Well you’d remember this one: it’s got a 96-inch wheelbase and a built 401ci ‘8 out of a Javelin cranking out something like 450hp. Ye gods.
I came across the car on BaT when a friend posted it up on his facebook wall. “I know that car!” I shouted, and fired the previous owner, Bruce, an email, figuring it wouldn’t last long. Not that I was in the market: I just really like driving weird and awesome stuff, and somehow have turned that into a career of sorts.
It. Was. Awesome. Biblically awesome, in the sense of amazement with a dollop of sheer terror. Whee! With the Gremlin underpinnings and Wile E. Coyote power levels, it’s an absolute hoot. More pictures and the full story up over at Autos.ca, one of my regular outlets.
Bruce has a great car history: E28 M5, NA Miata, ‘55 Traction Avant. This one, though, wasn’t meant to be cooped up in the city. Thus, up it went for adoption, and just a day after I had a chance to drive and photograph it, off it went to its new home in central Oregon. I got the below note from the new owner, Brad, in the comments thread of the original article.
“My parents bought one new in 79. Drove it for like 70k miles or so then parked it, saved it for when I got my license. It was my first car. I loved that thing, and I was dumb.. Lots of tickets. Lots of Shenanigans. But it taught me a lot. It built some of the greatest memories I have...
Well I hit the web, and found Bruce’s. Mind you, we are about 450 miles from Bruce. Across another country’s border and going on the hope he will keep it for me. We get there and I light up the ignition and it was mine. I didn’t even need to drive it. I didn’t think about the fact I had to take an untested 38 year old car for 8 hours of driving. Went for a quick loop with Bruce, shook his hand with a transfer of some dough, and drove off into the sunrise.. Yep, it was still that early. I babied it all the way home and it did great!!! I was beat and stuffed with so many emotions I didn’t even notice all the attention it got.
I live in central Oregon. The roads are long and open out here. There are canyons to cruise, city strips to rumble through. And cars shows every weekend around here. I have let it stretch its legs a little already. I have already gotten more compliments on it than I can believe.. What am I going to change on it? Not much. I am going to go through the suspension and replace everything and get rid of those sounds that make people a bit uneasy from the passenger seat. I am going add some period correct seats. And then I am going to enjoy it.”
Alls well that ends well. Get out there little AMX, and start humping some legs.