by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt
American Motors Corporation, otherwise known as AMC began in 1954 following the merger of Hudson Motor Car Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. These manufacturers have a long automobile history. Both companies have produced other marques since their beginnings as predecessors to forming the AMC family.
Nash received its roots from the Rambler which was introduced in 1902. The name was later changed to Jeffery , and the company adopted the marque of Nash in 1917: using the surname of their president at the time. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Nash produced the Lafayette as a companion make. In 1950 Nash introduced the subcompact Rambler; the name being taken from their original car of about 50 years earlier.
Hudson was organized in 1909 and later welcomed the companion makes of Essex and Terraplane during the 1920s and 1930s respectively. In 1953 the Jet , a subcompact was introduced to compete with the Rambler and other new smaller cars from other manufacturers. This was followed by the unveiling of the shortly lived Italian sports bodied limited production car. These newer and smaller makes did not survive the merger. The only two smaller cars that were continued in production were the Rambler and the much smaller Metropolitan. The Rambler had an increased wheelbase and the Metropolitan was actually an English car manufactured by Austin for the US market. Both of these smaller cars wore the badge of either Nash or Hudson ; depending on which dealer sold the vehicle to the buyer.
In 1957 the Nash and Hudson marques were dropped and the AMC replacement name became the Rambler, which by that time had been developed into a full size car. A larger upscale version was introduced the following year and was called the Ambassador. This car was the first to offer factory installed air conditioning as standard equipment on all models. In the 1960s AMC offered other makes such as the sportier Javelin and AMX cars. The AMX was originally a concept design which received favorable reaction from the public.
In 1970 AMC purchased Kaiser-Willys and the Jeep became a separate division of this company which aided it in becoming the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the US. In the early 1970s, AMC again offered a smaller companion car to the Rambler. The Hornet was then succeeded by the Concord. An even smaller car was made. this was the Gremlin which was followed by the Spirit. Some of the later Spirits and Concords were equipped with the Jeep 4 wheel drive capability, In 1979 Renault of France became affiliated with AMC and the Alliance and Encore were introduced in the lineup. These makes subsequently evolved into the Eagle marque. Chrysler Corporation purchased AMC. The only make still being produced at present is the Jeep. Other names from the AMC era such as Eagle, AMX and Rambler have since become part of automobile history. Soon after Chrysler took over, the Renault connection came to a close.
Since AMC only existed for a little over 30 years, I will only review the models representing cars made during that time span in approximately 1/64 scale. Although the Jeep was part of AMC for 17 years, I will not review this marque since our editor recently provided a thorough review; 50 Years Of Jeeps in August 2000 ToTC. In order to establish a thorough listing of AMC models, I have referred to the publications Detroit In Miniature (1982) by Wieland & Force and Micro Cars (1982) by Peter Viemeister. Both of these books provide lists of the models made by various toy manufacturers up to that date. I have decided to review the models in alphabetical order by the name of the toy manufacturer. The models not in my collection have no further information provided.
Benbros Qualtoy made by the Benson Brothers in England ; produced a crude but recognizable one piece body casting with a separate base plate of a 1957 Hudson Hollywood Hardtop sedan. This is model # 18. A separate Army Staff Car was assigned # 41. This company is no longer in existence.
Buby of Argentina produced a 1966 Rambler Torino # 7 and a Torino
Competition (racer) # 23. These castings represented the full size car produced
in that country which had some differences in styling design from its US
Corgi Jr produced a 1975 Whizzwheels AMC Pacer # 62-B-1 from 1976-1980. This series of models was subsequently absorbed by Mattel around 1990.
Hot Wheels has produced 7 different castings of AMC models. Some
are customized dragsters while others present a more realistic appearance.
The 1968 AMX Custom Hardtop # 6267 was produced from 1969 - 1971. It is
a realistic representation of the full size car. in 1970 AMC introduced
a second experimental design AMX 2 . This was assigned model # 6460 in 1970
by Hot Wheels. This casting has been assigned other names up to as recently
as 1987. The Xploder # 6977 was issued in 1971, and was followed by the
Warpath # 7654 in 1975 , the Redliner #9534 and the Road Torch # 1510. The
(Gremlin) Open Fire # 5881 was issued in 1972 . It had an elongated hood
with two sets of wheels in the front. It was followed by the Gremlin Grinder
# 7652 in 1975. This model had the characteristic large engine protruding
out of an otherwise stock body. In 1979 the Greased Gremlin # 2502 was introduced
. This model was radically modified into a race car motif. Hot Wheels also
made a Packin Pacer # 2015 as a hot rod model . The engine was placed in
the rear seating area of the otherwise stock body. Last year Hot Wheels
offered the Metrorail as a First Edition . This model is a Metropolitan
of the 1957 with an elongated hood and protruding engine to give it the
appearance of a funny car/drag racer.
Ingap; a plastic toy company no longer in existence reportedly produced # 20-9 of a 1957 Metropolitan. No other information is available.
Johnny Lightning under the ownership of Playing Mantis has produced
7 models since their debut in 1994. The oldest AMC model by JL is the 1960
Rambler American wagon which was issued in 1997 in the Hot Rods set as the
customized Rumbler.The next oldest model is a 1968 AMX Custom which was
introduced in 1998 in the Classic Gold 2 series. A 1969 AMX Drag-on- Lady
funny car had been introduced in the 1995 Dragster series. The 1969 AMC
Hurst SC/ Rambler was issued in 1998 in the Classic Gold series.The 1970
Rebel Machine was also introduced in 1998 as part of the Muscle Car 3 series.
The newest AMC model to be issued by JL is announced as a 1971 AMX-Javelin
in the Anniversary 5 set which is to appear momentarily. I do not know if
this casting will differ from the previously issued 1972 AMX-Javelin. This
model appeared in 1999 as part of the Muscle Car 2 set. Hopefully the 1971
version will show styling differences from the 1972 model, since there were
changes in the full size cars.
Kidco was a US division of Universal Toys in Hong Kong. Prior to the takeover of Matchbox , this firm issued a Javelin X model # 157A in the very early 1980s. No further information is available.
Matchbox under the ownership of Lesney in England and later Universal
in the Orient has issued 2 models of AMC cars. The 1971 Javelin #9-E was
issued from 1972 - 1978. This model has a large black air scoop over the
engine compartment. The 1972 AMX Pro Stocker # 17-H was issued from 1983
- 1985, It was only available in either silver or maroon body colors.
Mego was a former Hong Kong toy manufacturer that had previously traded as AMT Pups. They reportedly produced a 1968 AMX #9105. No further information is available.
Mini-Lindy, a division of Lindberg who produces plastic kits, introduced mini kits of the 1968 AMX hardtop # 28 and 1970 Gremlin # 36 about 20 to 30 years ago. No further information is available.
Mira , a Spanish model manufacturer introduced a 1969 Javelin - AMX # 121. this casting was reportedly used in taxi form also . They were reportedly produced about twenty five years ago. This model also had the large air scoop similar to Matchbox. No further information is available.
Muky of Argentina has been known to produce numerous models based on Hot Wheels castings. They also reportedly produced a 1968 AMX hardtop #11. No further information is available.
Playart was in Hong Kong. They produced the Javelin SST # 7107
and the AMX 390 # 7110.
Racing Champions of Illinois has produced two models in their Mint Editions series. They are the 1968 AMX Javelin #168 and the 1977 Pacer # 214. Both models were issued in 1999. These are very realistic models and have opening engine hoods that show the power plants in detail. In addition, Racing Champions has released budget versions of both these cars in their Speed Wheels line. Both are quite nice although the Pacer as a rally car is a considerable stretch.
Tomica of Japan issued a model of the 1975 Pacer # F-14. Somehow I have overlooked any attempt to locate this model for my collection until I did this review! Thus no further information is available.
Tootsietoy is one of the oldest toy manufacturers in the US of
small diecast models. This company has produced two AMC diecast toy cars.
The 1954 Metropolitan is characteristic of their one piece body shell with
four post extensions that support the two axles. The styling is distorted
since this piece was produced to be a toy and not a model. Tootsie also
issued a model of a 1960 Rambler Cross Country Station Wagon that same year
as model # 26. It was part of their 'HO' line ( but seems slightly larger
than 1:87 models of present day). This car has a one piece body which is
attached to a base plate. It is painted white over green.
Universal Toys produced a 1975 Pacer # 03. The base has a circled U in action to the incorrect inscription 'Civic' on it. This casting is somewhat crude but is characteristic of the caliber of cheaper toys produced in the Orient about 25 years ago.
Finally, Wheeler who was also from the Orient, produced a 1975 Pacer . The base is identified with a circled W, which suggests one of these models may have been copied from the other.
This completes my summary of all known AMC models in 1/64 scale . Perhaps there are more! Any additions or corrections are most welcome.