In 1966, American Motors introduced two prototype vehicles dubbed “AMX” and “AMX II”. “AMX” stood for “American Motors experimental”, and in mid-year 1968, started production on the high performance AMX sports hatchback. The AMX was intended to be a cash-in for the popular muscle car market in the late 1960s, sporting high-power four-barrel V8 engines, a “four on the floor” 4-speed manual transmission, and a drivetrain configuration of front engine, rear wheel drive. The first two years of this model would see the same fascia; however, 1970 saw a drastic redesign.
The engine choices for 1970 were the 360 CI (5.9L) four-barrel V8 and the 390 CI (6.4L) four-barrel V8. The 360 was the smallest engine option for 1970, as it replaced the 343 (5.6 L) available years prior. A December 1969 road test by Motor Trend saw a 390 AMX start to 60 mph (100 km/h) in 6.56 seconds and reach a quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 92 mph (148 km/h). The top speed is 110 mph (177 km/h).
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) named the AMX “best engineered car of the year” for both the 1969 and 1970 model years. Counting all engine and transmission options, AMC had produced 4116 AMXs for 1970, and 19,134 units for the overall 3-year run. The AMX lived on in 1971 as a Javelin model.