If you listen to Mark Myrsten, you'll soon learn that he's a Mopar man through and through. "When I was growing up," he tells us, "I had a little '73 340 four-speed Duster, and I used to eat people up with that car. I beat the crap out of every Chevrolet and Ford. It didn't matter."
Mark wanted something out of the mainstream, and Mopar is definitely not mainstream.
Well, guess what's even stranger than a Mopar? An American Motors product. When Chrysler bought the company, American Motors fell into the ranks of Mopar, and that shoe fit Myrsten nicely. One real sleeper, Myrsten believes, is the two-passenger AMX built between 1968 and 1970.
Not long ago, Mark got a call from a friend in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The friend wanted Mark to come up for the weekend. It was about a 311/42-hour drive, and Mark told his friend, "I don't have the time." Mark lives in Augusta, Georgia, so his friend pulls a trump card and says, "There's one of those crazy little AMX cars you used to like at this car lot down the street from me." Mark found the time. He recalls, "I've had some pretty nasty [Mopars], but bone stock, pound for pound, the 390 AMX was untouchable."
Mark never got his AMX thirst quenched. Years ago he bought a '70 AMX from his brother, but it was 360-powered. The front end got knocked off in a former life and had been replaced with a '69 grille and bumpers. Later, Mark also owned "two or three '71 AMXs," which were based on the four-passenger Javelin.
Mark decided to drive the 311/42 hours to Fayetteville on Saturday. Unfortunately, he arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon, and Eastern Auto Sales closed thirty minutes earlier. The car was parked outside in plain view. He says, "I saw it from afar and said 'Wow, it looks like it's in pretty good shape.' I started getting [closer, and saw] this thing's in real good shape. I started looking at it close up, and I realized this thing's all original." The happy news was that the white AMX with the red stripes had the coveted Go Package and was powered by the maligned (all the more reason to love it) and powerful 390 V8.
Mark drove back home and started researching the car. The rejection the car suffered in its beginning made the AMX more of an alternative machine, and he wanted it. "From what I understand, American Motors was having [problems], and they didn't have enough money to push the cars. Consequently, the AMX wasn't a snappy seller." Mark learned that brand-new AMX cars were still sitting on car lots as late as 1973.
By Monday morning, Mark was in a hurry to get to the AMX. The car had been sitting there a couple months or so, but what if somebody bought it before he could get back to North Carolina the next week?
The used-car dealer had bid on the car at an estate sale. Three or four months after the sale, they got a call telling them, "Come get your AMX. You are the high bidder."
Eastern Auto Sales priced the AMX at ten grand. Mark haggled them down to $8,000 and asked if they would hold the car until the following weekend if he sent a $100 deposit. They agreed, and the deal was done. Mark brought his boss along to help tow the AMX home. When they went for the test drive, Mark's boss said, "Man, this thing runs good," followed by, "Well, if you don't drive it, I will."
"So we fired it up," said Mark, "checked all the fluids, and topped everything off. Nothing was leaking, so we drove it pretty much nonstop from Fayetteville to Georgia. We stopped at a rest stop and looked underneath. There were no leaks or vibrations, so we drove it all the way back here."
Essentially, the car is a hot little driver with not a whole lot of wear. Mark says the current mileage is 60,000, and the clutch is "a little weak," so he hasn't gone to the dragstrip yet. With a new pressure plate, clutch, and throw-out bearing, he says he'd have no problem racing the car.
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