AMC’s Turbo 4×4 Van Concept Would’ve Been Great. Buy It and Finish the Job
The AM Van proved wildly popular when AMC toured it around the US in the 1970s.
While it was still a going concern, AMC was a beautiful thing. It's unique, oddball designs were the fruits of the rich and diverse automotive industry of the time. One of the best examples of the company's output is the mighty 1977 AMC AM Van concept. Now, that very same car could be yours, as reported by Silodrome.
The concept car is being auctioned by RM Sotheby's. It has been well-preserved in its original condition after all these years, having been part of a "well-known" concept car collection over the past 35 years.
The AM Van is striking from the moment you lay eyes on it. It takes the best of the company's design language, repurposing it in service of the two-door van form factor. It's stubby with fat tires, like so many AMC vehicles were back then, with a huge bulbous glasshouse that wouldn't look out of place on a spaceship from The Jetsons. It's covered in some brilliant orange decals too, which announce the van's intended driveline: an unspecified turbocharged engine paired with four-wheel drive.
Practicality may not be a high point of the design, however. Despite ostensibly being a van, the concept only has two doors. This would make ingress and egress a bit of a hassle for rear passengers.
The AM Van was penned by Richard Teague, a man behind many of AMC's great designs. Perhaps most notably, the headlights of the concept crib heavily from the AMC Pacer, one of Teague's earlier works. Four-wheel drive was also an AMC hallmark, too. The later AMC Eagle and SX4 were notable cars that featured four-wheel drive well ahead of the curve when it came to commuter vehicles with all-paw traction.
As great as it looks, the concept sadly isn't functional. It's built on a rolling wood frame with a fiberglass body on top and a partial interior, for show purposes only. The AM Van was the starring vehicle of AMC's "Concept 80" motor show of the 1970s. Taking in a seven-city tour around the US, the show intended to excite customers about the future of the AMC brand. At each show, AMC asked crowds to vote on their favorite concept, and the AM Van always came out the winner.
The concept is believed to be the only one of its kind; no running version of the AM Van exists. It looks so good, though, that perhaps it's worth buying in order to take measurements to build a functional replica. An auto writer can dream, right? Just be sure to drop off the keys when it's ready to review.
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