In a desperate attempt to make up some ground to America's big three manufacturers, the American Motor Company set out to boost its reputation with an all new mid-engined supercar. The first sign of things to come was the non-running AMX/2 prototype launched at the 1969 Chicago Autoshow. Its name was derived from the front engined AMX coupe, which was the company's more mainstream sports car. After a positive reception by the press and public alike, AMC decided to go ahead and construct a fully running version of the Dick Teague designed supercar. In a stroke of genious AMC recruited Giotto Bizzarrini to design the suspension and drivetrain. For the Italian master designer it was the first job since his company was declared bankrupt a few months earlier. His experience with the mid-engined Bizzarrini P538 made him one of the very few engineers with hands-on knowledge on this layout.
Combining left over bits and some new AMC parts, Bizzarrini compiled a fully independent suspension all-round. The chassis was a semi-monocoque backbone type, which, with the body welded on, proved to be very stiff. AMC's biggest input in the project was the 390 ci V8 engine, which was directly derived from the AMX coupe. The engine produced so much torque that the intended ZF five speed gearbox proved to weak, and Bizzarrini commissioned the construction of a custom built four speed box.
Once completed, the 'AMX/3' was unveiled to a small group of journalists in Rome in March of 1970. Like a year earlier the reception in the press was again very good, especially after they were driven around in it by Bizzarrini, who's driving skills were one of the reasons Enzo Ferrari hired him two decades earlier. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction, especially when AMC ordered the construction of more prototype examples for testing purposes. Contemporary magazines expected a first production run of 24 cars to test the waters, but financial problems at AMC quickly ended that hope. Stricter safety and emissions requirements took priority and the American company abandoned the project.
In a final attempt to revive the AMX/3, AMC offered to send Bizzarrini parts to construct 30 examples, of which they would buy ten examples, leaving the other 20 for the Italian to sell. Although he was tempted, the recent bankruptcy was a painful reminder of what too much ambition could result in, and Bizzarrini declined. All in all six examples were constructed; the first prototype and another five pre-production prototypes. Although AMC initially ordered all completed cars to be destroyed, Bizzarrini fortunately refused.
Today the AMX/3 remains as another example of Bizzarrini's engineering excellence, and one of the rare attempts to create an American supercar. Featured are two of the surviving examples, one is pictured at the 2004 Concorso d'Italia, where Bizzarrini was honoured. The other is seen at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.