Although we normally go straight to the sports cars in an online auction, here there is something too beautiful to miss; the one and only 1977 American Motors Corporation AM Van Concept is up for sale at an upcoming RM Sotheby’s auction.
The one-of-a-kind design study from the late 1970s was once part of a traveling “Concept 80” roadshow that the American Motors Company took to seven cities across the United States, to generate positive publicity and showcase his vision of the future.
Of the seven concepts, two were the most popular – the attractive Concept Electron electric commuter car and the attractive AM Van – despite its popularity, the AM Van concept was not approved for production, likely because AMC had financial difficulties over time.
After all these years, including the last 35 years in a renowned concept car collection, the AMC AM Van Concept is available for auction.
This turbocharged 4×4 van is not a car but a proof of concept
Actually, it’s not the car itself, but a rolling 3/4 scale fiberglass model on a wooden frame; the interior is only partial and there is no transmission.
It’s a two-door coupe with three seats and cargo space in the back and the idea was to fit it with a turbocharged engine and four-wheel-drive powertrain, although the actual parameters remain unknown.
Both ideas were unconventional for a mass production van type road car at the time.
Embodied innovation, but without anything under the body
American Motors Corporation was struggling to prove its reputation as an innovator in the domestic automotive market in the late 1970s – the AM Van concept came as a way to preserve that reputation, and it succeeded, becoming one of the concept -the most compelling American cars of the time.
Once its photos appeared in the automotive media, it was obvious that the new design was from AMC; AMC Stylist Richard Teague had his say on the new design, as styling cues from the AM Van are everywhere.
The front end and headlights resemble those of the AMC Gremlin – designed and named by Teague – to look “cute or controversial – depending on one’s point of view” influenced the rear, while the 4×4 system could have come from the Jeep company that AMC bought a few years before.
That said, the AM Van is a unique piece of automotive history, and too bad it was never produced.
This AMC AM Van Concept Is Destined For A Show Career
The Van Concept left the AMC design studio in 1977 and has only appeared in public several times since, including at the Gilmore Museum and the Kenosha County Historical Society’s AMC exhibit.
It is still in its original display condition – given its eye-catching design and historical significance, this concept can become the centerpiece of any private or museum collection.
There’s no price for this car at auction, but we expect it to be high when it eventually changes hands – we can’t deny that it would be an awesome project to bring 4x4s and turbo power to this retro rarity.
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