|Super Stock AMX .com|
|The History of American Motors Factory Super Stock Drag Racing Program.|
Now the cars were a go. The cars were built as completed
units on the AMC assembly line and shipped to Hurst for the
final change to a Super Stock racecar. They were all built
exactly the same. There are two pictures of the cars in the
Hurst facility, one from Car Craft, the other from Car
Exchange. (Picture has been credited to A. B. Shuman, but
he said it was a Hurst publicity shot. I wonder how many
they took? Shuman used the pic in an article he did about the
Shahans for Car Craft -see article below.)
So let’s look at photo number 1.
The cars appear white with black wheels. Possibly 3 aircleaner
assemblies stacked near the crate. Some hoods appear to be upside
down on the roofs, other are still on the car. Decklids are open.
There appears to be an engine/tranny combo on a wooden pallet in
front of one car. There is a portable engine puller in front of one of
the cars. There is some stuff on top of the upside down hoods. And
please note: Rocker Moldings!
Another myth undone.
Now look at photo number 2.
There are obviously some stamped metal parts in the crates. No idea
what they had to do with AMC. They are possibly floor pans from the
Dodge Taxi project as they were being worked on when some of the
AMX owners came to take delivery of their AMXs from the Hurst facility.
The first car looks like it is missing the steering wheel as you
look through the passenger door window. And look all the
way back at the car up higher than the rest. Sure looks like
a Javelin to me, missing the door and nose. So anyone know
what that is doing there? A Hurst SS/Javelin? And does it
have paperwork, or will it be lost to history because it does
not? More later, but this is the Hurst NASCAR Javelin.
Now look at both pictures combined and cropped by "Kevin
How many cars do you see here? I’m counting 3 cars between the
upright posts. That is all that will fit. It looks like there are 6 cars in
a row, times 4 rows, or 24 cars tops.
Now here is some “hearsay” evidence. This is word of mouth
evidence without any documented back-up. I talked to “Doc”
Watson in the mid-80s, I think about 1984-85. He told me
numerous times AMC was the worst company to do business
with as they wanted things “on the cheap”. One thing he told
me was a story about the cylinder heads. Hurst wanted 50
sets of heads sent to Crane, modified, and then sent back to
Hurst for installation. AMC wanted Hurst to remove the
factory heads, send them to Crane, then wait for them to
Watson told me arrangements were made to send half the
cars to Hurst for the modifications, then when done they
would take the other half. AMC sent all the cars at once,
which really ticked off the boys at Hurst. He told me he sent
half of them back to AMC. So was there room outside the
plant to store the vehicles until they were done? And if so,
is that a practice Hurst used? There must be some pictures
or documents somewhere. This picture does NOT show all
the Hurst cars being modified.
Here is a picture of the Hemi Darts outside the Hurst facility.
You can see it may not have held 50 cars (And there is a taxi
on the far right):
And here is the building a few years later filled with Hurst/Olds:
Another myth down.
And speaking of myths. For the longest time, everyone said
the SC/Ramblers were also done at the Hurst facility. Swore to it,
some even saw them there. Used this photo to document it:
Now there is a problem if you just look at a photo without further
investigation. This is a photo of a number of SC/Ramblers. Compare
it to the SS/AMX photo number 1. Does this look like the same
building? Same walls, lights, windows, height of ceiling, etc? No, it
is not the same building. Where is it, then? This is a warehouse used
by H L Shahan to store and work on the SC/Ramblers sent to him for the
press runs at Orange County International Raceway. And then I found this
photo and published it in the New England AMX Club newsletter, the
Though the picture is celebrating an AMX milestone, look what is on
the assembly line behind the AMX? Yes, proof positive the SC/Rambler
was made on the East Assembly line in Kenosha.
Here is another picture:
More AMC myths exposed.
So just what was done to these cars at
? Here is what
was written in the original letter to the dealers:
So the cars started off as a regular production AMX with a short
option list. All cars painted P72A Frost White (and this is very
different from a “body in white”, which is a unibody assembly in
primer, not painted).
The cars had a charcoal interior and were equipped with a
390 4 speed, posi rear with 4.44:1 gears, manual steering,
manual drum brakes, no undercoating (which was an option,
so it was not added to the option list), and no sound deadener
(which is carpet sound deadener, not body sound deadener).
No radio, no clock. They were not Go-Pac equipped, so no
stripe. To start. We have proven it had rocker moldings.
Now, what about mirrors, wipers, heater assembly? Spare
tire assembly? Wheels and tires? More later.
Here are two build sheets posted on net. (The first is from
the ssamx.com website):
(Second sheet from www.performanceamstyle.com)
The Sequence Number on a Build sheet is really the Body
Number from the door tag. This is the sequential number of
Javelins and AMXs coming down the line of the Body Plant.
This particular number is R022185 on the first sheet, R022203
on the second sheet, showing they were made the week of
January 11, 1969. They are 18 cars apart. (Note: I do not
believe the cars came with a door data plate. Why would it?
They did NOT conform to Federal specifications, and the door
data plate was to show they did!)
The Serial Number is the last 7 digits of the VIN, in this case
X213585 (Car #26) for the first sheet, X213589 (Car#30) on
the second sheet. Here, they are 4 digits apart.
Haven't broken down the "Order No." yet, but you can see
they are 18 digits apart. (18 the other way from the
It was a common practice to build the bodies and ship them
to the final assembly plant not necessarily in the same order.
Therefore, the Body, Sequence, and VIN number were rarely
The Zone shows “00”. This usually stands for a factory based
car, so is correct.
The car will be shipped via ground “G”. It is an AMX
(39-7), with the color 72 Frost White and interior 31F, charcoal vinyl.
The tire code is “00”. Interesting as I don’t have this code. I
was told the car was delivered on Javelin spare tires on black
rims, and there are pictures of the cars with black rims and
skinny front tires. Another source shows E70 x 14 blackwall
tires. At any rate, the "00" could also mean a special order
wheel color, as black was not the standard wheel color for a
frost white car.
A “2” in seatbelts and a “1” in headrests are standard for 1969.
A “9” for engine is a 390, an “M” for trans is a 4-speed. Gear
Ratio “F” I have as 3.54:1, standard on a 4-speed AMX.
These were changed to 4.44:1 as shown in the Special
Instructions" section of the sheet.
No number in “DE”, Dual exhaust. Interesting there is no number
because it did come with an exhaust. A “1” in “TGD” shows it had a
twin grip differential.
Next line: “WE” is Weather Eye, for a heater. The “9“ shows
Command Air. This doesn’t make any sense. More research
needed. At any rate the heater was not installed on the
assembly line and the car received block-off plates. (A large
one for the heater motor, another for the heater core,
another to take the place for the heater control, a block-off
for the defroster ducts (made of cardboard), and lastly a
plate that blocks off the opening where the fresh air would
flow through the heater core through the cowl vents.
I do not know what the “6” is in TS LGR. I haven’t seen this
on other AMX build sheets. TS stands for "Third Seat" and
LGR means "Luggage Rack", codes used for wagons. AMC
did put codes in boxes that were not standard for that model
to designate something (the Donohues I am pretty sure had
a "4" in the box for cruise control, an option not available on
The “1” in HDC LDC is for Heavy Duty Cooling.
The “1” in HB is Heavy Duty Battery.
Under Special Instructions, assembly line workers were told
to delete sound deadener (under carpet) and hood insulation,
install special 4.44:1 rearend gears, and allows for “deviation
of No. 96”. Sure wish I knew what “deviation of No. 96" was-
anyone care to guess?
By the VIN, the first sheet shown here would be car #30; the
second would be #26. However, Hurst assigned them their
I also wish there were other Build Sheets for the other cars.
From letter #2 from American Motors:
Special Manifold and Carbs
It also stated it was not for street use, did not pass emissions,
and had no warranty. And noted the car did not conform to
emissions standards (could this be the "deviation of 96",
meaning no emission controls on the engine)? Being a 4
speed, the car would have a smog pump and all related
No mention of pistons at all. No mention of a different shifter
assembly, or parts. Does modified suspension also mean
axles? Or just shocks and springs? Any other deleted items?
This could be answered in the third letter from Hurst. A
number of dealers were unhappy about the readiness of the
car, and let AMC know just how unhappy they were. To
answer this, AMC performance sent a letter to the dealers
that ordered a car:
HMMMM. "One of which you have purchased" Why would
Cox get this at his dealership? Could this mean he actually
ordered an SS/AMX? He got this letter, and that is what it
states, right? I would say yes. But...look at the date. This
could not be for the car formally owned by me because that
car wasn't even on the production line when this was sent out.
And look at the signature. More here:
What a shocker for the dealers who ordered this car! "Only those
items needed to be installed per NHRA specs!" Who would have
thought that and read into it when the first letter came out? Dealers
were outraged! They sure seemed to have expected the car to come
balanced and blueprinted, and maybe even overbored. They definitely
expected a deeper oil pan and a driveshaft loop.
And I wonder what the mention of the paint job meant? When
about the car's paint, he stated that
While at the Hurst facilities, a sheet was put on the windshield
was not a paint shop, and didn't paint the cars. This seemed
to make sense with the delivery of the Hemi Darts with an
unpainted nose. But again-this is "Hearsay"-no proof. I have
been trying for years to find out how and where these cars
were painted, but no luck. Probably a local shop. Plus, was
a tri-color paint job extra cost? I would think yes. Later in
the letter, there is a mention of tri-color paint, so they
obviously came that way. I was told the teenage son of the
owner of Ferndale Auto Body quickly painted some of the
cars, and after he was paid he took off to spend the money
without painting any more. (Not confirmed info).
with a checklist and car number. Here is an example:
Here is a cleaned-up blank:
The sheet designates the Hurst car number (which were randomly
assigned to the cars) and if it was all white, or red, white, and blue.
Some interesting work: cut and patch floor pan. Know why? More
How about "set up air package?” What is this?
There was also a sheet for the engine.
Luckily, there are two different cars with this sheet. Two
items here not previously mentioned: Pistons and Flywheel.
I wonder what the big "R" stands for?
So there is a missing document. I don't have it, but hopefully
someone does. This is the actual order form for the dealers.
This form would give the options for color, for instance. It
would specifically spell out what comes with the car, and what
does not come with the car. It would determine the paint
scheme. And most importantly, it would show prices. The
original letter showed a price of about $5000, yet it is reported
they cost almost $6000. That is a HUGE difference for 1969.
Now here is some NHRA update Tech Sheets:
Note the carb type-a Holley 4584, with AM part #4487187.
Here is a pic of the carb numbers:
NHRA Technical Specifications
Issued: 1 March 1969
Revised: 4-1-69, 4-17-70, 7-17-70, 4-1-71, 4-26-74
6-24-95, 2-4-05, 12-21-05 WR, 8-3-06 WR
Bulletin #: Amer-69 Page 1 of 1
Specifications for the 1969 American Motors engines
H.P. Disp. C.R. Ind. Make Model/Transmission Manifold R.R. Lifter Head cc Notes
315 390 10.2 1-4 Cart AFB-4664S/SM 4665S/AUTO 3191736-C 1.6 H 49.10
340 390 12.2 2-4 Holl 4584/SM ONLY 4486228 1.6 H 57.00 2
2 Super Stock Only Carb size 1562x1562/1250x1313
Deck Piston Type
H.P. Disp. Cl Dish/Dome Ht Vol Valves Cam Lift Springs Gasket Head Cast Notes
315 390 .028 FLAT w/trough 13.94cc 2030/1630 425/425 Outer Only .040 3188558
340 390 .038 DOME w/n 3.60cc 2080/1740 425/425 Outer Only .030 558,291,993 A
A = "O" rings may be used in the heads or the block if desired.
It is not mandatory for a racer to use "O" rings, it is
optional. A head gasket must be used in either case.
This brings up some questions. First is pistons. It isn't mentioned
in earlier letters, but does show up in the engine checklist. I have
seen a number of brands mentioned, but my question is: the parts
were only supposed to be things the NHRA needed changed. Were
pistons one of these? What is really silly to me is for the company to
put standard bore pistons in the car, plus no blueprinting/balancing.
Then, they send out a notice on how to make free floating pins! Well,
the answer is the domed top of the piston. AMC had to install these
so the racers could use them. The racers could overbore the cylinder
as much as they wanted, but would have to use flat top pistons if
AMC didn't put these domed ones in. And there is a story that one
racer used a piston with a different top design for the valves and had
to change them.
Anyway, here is a letter from
Brian Higgins to me from the
late 80s. He sent me an article that was written about his car (Westbury
Rambler's S & K car). You can see his writing in
Here is a better copy of the article, scanned from an original magazine
(Super Street Cars, Feb 1970):
Nope, this isn't going to help as they talk about what pistons are in
the motor, but not if they came that way. I say this as they also talk
about the cam in the engine, and they were definitely NOT changed from
factory. (Because there are a number of factors that go in to
selecting a cam, to include altitude, so a Boston cam would be very
much different than a Denver cam. Thus, the factory-stock cam was left
in the engine). I've also heard from owners that Hurst did nothing to the
bottom end of the car (we know they put on a stock oil pan. Seems crazy that
they would pull the pan to replace the pistons, then put the stock pan back
on. How much more would it cost to put a deep pan and pick-up in?)
JE seems to be the piston company verified by most owners. That is verified
with this notice found in a period drag publication Drag News:
And please note the carbs again. I have seen everywhere carbs
from 600 to 650 cfm. Hurst put two Holley 4584 carbs on the
intake (and I may be thinking of something else, but were they
also labeled "L" and "R"?). They are 570 cfm, and ONLY came
on the SS/AMX cars, so sure have a premium price on them.
Let's look at an article from Car Craft June 1969
First, there is mention that "most" of the cars were sold to dealers. I wonder
how many were sold to a private individual, and how they found out about it?
The prototype car originally ran an R4B and Holley 3bbl, and the
heads were done by HL Shahan at Hurst. They decided to send them to
Crane when the project got going because they just did not have the time to
finish all of them at Hurst. As we all know, the intake became the Edelbrock
The stock horsepower for a 1969 390 engine was 315 hp. The
magazine mentioned that after some more tweaks, to include the
crossram, they were able to get ANOTHER 28 horsepower from the
car. Let's see, that equals 343hp, yet the car was rated for 340-and
this does not include the horsepower increase with the R4B, etc.
Wonder what the real horsepower on the prototype was?
The article mentions Holley 4210 615 cfm carbs. We know that is
wrong. I wonder how they determined the carb size for the final
build, especially when the bore/cam was still to be determined by
the new owner?
"That's all there will be.” How did they know? Here is a part that
bothers me. There is documentation that shows the beginning
VIN sequence. There is also mention the names of the owners
will be sent to the NHRA for certification, or homologation. But
where does it say there will be no more made? And they only
had to send 50 names and VINs to the NHRA for certification,
why would they have to send other names once the car was
homologated? There is no documentation that I have seen or
heard of that says "this batch, and no more." Remember the
mention of the Hurst Hemi Dart? They made 50, then later made
30 more. Hmmmm.
Original parts and pieces are available from Hurst and AMC....” I
will look and find these prices in 1969. There is a mention of the
almost $6000 price for the car, a huge sum in 69.
JE Forged 12.25:1 pistons. Someone must have a program to see
hp ratings with the various parts on the car. Total weight 3025
pounds. Didn't it weigh about 3200 when new?