Does anyone remember American Motors? Well I do, my dad had a 63 Rambler station wagon that we used to drive upstate in all the time.
And for all those car buffs, Rambler became American Motors back in 1967. Just a simple name change to make it sound cooler and more appealing.
I must have been about six years old when he brought it home from the dealer over on 39th street near 14th Avenue. I remember looking out of the window of my grandparent’s second floor apartment and seeing the two-tone black and white station wagon parked in our driveway.
It was much smaller than the 57 Plymouth station wagon we had earlier, but when your six years old the inside of any car always looks big.
Yeah, the Rambler, just sleeping in the back seat during those countless Friday night drives upstate. With my dad flooring the gas pedal the “packed” Rambler would barely make it up the very steep hills of Huntley Hollow that lead to our house.
Well, although the station wagon was a wonderful car, I never really fell in love with it. No, I had my eyes on another American Motors car. And it was simply called the AMX, and it was the most beautiful car I have ever seen in my life.
When I was eleven years old back in 1968 I saw my first AMX on East 4th street. It was a light metallic green AMX that Bob, the caretaker of the Church on Avenue C owned. I would just stare as it slowly cruised up East 4th, It was just such a beautiful car with a perfect stamped tin body.
So I had AMX pictures in my room, AMX models in my house, I even had an AMX car that I raced at the Buzz-a-rama too.
No, there was no stopping my love for this car. Someday I was going to buy one, no matter what.
Now, the beauty of being single was that you could basically do anything you wanted without some kind of “ok” from another person. And while I was single from 1987 until 1997 after my first marriage, I always did what I thought was “best” for me. And that “best” was always spending my money on cars. Sure I bought 399 from my aunt and uncle in the middle of my second “single hood”, but I always made sure to put anything "car related" before the house.
Thus the; “wow Ronnie your place looks just like the house from the Munster’s TV show" statement from an old girlfriend who I brought home by mistake.
Hell, and it even had a front yard full of weeds too.
No, I wasn’t very good at keeping the house up, and it was once the worst house on the block too. But hey, at least I had some cool Plymouth Cudas in my driveway right? And who picks up their date in a 4600 hundred square foot wood-frame house anyway?
No, we’re parking the “Monte” by the Verazanno bridge tonight, not the freaking house. The house is for sleeping and making sure my mom has a roof over her head. No, never to fix up!
Cars are only what you fix up and make out with your date in, not your house.
But then I met my current wife Virginia back in 1997, and it looked like I was going to be in the marriage business again.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Oh no! just one more car, just one more car God before I get married again.
Because when you get married you never know what’s going to happen!
And of course it had to be the AMX!
So with some “jingle" in my pocket and some hope in my heart we drove all the way up to Connecticut, and I bought a 68 AMX for my “girlfriend”, well, actually Virginia my future wife.
Because it was going to be "her" car you know.
And that was it folks, my last car to restore and work on before I said “I do” again.
A 1968 290 AMX. I finally owned an AMX after all these years.
Well, I finally did fix up 399 East 4th, and it no longer looks like a prop from a “Friday the 13th” movie.
Yes, it’s amazing what influence a woman can have on me, but at least I got that last car in before I grew up.