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1970 AMX is first American Motors Best in Show at Musclepalooza XXVII

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Tony Lucas poses with his Best in Show-winning AMX. Photos by author.

“All-conquering” is the apt description here, though we didn’t know it at the time. Not only is this 1970 AMC AMX the first American Motors product to take the Best of Show honors at a Hemmings Musclepalooza, it has also regularly collected trophies from shows across the United States and Canada, including the coveted American Cup, awarded by the American Motors Owner’s Association for non-stock AMC products that consistently take Best-in-Show honors at the group’s events.

Most of us are content just to get to the local shows, but not Tony Lucas, owner of this AMX, who hails from Abbottsford, British Columbia, in the Vancouver area. That’s about a 5,000 3,100-mile drive, if you’re keeping track. Yes, Tony hauled the car to Lebanon Valley in the neat trailer you see in the background, but it’s no trailer queen—he regularly drives it on the street and down the race track, where it has run as quick as 14.3 seconds at 96 mph.

Tony found the car, partially apart and not running, with rusty quarters, in British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast region. He’d been an AMC enthusiast since the age of 16 when he acquired a Sprint as his first set of wheels. Although he was elbow-deep in restoring a Rambler American Rogue, he knew he’d be buying the AMX the moment he laid eyes on it.

His first step, upon making the purchase, was to disassemble the accompanying parts car, another 1970 AMX. The parts car was a stroke of luck, as it turns out, because with only 4,116 AMX’s produced for 1970, parts can be scarce. That was 17 years ago, and family obligations stalled the project for a while, but in late 2007 he resumed the project, documenting the disassembly with photos, bagging and tagging parts, and doing plenty of research to make sure he got everything right.

Perhaps the neatest part of the car is that it came with a full documentation of its history. For instance, Tony knows it came with air conditioning and 2.87 gears because its original owner lived in Utah and commuted weekly to Southern California, necessitating 100-mph cruising speeds and relief from desert temperatures. Tony also hasn’t hesitated to make the car his own, despite keeping the factory correct look, treating the AMC 360 to an upgraded COMP Cam, an Edelbrock intake manifold with Holley carburetor, and early-1971, pre-smog exhaust manifolds. He’s also swapped to 3.31 gears subsequent to that ¼-mile pass mentioned above.

Look for more on this spiffy green machine in an upcoming issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines!

The full list of award winners includes:

Favorite Modified Muscle
1957 Chevrolet 150 “Black Widow” replica
Bob Fouquette
East Freetown, Massachusetts


Second Place Modified Muscle
1969 Dodge Dart GTS
Mark Mazzer
Pittsfield, Massachusetts


Favorite Mercury
1968 Cougar XR-7 Convertible
Michael Prunty
Pleasant Valley, New York


Second Place Mercury
1969 Cougar
Don Ward
Vernon, Connecticut


Favorite Dodge
1968 Charger RT
Joe Samperisi
Catskill, New York


Second Place Dodge
1970 Challenger
Todd Schoeller
New Milford, Connecticut


Favorite Plymouth
1965 Plymouth Satellite
Tony Paterniti
Climax, New York


Second Place Plymouth
1973 Plymouth Scamp
Vickey Mazzer
Pittsfield, Massachusetts


Favorite Oldsmobile
1971 Olds 442 W-30
Sean Cory
Putnam Valley, New York


Second Place Oldsmobile
1972 Hurst Olds Pace Car
Steve Perry
Carmel, New York


Favorite Pontiac
1972 LeMans 455 HO
Paul Mennon
Ashley Falls, Massachusetts


Second Place Pontiac
1966 GTO
Jim Ferron
Pittsfield, Massachusetts


Favorite Buick
1989 Buick Sabre T Type
Jeff Heath
Chicopee, Massachusetts


Second Place Buick
1987 Buick Regal Turbo T
Rick Warner
Poughkeepsie, New York


Favorite Late Model Mopar
2018 Dodge Challenger Demon
Bill Russell
Amherst, Massachusetts


Second Place Late Model Mopar
2017 Dodge Challenger TA
Ethan Pellegrino
Medway, Massachusetts


Favorite Ford
1967 Mustang GT
Bob Enright
Mahopac, New York


Second Place Ford
1964 Ford Sprint
Dick LaClaire
Wyantskill, New York


Favorite Late Model Ford
2005 Ford Mustang GT Supercharged
Michael Englehardt
Poughkeepsie, New York


Second Place Late Model Ford
2007 Ford Mustang Roush 427R
Austin Chriss
Sand Lake, New York


Favorite Chevy
1968 Chevelle SS396
David Bouvier
Smithfield, Rhode Island


Second Place Chevy
1969 Camaro Z/28
Dave Murawski
Bristol, Connecticut


Favorite Late Model GM
2014 Camaro 1LE
John Milza
Queensbury, New York


Second Place Late Model GM
2006 Pontiac GTO
AJ Fernon
Hinsdale, Massachusetts


Best Engine Bay
1967 Chevelle Supersport
Ron Jacobsen
Hudson, New York


Best Paint
1968 Plymouth Barracuda
Keith Van Emmerick
Shirley, New York


Tony Lucas
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada


Second Place AMC
1969 Javelin SST
Jeffery & Jeanne Holmlburg
Wilbraham, Massachusetts