When the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation along with the Hudson Motor Car Company merged together on January 14th of 1954, the American Motors Corporation was born. This was to be the largest corporate merger of the time and was worth almost 200 million U.S. Dollars. In today’s sense, the merger that formed AMC is worth more than 1.5 billion U.S. Dollars. Then in the 1970’s, AMC would partner up with Renault until the purchase of American Motors Corporation by Chrysler in 1987.
The goal of this merger was a simple one, to allow them to join the Big Three and compete directly against them on the American automotive industry. Then using some of the Packard components in the AMC cars, the Hudson Hornet and Wasp were then remodelled as AMC vehicles and instantly became a success. Furthermore, AMC is attributed to the growth in popularity of the Jeep which continued on well after Chrysler bought AMC. Another name that continued after the Chrysler purchase was that of the Eagle.
As the big three moved towards larger and more powerful cars, so too did AMC and introduced a number of cars that are still highly popular today. For example, the AMC Eagle which started off as a 4-door hatchback on top of a four wheel drive chassis, carried over to the Chrysler name and although it is no longer on a truck chassis, it did stay as an all wheel drive vehicle which helped with its success especially in the tuning market.
Furthermore, in the 1960’s when the focus went from large vehicles to small compact cars, AMC led the way with the release of the Gremlin which also proved to be a popular car that also made a comeback after the 1980’s movie “Wayne’s World”.
While the Big Three led the way in the American market, AMC still was able to compete with them producing anything from sport utility vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, to making muscle cars like the Javelin and even trucks like the Jeep pickup. While the Big Three started research and development on the possibility of an electric vehicle, AMC did not have the budget to do so and instead turned to Gulton Industries in 1967 to develop their electric vehicle systems.
In 1970, AMC purchase the Kaiser-Jeep Corporation which originally was the Overland-Willys and began introducing the Jeep to the world at an accelerated rate. While they focused on the passenger Jeeps, they also took the advantage of the government contract abilities associated with the Willys and continued to produce a number of military and Postal Service Jeeps throughout their history. Later they would take the military division and separate it from the company and rename it as American Motors General Product Division which would later become known as AM General.
In a surprising twist, when Chrysler purchased the AMC name and all of its vehicle rights, they did not get the AM General lines as these became part of the General Motors Corporation and still continue to produce the military Hummers at their plant in Indiana.
American Motors Corporation played a pivotal role in the changes and formation of the automotive industry as it is known today. Even though the AMC cars are no longer made under the AMC name, a lot of the various models have since developed their own following and have a number of fan clubs all over the country. From the Javelin to the AMX and even the Eagles and Gremlins, there are fan clubs for just about any of the AMC models that were produced during its long history in the American automotive industry.
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 29/08/2008