In the early 1950s, independent automakers like Nash, Hudson, Packard and Studebaker were worried that they’d be driven out of business by the “Big 3” – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Because of their size, GM, Ford, and Chrysler enjoyed immense production cost advantages, and they were able to further reduce costs by sharing parts between divisions and platforms. These economies of scale enabled them to provide deep discounts and engage in market share wars, as Ford and GM did in 1953-54, which resulted in low car prices that the independents couldn’t match. George Mason, the CEO of Nash-Kelvinator, realized that combining forces was the only way that the independent manufacturers would be able to compete, and he engineered the merger of his company and Hudson in May of 1954 to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). Mason tried to bring Packard and Studebaker into the fold, but was only able to secure a parts sharing agreement between AMC and Packard before he died, just a few months after the merger. Packard did end up acquiring Studebaker, but we can only speculate at how successful AMC might have been had all four companies joined together.

Nevertheless, during its three and a half decade existence, AMC produced many unique and memorable cars, from economical gas sippers to powerful and exciting performance models, off-road adventure vehicles to luxurious cruisers, and the company was responsible for a long list of automotive firsts. But that was all in the future when George Romney, future governor of Michigan and father of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt, succeeded George Mason as CEO. One of the first moves was to consolidate Nash and Hudson production at Nash’s Kenosha Wisconsin manufacturing plant. Increased purchasing power and reduced production costs due to the merger created positive results almost immediately, allowing Hudson to cut prices and enabling the company to post a profit in 1955. Initially, the two companies’ respective names and models were retained – the Hudson Wasp and Hornet and the Nash Ambassador, Statesman, Rambler and Metropolitan, and there was some rebadging which resulted in cars like the Hudson Rambler and Hudson Metropolitan, but the decision was made to discontinue the Hudson and Nash brands after 1957 and elevate Rambler from model to brand name.

George Romney concluded that the best way to compete with the Big 3 was with a smaller-sized car line that emphasized fuel efficiency. The Nash Rambler became the Rambler American, and this compact was joined by the intermediate Rambler Six and Rebel V8, and the top of the line Ambassador. But every new Rambler wasn’t only about economy. The parts sharing agreement between AMC and Studebaker-Packard Corporation (S-P) had not worked out, because although AMC had purchased Packard V8 engines and automatic transmissions for the Nash Ambassador and Hudson Hornet, S-P did not reciprocate in kind, so the agreement was terminated. But all this did was spur AMC to develop its own V8 engine. A 250 c.i. V8 debuted in 1956 that was rated at 190 hp, and a larger 327 c.i. version rated at 255 hp was installed in the new lightweight Rebel in 1957, along with a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual or automatic transmission and dual exhaust. This combination produced a 7.5 second 0-60 mph time, second only to the Chevrolet Corvette among 1957 production vehicles. Bendix “Electrojector” electronic fuel injection, which would have bumped horsepower to 288, was supposed to be an option, but it proved to be troublesome and none were ever sold.

AMC’s commitment to economical small cars proved to be a winning strategy, resulting in a 3rd place sales ranking in 1960 and 61. In the early 60s the company offered a number of industry firsts, including a tandem master cylinder in 1962, the now familiar PRNDL shift indicator with neutral between drive and reverse, reclining front seats in the 1964 Classic, with disc brakes optional on that model a year later. Small car champion George Romney resigned to run for governor in 1962 and he was replaced with Roy Abernathy who believed that the company should build larger, more expensive cars as well. The Ambassador was enlarged, and the fastback Marlin, which was originally based on the Classic, was moved to the larger Ambassador chassis. The Rambler brand was gradually phased out during the 60s and replaced by American Motors or just AMC badging. This was the era of the muscle car and AMC had viable competitors to the Big 3’s offerings with the Javelin and its 2-seat derivative the AMX, available with big 343 c.i. and 390 c.i. V8s, and the 1969 Hurst SC/Rambler, which featured the big 390 V8 from the AMX in a compact Rambler American based chassis with a host of suspension and drivetrain upgrades. The SC stood for Super Car, but these cars were commonly called “Scramblers”, and could run low 14 second quarter mile times right from the factory, and much faster times with simple modifications.

In 1970 AMC purchased Kaiser-Jeep Corporation, adding the Jeep CJ, Wagoneer, pickup, and other vehicles to the AMC lineup. The compact Hornet debuted the same year, replacing the Rambler American, along with the subcompact Gremlin, which was built on the same platform. The Matador replaced the Rebel the following year, and the Ambassador was redesigned and made even larger in 1973. However, higher gas prices and rationing caused by the 1973 Arab oil embargo shrunk the market for large cars and the Ambassador was discontinued the following year. The most memorable AMC model from the 70s was the Pacer, a compact car that was as wide as a full size car. The Pacer was designed to have the roominess of a large car wrapped in a smaller, aerodynamic package, and its rounded shape featured a large glass area. The Pacer was ahead of its time in many ways but its styling was controversial. And although it was a compact car, it was heavy and suffered poor gas mileage compared with its competition at a time when fuel economy was the most important consideration for many buyers.

By the close of the 1970s production of all AMC large cars ended and, aside from Jeep, the company was once again a small car manufacturer. The Hornet was redesigned and rebadged as the Concord, and the Spirit replaced the Gremlin. A 4WD version of the Spirit and Concord was also offered called the Eagle. However, AMC’s main competitors were no longer the Big 3 but Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Toyota, and the company’s small cars did not compare well with the imported competition. The ensuing financial problems led them to make an agreement with Renault. The French automaker initially acquired a 22.5% stake in AMC in 1979, which later rose to 49%, and the two companies also agreed to develop products jointly, resulting in the 1983 Renault Alliance sedan and Encore hatchback. In the early 1980s Jeep introduced the compact Cherokee and Wagoneer, literally inventing the market segment that would become known as Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

In 1985 Chrysler was having trouble meeting the demand for some of its vehicles, and contracted with AMC to build cars at the Kenosha, Wisconsin plant. Two years later, Renault was experiencing its own financial difficulties and sold its shares of stock to Chrysler, which also purchased all the remaining shares of AMC. In the deal, Chrysler acquired two new models that had been developed by Renault and AMC, the Premier and Medallion. Chrysler marketed these and later models including the Summit, Talon, and Vision under the Eagle brand, which was derived from the last AMC designed vehicle, until the brand was discontinued in 1999. But Jeep was the prize that Chrysler captured when it bought AMC. Along with the highly successful Cherokee and the new Wrangler YJ, a modernized replacement for the venerable CJ, Chrysler gained the Grand Cherokee, which was then under development by Jeep. All three models have been highly profitable for Chrysler and the Jeep brand has spawned many other models including the Compass, Liberty, Patriot and Renegade.

AMC built millions of cars, trucks, and SUVs during its 34 years existence and many are still on the road and driven regularly. You may have a trusty Jeep CJ or Cherokee that you want to keep running, an AMX, Javelin, or Rebel muscle car that you want to modify, or a perfectly restored classic Ambassador that just needs to be cared for. For these and all your service requirements you can depend on us to have all of your AMC needs, including maintenance supplies, repair parts, appearance products, and custom and performance accessories.

Dress your vehicle up. Keep it running at its peak or unleash its hidden power. Make it look like it just rolled off the show room floor. Take care of it and maintain it. You name it, we've got it. We have gathered everything you need to make your American Motors perfect both inside and out. CARiD's job is to meet your every expectation and provide you with quality and durable accessories and parts designed with excellence in mind. Whether you're after luxurious style, brisk performance, or anything in between, our wide assortment covers all the bases.

Featured Products

Guides & Articles

Useful articles fast to read and guides easy to understand written by mechanics and car enthusiasts to turn your shopping experience with CARiD into a pleasure

  • Seat Covers
    December 06, 2017
    Shopping Guide - Seat Covers
    Seat cover design and construction have progressed a great deal in recent decades. Not so long ago, the phrase "automotive seat cover" brought to mind loose-fitting...
    by Richard Reina
  • Running Boards
    November 29, 2017
    Shopping Guide - Running Boards
    Running boards date as far back as the automobile itself, being integrated into car and truck designs until falling out of favor after World War II. With the boom in...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Off-Road Bumpers
    November 28, 2017
    Shopping Guide – Off Road Bumpers | Custom...
    There's a saying that advises out of all the paths you take in life, it's important to make sure a few of them are dirt. But while dirt can be found most anywhere you...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Floor Mats
    November 21, 2017
    Shopping Guide – Floor Mats & Liners
    If you've ever balked at the prices car dealers charge for an "optional" set of floor mats, we understand. It can be enough to turn you off to the idea of floor mats...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Car Covers
    September 15, 2017
    Car Covers Shopping Guide
    Wherever you park your vehicle, a car cover protects it from a constant onslaught. If parked inside, it blocks dust and humidity as well as accidental scratches,...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Automotive Tools
    July 12, 2017
    What Special Tools Are Available For Driveline...
    The expression "heat and beat" applies to a lot of driveline repairs, meaning worn parts are often so difficult to separate that one must use a blowtorch and great...
    by Michael Grayen
  • Hydraulic Tools & Equipment
    July 10, 2017
    Three Unexpected Uses For a Shop Hydraulic Press
    If you've ever considered performing an automotive repair that involved replacing a bushing, bearing, universal joint, or pulley - but couldn't because you lacked a...
    by Michael Grayen
  • Steering Wheels
    July 04, 2017
    Steering Wheel Covers | Fresh Look And Fresh Grip
    Today’s snug-fit, custom steering wheel covers aren’t just for bling anymore. Thanks to modern high-grade materials, steering wheel covers can actually make...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Custom Automotive Horns
    June 26, 2017
    Air Horns | How They Work, And How To Install...
    Commonly found on large semi trucks, trains, and fire engines, pneumatic air horns use pressurized air to create loud, no-nonsense warning blasts that signify you mean...
    by Michael Grayen
  • Auto Detailing
    May 22, 2017
    Car Care Kits | One Click Away From Clean -...
    If you've ever been in a new car showroom, you remember how clean paint glistened under a glossy coat of wax that was slick to the touch when you ran your finger over...
    by Michael Grayen
  • Spare Tire Covers & Carriers
    May 16, 2017
    Four Great Reasons to Use a Spare Tire Cover
    Spare tire covers: You’ve seen them everywhere on the backs of Jeeps and SUVs, but maybe you’ve been hesitant about getting one for your own 4x4. In this article,...
    by Timothy Zahl
  • Camping
    May 15, 2017
    The Five Best Reasons to Spring For an...
    Since time began, camping outdoors has had a strong allure. Once a necessity, it's now a rejuvenating way to get back to our roots by experiencing the wonders of...
    by Michael Grayen

Popular Products

American Motors Accessories & Parts Reviews

Average rating:  5  5 - 130 reviews
5 of 5
These lights were amazing especially the strobe setting had a lil fun with it had to take it off cause let’s say NYPD isn’t no friendly so now I have them on as daytime running lights/signals.
LPosted by Leoroy (Staten Island, NY) / October 25, 2017
2013 Chevy Impala
Was this review helpful for you? Yes
View More

All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only.
It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.