It’s easy to picture American Motors fighting it out in Trans Am racing back in the 1970s. Mark Donohue did wonders promoting the brand and the red-white-and-blue Javelins and AMXs. But AMC also tried NASCAR for a few years, in AMC Matadors in two different flavors: the bigger Rebel-like coupe, and the seriously unique coupe that was one of the mid-1970s most polarizing designs to be let loose. Throughout the years, NASCAR has been the show at which manufacturers put it all out there on the line. Knock it for being a redneck sport, yelp all you want about going around in circles all day long…it is a grueling event that will kick a driver’s ass and will find every last weakness in a machine that was perfectly fine when the green flag dropped a few hundred miles ago.
The street-going Matador coupes might have been weird to look at (what 1970s AMC wasn’t?) but in full-blown racing trim, the coupe looked positively monstrous. It didn’t look like some fluffy personal luxury coupe, it looked like the next generation of Javelin, angry and ready to wear the corporate colors proudly while showing bigger cars like Darrell Waltrip’s Chevelle the four round taillight covers. It almost is enough to make you want to find one of these things and get to work on a nasty 401 for it. Almost.