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About the Rebel Machine Concept

Rebel Machine Prototypes

As the photo above shows clearly, work on the Rebel Machine concept was well underway when this shot was taken on June 27th, 1967 using the 1969 version of the Series 10 body style. It was strictly intended as a performance centred design with no attempt to marry it to the 1969 SC/Rambler with it's eye catching Hurst inspired Red, White and Blue paint and graphics scheme. That success was still in the future.

There was talk of using the Marlin as the performance car body style for 1970. But by then it was clear that the fast back had run it's course for all makes with the exception of the Mustang. But the concept was popular and artwork was created that eventually migrated all the way to the colourful envelope used for the Press Kit that announced the new Rebel Machines.

There was thought given to making the new Hornet body style the next AMC performance car - low weight and a 390 motor would have made the car a winner at the drag strips. But that concept lost out to the new Rebel body style because the objective was to entice new customers into AMC showrooms with the flamboyant paint schemes then switch them over to the non-performance, regular line Rebels. That's where the money was, not in a high performance vehicle that would be costly to their warranty program.

AMC did not want to sell a lot of Rebel Machines. As a product, the car was not well liked at any level in the corporation. It was a marketing tool to them and  that's all it was. It received almost no marketing dollars. A single page ad and a double page spread, a salesman's training video, some brochures followed by a press kit was about the extent of it. There was no money for a racing program beyond the product launch at the Dallas International Motor Speedway on October 25, 1969 and some performance magazine drag strip testing by CARS Magazine and others. Many years later a video of the car at an airport turned up that was never used for marketing.


The Machine was a Joke that went REAL

The Rebel Machine is the only car ever designed and intended as a spoof against the entire domestic automotive industry. That spoof is what prompted the cartoon of BC on a gear doing a burnout - raw power from practically nothing which was where AMC was financially as the only major independent car company left in the western hemisphere.

The cartoon was stuck on the car for the product launch but was not on showroom models. If you wanted one it you had to mail AMC 25 cents to get it.

On April 1st, 1964 AMC told th rest of the automotive industry that it wasn't interested in building cars for the performance market; the only race they were interested in was the human race. AMC became the butt of many automotive industry insider jokes for that public comment.

In 1969 AMC got that one back with the Rambler SC/Rambler that blew the doors off practically everything at the drag strips. In 1970, they did it again with the Rebel Machine when optioned out with dealer installed Group 19 performance options that boosted the Rebel Machine's horsepower to 472 and its drag strip E.T.s to 12.73.


The First Edition of the Stripe Kit

The stripe kit was first seen by the public and most AMC executives wearing the BC on a Gear logo on each fender near the door. The image was printed on paper and was intended to be an integral part of the spoof. But the executives thought was a bit much and went with THE MACHINE logo instead. Even so, the cartoon is an accepted stock item on a Machine since the car was launched at Dallas wearing the BC Burnout. Another difference between the first stripe kit and the finalized concept was that the 1/4" wide key-line stripes on the prototype Machine were black rather than silver. The change was made because the silver softens the line between the blue and white body colours. If a silver line is a bit crooked, it doesn't show. If a black line is crooked it matters.


What no one but AMC's executives knew at the time was that there was no money to support a real advertising program.

These hand made yardstick signs really the most AMC could afford at the time.

So there was no money for a race program or a promotional campaign beyond the two magazine spreads - a one page and a two page spread that appeared in performance car magazines.

1970 Rebel “Machine The name says it. This limited production Machine was designed to be tough ’n’ on anybody who tried to do a number on it.

This black and white promo shot appeared in magazine articles and was most people's introduction to the Rebel Machine.

A video was made of a Machine being driven on an active airport runway but that was never released. It was finally posted to Youtube long after most of its target market was dead and gone.



AMC carried the performance joke right through to name of the car - THE MACHINE. In the sixties and seventies, a very powerful performance car was commonly  called a MACHINE. AMC scooped the moniker stuck it on the Rebel Machine and thumbed its nose at the other automakers. They literally stole the jargon right out of the mouths of all those AMC detractors.

Without some Group 19 help, THE MACHINE wasn't that much of a MACHINE. Using insurance industry calculations, THE MACHINE only qualified as a performance car (and higher premiums) by one horsepower. With the proper Group 19 options, THE MACHINE really was THE MACHINE and in an AMC dealer's shop with mostly bolt on options Rebel Machine posted the fastest quarter mile times of any cars tested by the magazines in the muscle car era.


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