It may come as no surprise that the Fourth of July inspired Ken More to apply a red, white and blue color scheme to his once all-white 1969 AMC AMX. But before we can jump to those eye-catching exterior hues, a little background on his classic ride is in order.
This tri-color car isn't the South Barrington resident's first American Motors Corp. product; the lifelong AMC enthusiast has owned several AMXs over the years, even imparting his passion to his offspring.
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More owned a red 1968 example during the early seventies. "When my son was a baby, he used to hang around in the area behind the front seats."
Once his son reached driving age, More bought him a yellow 1969 AMX.
"Ever since those have been gone, I always wanted to get another one," More said. "This car became available and I just had to buy it."
He found the car in 1993 in West Chicago, covered in primer and "basically in pieces." The project was dragged to his garage and over the next several years, More embarked on getting the AMX back to road-going glory.
"Most of the work was exterior. Many of the body panels were rusted and had to be replaced," he said.
Three powerplants have been swapped in under the twin-bulged hood, the current being an AMC-sourced 401-cubic-inch V-8. More rows the gears with a Ford Mustang 5-speed manual transmission.
"You get something done, step back and look at it and then decide you don't like the way it is," More said. "It's a continual process of trying to improve on it."
More is able to measure his progress because he enjoys taking his rolling Wisconsin-made classic down area quarter-mile drag strips, boasting a best time of 13.6 seconds. Despite its straight-line potency, More reports the AMX is quite docile for normal use. "It's not tremendously loud. It delivers great highway cruising with the overdrive -- 2,000 rpm at 70 (miles per hour) all day long."
So as for the patriotic paint? The car remained covered in primer until 1997 when More had it sprayed in a new coat of Frost White. "Every time my wife looked at it she just couldn't stand how bland it appeared. She just didn't think it was very attractive," he said. Then several fortuitous events took place.
"When we moved into the neighborhood, we didn't know a July Fourth parade went right down the street in front of our house. I thought how nice it would be to have a car in the parade."
Later a second bit of inspiration happened as he was blasting down the 1,320 feet of asphalt at Cordova Dragway, in Cordova, Ill. "In 2001 we were racing and came upon a beautifully restored 1969 Hurst Super Stock AMX."
That special edition was only available for one year and only a scant 52 were produced. The ultrarare factory race car came in the all-American red, white and blue scheme to designate it as a high performance model.
"My wife has much better taste than I do, so when she saw the three colors and how attractive it looked, she suggested we mimic it, and she was right. The colors are perfect."
On this Fourth of July, like the previous ten, you'll find Ken behind the wheel of his star-spangled bruiser, participating in his hometown parade. "I'd like to think I'll always have a guaranteed spot."