Second Report of Work Done - San Antonio, Texas Stop

March 9, 2002

The following is, to the best of my knowledge, EVERYTHING you could possibly want to know about the Charity AMX project. Here at Alamo AMC we are well on the way to providing a running and driving car, and are very excited to be able to accomplish this major milestone in the project. Please take the time to read the following carefully, as I will try to answer everyone’s questions at some point during the post.  Remember, this project reflects on the AMC hobby -- not any particular club, organization, or individual. Let’s ALL work together to try and complete this project in the spirit in which was intended!


OBJECTIVE #1: Promote the AMC hobby by conducting a nationwide, apolitical, non-club specific restoration project that will generate publicity and goodwill among hobbyists and clubs while raising money for a charitable cause.

OBJECTIVE #2: Donating 1) time/labor 2) parts and 3) cash contributions in order to produce a reasonably well-restored, desirable automobile to auction at the conclusion of the project, with all proceeds to benefit the Children's Hospital charity.

In my opinion, it's crucially important to understand how these two objectives work together. The objective is not to collect enough money to pay someone restore the whole car and auction it off. If that were the objective, we could just take monetary contributions and de-personalize the whole project—make it into a raffle, so-to-speak. Tom Benvie’s recent post (in which he proposes to end the project and finish the car himself) is born out of frustration—frustration that we haven’t had ANY club commitments to sponsor the car after Alamo AMC. Why is that? (Remember, this will be a running and driving car once it leaves here--storage of the car should not be NEARLY the imposition as it has been for the previous clubs.)

Which is not to say that ‘getting involved’ is easy. I will be the first to admit that I have been very disappointed in many of the aspects of this project so far. The fundraising and/or PR opportunities have simply not materialized. The media (at least around here) doesn’t seem interested. (I don’t know why this is…maybe if we changed the charity to the New York Firefighter Fund or something we’d get some press coverage!) Very little (if anything) has been donated by ‘non-AMC’ shops and/or services. Many of the major AMC vendors have been silent about the project. On top of it all, I’ve certainly managed to draw criticism for my handling of the project, and I know that some of folks involved before me also weathered similar ‘hassles’. Perhaps some of these issues have discouraged other organizations from getting involved.

However, I choose to remain hopeful that this project will be completed. Maybe Kenosha will be the catalyst to raise interest and get things moving again. Hopefully some of you out there will take this to heart and rally your clubs and talk to your vendors and be willing to make the sacrifice to help us finish this project.

PARTS RECEIVED/DONATED: (Since the car arrived in San Antonio)

  • Russ Hathaway ( has donated a left side bumper 'scoop'.
  • Dan Whitehead ( contributed the carburetor spacer plate.
  • Brian Johnson ( has donated a new, reproduction '70 battery tray and a used blower motor assembly. The old blower motor (which was suspect) actually works fine!
  • Steven Booth ( has donated an NOS blower motor, but unfortunately the motor was not compatible…it was a ‘two wire’ instead of ‘three’ and was the wrong style for the ’70 model. I will look up the part number/interchange and sell this on eBay with proceeds benefiting the project in Steven’s name.
  • Brian Schneider of Alamo AMC has donated a full set of ’70 AMX ‘circles’ and letters for the rear quarter panels. Brian also contributed the ’68 driver’s door in exchange for the ’73.
  • Brett Schneider of Alamo AMC has donated an excellent ’70 model radiator
  • Fender support rods have been received from a variety of sources, so we have quite a selection to choose from.
  • Tom Benvie, the benefactor of this whole project, has dug deep into his personal stash and contributed:
  • Four additional steel ‘Magnum 500’ style wheels (more on this later).
  • Five additional chrome wheel centers.
  • Four NOS trim rings. (awesome!)
  • Two door trim strips.
  • A decent ’70 AMX grille, complete with a ‘parts grille’ for spare pieces.
  • A complete set of electric wipers including motor, rod assembly, and switch.
  • A correct, part number-matched ’70 engine fan.


  • Brian Schneider has been methodically finishing out the engine compartment as parts (and time) have become available. The new fan (from Tom) and belts were recently installed, which resolved the previous clearance problem. The new carb spacer worked like a champ. The reproduction clip/hanger kit has been wonderful! The car is now very close to firing, and we expect to accomplish this within the next two weeks.
  • I have replaced the ’73 driver’s door with the ’68 door donated by Brian Schneider and aligned it to the body. I have also gone through the entire window mechanism to make sure it is working—all we need is the glass! I am also going to try and match the door locks together and provide a key for them. Are the doors keyed the same as the trunk?
  • I recently dropped the fuel tank in order to have it cleaned. It was rather nasty on the inside, and the fuel sending unit is massively rusted and gunked up. I’m going to try and save it if at all possible. Alamo AMC’s Ron Story attempted to steam clean the tank, but some of the rust spots have developed into holes. Alamo AMC’s Andre Jacobs is going to investigate having the gas tank repaired and sealed with a liner.
  • I have started to reinstall the bumpers and lights in anticipation of having the car running in the next couple of weeks. It will be making trips to various shops for the exhaust, front-end alignment, etc. These parts will (obviously) have to be removed once again when the bodywork and paint commences.

Alamo AMC is fully prepared to fulfill it’s original commitment and present the next club or organization with a running, driving car. This will include:

  • Completion of the engine compartment
  • Installation of the driveshaft and clutch parts
  • Freshening of the brakes
  • Fuel system cleaning and restoration
  • Completion of the cooling system
  • Completion of the exhaust system (See note below)
  • Front end alignment
  • Lights & bumpers reinstalled for driveability   
  • And last, but not least: Delivery of the car to Kenosha for the 100th Anniversary of the Rambler


  • Correct Steering Wheel. We need a good, black steering wheel for a ’70 AMX. Tom Benvie ( has offered the AMX ‘center horn bar’ if a non-AMX steering wheel can be donated.
  • A clear driver's door glass. Dan Whitehead ( emailed me just today to say that he might be able to provide this piece. I would like to install the door glass so the car could be closed up and stored outside in the future (if necessary). Dave Meger ( very graciously offered us an entire door from a ’70 (including glass), but I felt it was more trouble than it was worth when we had a suitable door available here. We may need to revisit this with Dave if Dan’s glass doesn’t work out.
  • Door weather seals. We need the ‘fuzzies’ as well as the perimeter and hardtop seals. I know these are available in a reproduction kit. The appropriate vendors should be approached about donating this kit.
  • One front bumper 'scoop' (right side)
  • Directional light units for the grille. Tom Benvie may have a source for these.
  • ‘AMX’ nameplate for the grille.
  • Black passenger door armrest
  • Taillight Assemblies. We have the complete set, but they are MASSIVELY pitted and nasty. George Graham ( has offered a ‘decent’ set in exchange for the nasty set. However, if we want a ‘good’ set (i.e. restored with no pits) we should pursue having the existing units redone. The lenses are dark and clouded (from age) and I noticed yesterday that one is partially melted.
  • Fuel Tank Sending Unit. I may be able to salvage this, but it is nasty. It may be easier to get a new/reproduction one from one of the vendors.
  • Fuel tank. This is a long shot…we haven’t been able to find one down here, and I doubt anyone just has one lying around. (The interchange is ‘68-70 AMX or Javelin.) We will probably have to get the existing one redone. Anyone have connections in the tank restoration business?
  • Ram Air/Air Cleaner parts. Tom Benvie recently purchased some of these parts from Tony Champlin. Tony describes the parts (which have not yet arrived in San Antonio but are due next week) as follows: “The pieces he bought were the large round part that is above the air cleaner. It needs a bit of work. Missing flapper door, vacuum solenoid/bracket, rear tab. Has good foam seal in real good condition, and the ‘Y’ duct is in excellent condition.” Those of you who know these cars should be able to translate this and know which parts we still need—we currently have nothing to set on top of the carburetor.
  • One ‘simulated exhaust’ rocker panel molding. (See note below)
  • Correct heater valve. Tom Benvie has just donated a heater valve for the engine, but upon installation we discovered that it will not work…the orientation of the hose inlet and cable bracket are wrong for the V8.  Therefore, we still need a V8 Javelin or AMX heater valve.
  • Tires. Tom Benvie is currently collecting contributions in order to purchase a full set of ‘reproduction’ performance tires. The existing tires (two pairs of radials) are already mounted on the car and look quite good…they will suffice until someone is ready to finish the wheels. (See note below)
  • An OEM jack assembly. We have the orange ‘inflatable’ spare, but need the jack and air can.

(DISCLAIMER: Undoubtedly there are more parts that will be needed. I cannot possibly anticipate everything that will be required to finish this car. The parts discussed above are those that I have made note of, and should be considered ‘priority’ parts at this time.)


  • Body work/rear quarters. The replacement left rear quarter panel has been reunited with the car…and it’s an excellent piece, with all the spot welds properly drilled and original tabs in place. It needs to be installed. Unfortunately, the right rear quarter on the car is also bad and a large section of it has been cut away, along with a section of the trunk floor on that side. The first thing that a body shop needs to tackle is replacing the LR quarter (with the piece provided) and reconstruction of the RR quarter. Andre Jacobs ( of Alamo AMC has offered the chunk of trunk floor that is required, and may be able to provide a patch piece for the RR fender. We do have a reproduction patch panel for that area, but it is VERY crude.
  • Body work/floorboards and rockers. The floorboards look quite good…from inside the car. Underneath the car is another story. The floorboards have been patched, but the patches were installed over the top of the old floorboards, creating large pockets of ‘empty space’ where debris can collect and cause further rust problems. This needs to be addressed, especially if our goal is to restore the car to reasonable standards.
  • Body work/miscellaneous. Other than the quarter panels and floorboards, the rest of the body is excellent and will only need the usual alignment and blocking to complete. The front core support is a little rumpled and could use some reworking, but the rest is good to go. Of course, a paint job would be the next task.

These tasks are the biggest obstacle remaining to completion of the project, but they wouldn’t all have to be done by the same shop. It would be nice if an AMC-friendly body shop (or shops) would come forward to offer some of this work. Ron Akerman ( once approached me about arranging for some bodywork, but I never heard back from him. Let’s hear from you AMC body guys!

  • Interior. We have two good bucket seats, but the upholstery is different. There is only one seat back.
  • Bumpers. The bumpers are useable, but need to be straightened and rechromed.
  • Chrome trim/taillights, etc. refinished. The chrome surrounds for the Ram Air hood need to have the pins replaced and be rechromed as well.
  • Glass/seals. All the glass (exc. The aforementioned driver’s door glass) are present and in good condition, but new seals should be installed all around and the glass checked for leaks.
  • Grille restored. The grille Tom provided is complete but needs some minor gluing/reworking. Tom has also provided a chunk of another grille for ‘parts’. I know someone out there is an expert at this!
  • Wheels. In my last post, I talked a lot about the mismatched wheels…basically, the powder-coated set that came with the car were of three different styles and widths. Tom Benvie has just donated another set of four wheels, but THOSE wheels are of two different widths…two are the correct ‘early’ style and two are the later ‘70s style. In addition, one of the early style wheels is bent rather badly. Regardless, this issue will need to be addressed when the tires are purchased…at present, I think we only have two good ‘correct’ early rims out of the eight. If another pair of late-‘70s rims can be found, we can use the set of four of those. Whatever rims are ultimately used will need to be refinished. We do have NOS trim rings and plenty of center caps.
  • Striping. Are we going to put a ‘C’-stripe on the car?


  • Exhaust system. Alamo AMC was prepared to install a new exhaust system, retaining the original exhaust tips at the back. The car has been converted to ‘free flow’ exhaust manifolds, so a stock set will not work. Recently, however, reproduction Trendsetter exhaust systems have become available, and I know Randy Guynn has been working on this project. Is this something we want to pursue? Could such a system be donated and/or offered at a substantial discount, perhaps as a sales ‘test bed’ for the new reproductions? This issue needs to be discussed and decided ASAP, so we know whether to complete the exhaust system. If we stay with a stock setup, Ron Story of Alamo AMC has offered to pay for the installation. (This also dictates whether or not we need the second rocker panel molding.)
  • Electric wiper wiring. Tom has donated a dash switch, electric motor, and wiper rods. Is there a special wire harness to accommodate this? I would like to get this system installed, as it will help us finish out the engine bay.
  • Door tag. Tom Benvie has the original door tag, which will be reunited with the car.


  • There’s been a lot of discussion/debate about ‘accurate’ vs. ‘adequate’. I know Tom anticipated an ‘accurate’ and complete restoration. Such a restoration takes a lot of time and effort and/or money…a lot more than has been spent so far. Frank Swygert (and others) anticipated an ‘adequate’ restoration—finishing out the car as well as we can in an allotted amount of time (i.e. in time for the Kenosha show).  Certainly there are pro and con aspects of both of these approaches, and in all likelihood the project will always be a series of compromises—especially with the majority of work being donated. However, if Tom ends the project and takes possession of the car, it will be Tom’s money and Tom’s labor and Tom’s time and effort going in to finishing the car—and that’s not how the project was intended. I feel guilty even asking Tom for parts, since he has donated so much already (not to mention the entire car to begin with!) Granted, we are talking about a ’70 AMX…had Tom donated a Gremlin, we’d all have a lot more parts to give. But I would think that we would all be able to reach a reasonable compromise and donate enough parts/labor/funding so that this project isn’t all coming out of Tom Benvie’s pocket. At the same time, I think we all want to see a result that we can be proud to put our names on. A Krause auction is a high-profile event--what better time for the AMC hobby to really shine then to bring that car up on the auction block, with all of our names along with it, and say ‘This is representative of the handiwork, and charitable generosity of the AMC hobby. We will get out of this project what we (collectively) put into it.
  • Joe Fulton ( has most generously offered the following: “I will be in Kenosha with a Chevy pickup. If someone in the western half of the U.S. is willing to take the project, I will tow it to them. I will need to get back to work within a few days of Kenosha, so will probably make a direct trip to whoever wants it. I don't think there is enough organized AMC activity here on the Central Coast of California to take on the project, but I will gladly pull the car to whoever west of the Mississippi wants it. I will pay for the U-haul trailer and expenses.”

The Charity AMX has it’s own Internet website hosted by Matt Haas:

The local contact for the car is:
Alfred Koos
25667 Green River
San Antonio, TX 78258
(210) 497-0378

Thanks for reading this far, folks…if we all work together, we can do this!

Alfred Koos
Alamo AMC
San Antonio, TX


Last Updated: 09/06/2008