The memorable Rebel “Machine” had few rivals when it came to getting noticed. Buyers could opt out of the patriotic color scheme, however, and get their Machine outfitted in a solid color.
The AMC Rebel Machine was fast! It had AMC’s biggest, most powerful 390 V-8. It produced 340 galloping ponies at 5100 rpm. The “standard stuff ” list was filled with a four-speed, closeratio tranny, a Hurst shifter, a lighted 8000-rpm hood tach, Ram Air, 3.54:1 or 3.91:1 rear axles, heavy-duty shocks and springs, a low-back-pressure dual exhaust system, front and rear sway bars, 15-inch raised white-letter tires, styled wheels, high-back bucket seats and power disc brakes. “Standing before you is the car you’ve always wanted,” AMC teased in a two-page introductory ad in the December 1969 issue of Hot Rod magazine. It showed the “Machine,” that had actually debuted two months earlier at the National Hot Rod Association World Championship drag races.
The ad copy warned, “Incidentally, if you have delusions of entering the Daytona 500 with the Machine, or challenging people at random, the Machine is not that fast. You should know that. For instance, it is not as fast on the getaway as a 427 Corvette, or a Hemi, but it is faster on the getaway than a Volkswagen, a slow freight train, and your old man’s Cadillac.” Which meant it was plenty fast enough.
All this came at a price a of $3,475 in a car with a 114- inch wheelbase and curb weight of 3,640 lbs. and produced performance in the range of 14.4-second quarter-miles at a 98-mph speed. It also produced sales of 2,326 cars.
The first 100 “Machines” delivered from the AMC factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were finished in white. Hurst Performance Products did up the lower beltline stripes and hood in blue and then added red stripes on the upper body sides. At the rear, red-white-and-blue stripes ran across the fender tips and deck. Special “The Machine” emblems were tacked on the front fender sides and on the rear trim panel’s right-hand side.
For buyers who didn’t like the patriotic paint scheme, AMC advertised, “If you like everything about it except for the paint job, which admittedly looks startling, you can order the car painted in the color of your choice.” When buyers did this, they got silver striping and a blacked-out hood. The original color scheme became a $75 option. Although “The Machine” was a joint venture between AMC and Hurst, this association wasn’t promoted to buyers. Customers were offered a chance to purchase “Up with the Rebel Machine” decals for 25 cents each. We wonder what those decals are worth now?