AMC Hemi?

Back during the 60s horsepower wars, Detroit came out with a handful of utterly insane nuclear powerplants: Chrysler had the 426 HEMI, Ford had a 427 SOHC and BOSS 429.

Even Oldsmobile experimented with 4 valve per cylinder pushrod freakshows.

Did American Motors ever attempt to make a super-engine?

AMC had a 390/401 for the Javelin and AMX (and a few other miscellaneous models) that could kick some serious ass. I don’t know if they’d rank as utterly insane, but they put out well over 300 hp.

The police department I worked with in Idaho had AMC Matadors during one cycle that had the 401. It was universally loathed by the cops as a gutless POS. Next cycle when they put out the bid request, it specified “over 401 ci”. They ended up with Dodges with the 440 engines that flat tore up the roads.

I was aware of this motor…in production until 1991 as a 360 in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer…IIRC described as a cross between a small block and a big block due to displacement and architecture.

I considered this mill as rather middle of the road as far as performance was concerned.

I have the AMC 360 in my Jeep.

Let’s just say I have a collection of very comfortable walking shoes at the ready in the back.

I occasionally see a mid-70s Javelin running in vintage races, so they do have some race history.

I believe the 390 was the biggest AMC engine, with a frame much like Ford’s 351 Windsor… a “mid block” capable of large displacement. (It’s common now to build 427ci engines on the 351W block.)

AMC didn’t do much right, but, y’know, the row of AMXes always draws me over at car shows.

AMC won the Trans-Am Series two years in a row, admittedly after Chevrolet and Ford withdrew factory support, but Mark Donohue and Peter Revson backed by Roger Penske was a formidable team under any circumstances. The engine definitely had race provenance.

AMC’s history was based around compact fuel-efficient cars, so the 390/401 was quite a departure and it came late in the game, just in time for insurance rates to skyrocket on high-horsepower cars. That was the horsepower/performance peak for AMC, they never even tried to build a bigger displacement engine, let alone a Hemi competitor.

AFAIK, the most sophisticated engine AMC ever put in a car is an OHC fuel injected turbo:

On further investigation, I have discovered that the Jeep division did have an OHC hemi straight 6
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/comment-image/88607.png
but this is a Kaiser Jeep design and had no stateside AMC passenger car applications

they put the 401 in Gremlins as an aftermarket option.

Interesting. I would have thought it impossible except at the level of building a V-8 Pinto, but AMC put the smaller V8 in them from the factory, making the build-up easier.

Studebaker made a top of the line Avanti with a 500+ hp twin Paxton supercharged V8.

I am one of the few people who actually owned a Gremlin (or admits it, anyway:D) There was an incredibly huge amount of space under the hood. I think it would have been possible to put two small people in the engine compartment along with the base 6, much less a 401.

The Pinto had an engine bay for a 4 cylinder. The stock Gremlin was a straight six. Lots of room.

gah, missed your post. Yes, you could just about stand inside the engine bay and work on it.

Heh/ I’ve been looking in Google Images for someone swapping a v12 into a Hudson/Gremlin:D

Pintos weren’t especially tight. The biggest problem in dropping in a small block was the front engine mounts; there was plenty of room for standard Mustang headers and everything else.

I do note that Javelin/AMXs did seem to have enormous engine bays, though, so I’m not surprised a Grumblin would be similar.

Here is an article about the recent death of Ronnie Kaplan, the guy who spearheaded the AMC Trans-Am effort.