What a difference a few years make! In 1974, AMC would introduce the Matador Coupe, an all-new version of it, which is a pale, sad parody of real muscle cars… Rewind 4 years, to 1970, to the Golden Age of Muscle Cars, and meet the awesome 1970 AMC Rebel Machine, which is seen by many as the epitome of muscle cars: a “small”, brutal, overpowered and fast car with the aggressive, in-your-face, “I hate you and I’m going to beat you up” look we all love in our cars! Once the absolutely garish faux-patriotic color scheme was made an option, there was nothing to stop the Rebel Machine. It was only produced in 1970, in limited numbers (only 2,326) and even today represents everything a muscle car should be.
The AMC Rebel Machine was powered by the most powerful engine AMC ever put into a production car, a 390 cubic inch, 340 horsepower V8 that propelled this little bomb to a top speed of 125 miles per hour, and to a 0-60 acceleration time of 6.4 seconds. Now those are real muscle car figures. Not like the ’74 Matador Coupe.
In addition to being fast, the AMC Rebel Machine looked mean; it was slightly raised in the back for a real raked look, and sported a pair of functional hood scoops with butterfly valves. With its floor-mounted, short-throw four-speed Hurst Performance manual gearbox, it was something to be feared – both on and off the track!