Cool electric concept from ’68

It seems that electric vehicles are finally becoming a reality… with even companies like BMW getting in on the act. There is, of course the eBretta (1st tenuous Lambretta link), the electric reincarnation of the Lambretta, being developed in Vietnam.tumblr_myglnt81RB1r8dlh9o1_1280

But this is not a new thing… Back in 1968 the US car firm, AMC, now long defunct produced this concept. With a top speed of 50mph, and a claimed range of 150 miles (remember, this was the 60’s) this looking like a viable city commuter vehicle. Perhaps if petrol (or gas, as our American cousin’s insist on calling it) had got more expensive stateside, and they’d managed to make the Nickel Cadmium and Lithium Nickel Fluoride batteries more affordable, we might have seen these go into production.amcelc02I love the whole retro futuristic vibe of these, and design wise, they remind me of the Bond Bug, with a bit of Bertone thrown in (2nd tenuous Lambretta link). They were actually designed by Dick Teague, who’s finest moment, in my book was the ‘hot wheels’ looking AMX-GT. How this never made it into full production is a mystery to me. I’d always assumed it had… maybe it’s the Hot Wheels effect made me think that!

800px-1968_AMC_AMX-GT_ShowCar_Type2QCars that did make it into production are the Pacer, you know the one with the huge, bulbous rear window… and a superfunky “compact” called the Gremlin, both clearly sharing some AMX-GT DNA.amc-gremlin-01

And, although as well as being a stunning piece of design, the Gremlin was purportedly a good, reliable, and inexpensive motor… but I can’t help thinking the marketing department could have come up with a name that didn’t suggest that it was full of faults. Anyway, it’s a shame the AMC brand, which seemed so innovative and forward looking didn’t achieve more sustained commercial success… but it was fighting a losing battle against the US “Big 3” of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, as well as European and Japanese imports.

Find out more about AMC on the excellent and entertaining Musclehead blog, here.

This is one of my irregular “not a Lambretta” posts… normal service will be resumed soon 🙂

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