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Rare AMC AMX/3 prototype on display at the Chicago Auto Show

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    AMC AMX/3 (

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    AMC AMX/3 (

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    AMC AMX/3 (

It was a hit at the 1970 Chicago Auto Show, and it’s catching eyes in the windy city again this year.

A rare AMC AMX/3 prototype is on display in McCormack Place at the 2013 edition of the annual car show through the end of this week.

AMC’s legendary design chief Richard Teague penned the sleek, mid-engine coupe to compete with the best performance cars in the world. The would-be halo car was developed and built for AMC by Italian sports car maker Giotto Bizzarrini and is powered by a 390 cubic-inch AMC V8 pumping 340 hp through a four-speed automatic transmission.

Six of the well-received head-turners were manufactured for testing, but financial problems and looming emission regulations that favored the kind of small, fuel efficient cars the company was then focusing on ultimately kept the $12,000 supercar from ever entering production.

The example at the show is a particularly special one, as Teague himself bought it from AMC when the project ended. Number three of the six that were built, it is currently owned by the late Teague’s daughter and her husband Ray Scarpelli, Jr., a Chicago area Chevrolet dealer.

Scarpelli tells that the car had fallen into disrepair over the years, but he recently had it restored by famed automotive fabricator David Draper, who had to reconstruct many of the parts from scratch as the AMX/3 hardly used any off-the-shelf AMC components.

In like-new condition, the AMX/3’s low-slung body and engine under glass are as dramatic as any of the exotic European sports cars of the day, not to mention the Ford-powered DeTomaso Pantera, which also made its debut in 1970 and was produced in various forms until 1991, long after AMC was absorbed by Chrysler in 1987.

No one will ever know what a car like the AMX/3 would’ve done for the fortunes of AMC, but it definitely makes for a more impressive calling card than the Pacer, another of the automaker’s creations that made an indelible impression on Chicagoland as The Mirthmobile in the film “Wayne’s World.”

Party on.