One of the most compelling American concept cars of the late 1970s, the AM Van was part of a larger effort by American Motors Corporation to bolster its image as an innovator during a period of social, economic, and political turbulence.
With its flared fenders, deep, front air dam, large side pipes, and gorgeous wide wheels wrapped in meaty tires, it gave off distinctly futuristic muscle-car vibes. Being purely a design study, the AM Van was essentially a wood-framed, fiberglass-bodied styling buck with no drivetrain, non-functioning doors, and tinted windows concealing a partially completed interior. In concept, it was a compact yet spacious vehicle, designed to seat three across with a generous greenhouse offering expansive views for all occupants. A four-wheel-drive powertrain would deliver all-condition versatility, while turbo badges hinted at the potential for a small but potent engine.
Though the AM Van concept never made it to production, its popularity on the Concept 80 circuit unwittingly foreshadowed the mass adoption of minivans and four-wheel drive in years to come. As such, it is truly a unique piece of automotive history.