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1977 AMC AM Van Concept

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.

© RM Sotheby’s

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.

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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.

Story by RM Sotheby’s