El Diablo Went Down To Georgia: The 1981 VAM Rally AMX

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
el diablo went down to georgia the 1981 vam rally amx

Sales of the Gremlin-based AMC Spirit in the United States were pretty dismal, but perhaps that was just the result of the suits in Kenosha choosing the wrong ad agency. Let’s head south of the border to see how VAM, which built certain AMC models under license for the Mexican market, pitched the ’81 Rally AMX.

You still see a fair number of VAM-built AMCs in Mexico these days, as I discovered during a visit to Nayarit last year. Sadly, Renault ended up taking over VAM and shutting down the operation in the late 1980s, which is why you don’t see ’03 Javelins.


Yes, it’s a pair of VAM Rally AMXs terrorizing a once-peaceful Mexican village, while Satan saws at his fiddle and chickens flee in terror!

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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Mar 03, 2011

    Wow imagine if ad agencies were as bold as that Mexican ad agency was 32 years ago! Can you imagine two Honda Civics facing off on a farm somewhere? The lawyers would go ape! OTOH, a Spirit with A/C for that kind of money in inflationary 1979 prices isn't too bad. To compare, my brother bought a fairly stripped (no air for sure) Mercury Zephyr (Ford Fairmont clone) for about $4400 in 1978. To put that in perspective, my father bought a nicely equipped Mercury Montego for about $4000 in 1975.

  • Andy D Andy D on Mar 06, 2011

    I owned 3 AMC Grand Wagoneers ,actually 5 , because the CHrycos were virtually identical. By current standards the build quality is terrible. But compared to big 3 cars of the same age, AMC comes out rather ok . I miss AMC . Their muscle cars are undervalued compared to other muscle cars of the era.

  • KOKing I car-sat an A32 while its owner was out of the country, and the then whiz-bang VQ motor was great, but the rest of it wasn't any better than a XV10 or XV20. Definitely the start of its downward slide, unfortunately.
  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
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