Update: We caught up with Randy Masters, the owner of this Rebel Machine, for a 30 minute podcast interview. Hear all the details on this specific car from Randy in this episode of the OnAllCylinders podcast:


The particular Machine you see here caught our eye at the 2021 Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals because it’s wearing a rare factory Bayshore Blue paint job instead they typical AMC Frost White—and better yet, it’s wearing the iconic Machine stripe package.

It looks awesome, because it is awesome.

Randy explains that the first 1,000 AMC Rebel Machines came in Frost White with the stripe package. After that, you could opt for a solid color car from AMC’s palette of factory colors, sans stripes. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Welcome to The Machine

The Rebel Machine was a one-year-only offering for 1970 and it represented the peak of AMC’s efforts to build a muscle car that could compete with the Chevelles, Torinos, and Road Runners that were blasting out of Detroit.

AMC Rebel Machine in Frost White
Early Rebel Machines were exclusively available in Frost White with the stripe kit, but after the initial production run, Randy explains that AMC started offering Machines in several solid colors too, sans stripes. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Dave Fuller)

It all started with the Rebel, AMC’s midsize coupe. From there, Rebel Machines got a 390 cubic inch AMC V8 poached from the AMX. That hot 390 was good for around 340 horsepower, thanks to free-flowing cylinder heads, 10:1 compression, a revised intake manifold, and performance exhaust. As it had done earlier with cars like the SC/Rambler, AMC let Hurst handle shifting duties for The Machine’s Borg-Warner Super T-10 four-speed.

Randy points out that the Machine also carries exclusive high-back bucket seats up front.

Randy’s Machine is one of those later solid color cars, wearing AMC Bayshore Blue to be exact. When he bought the car, its previous owner gave him a NOS stripe package still in the box, so Randy installed the stripes during the car’s restoration. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

One of the hallmarks of the Rebel Machine is its pair of hood scoops feeding a functional Ram Air system. Also noteworthy is The Machine’s hood-mounted tachometer, a feature that would be echoed on other AMC factory hot rods like the Hurst Jeepster Commando. (Though after speaking with Randy, he laughs and explains that the tach is pretty much for show and not really a good way to monitor engine speed.)

Randy also describes some of AMC’s good-old parts bin ingenuity. For instance, the Machine uses stiffer springs from the Rebel station wagon. The front grille? Well, it’s a leftover poached from a 1967 Rebel.

In another shrewd (yet clever) move, AMC painted The Machine’s steel wheels in a special finish to give them the look of a cast mag wheel. And though they were standard on the Machine, you could option them on an AMX too—but either way, the wheels are very rare and Randy says they’re downright unobtanium these days.

Here you can see how the underside of the Ram Air hood mates with the air cleaner on top of The Machine’s 390 cubic inch V8. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

AMC’s Group 19 V Code Service Package

In stock trim, publications at the time were recording quarter-mile ETs in the mid-14s for the Rebel Machine. Flat-out, the cars could reach north of 120 mph.

While that’s pretty good, AMC had a secret up its sleeve for Machine owners in-the-know.

Regardless of the paint scheme, all these cars got a big “THE MACHINE” trunk badge to remind you that this wasn’t an ordinary AMC. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Similar to Chevy’s COPO programs, AMC quietly offered a “Group 19 V Code Service Package” that could be installed at specific dealerships to give the Rebel Machine a lot more oomph.

Intended for dedicated drag racers, the potent Service Kit consisted of performance parts like a hot cam, Holley Carburetor, headers, and upgraded valvetrain. All told, it could push the Rebel Machine’s 390 cubic inch V8 well above 400 horsepower, and dropped The Machine’s quarter-mile ETs into the mid-12s.


The Machine Grinds to a Halt

Like its Detroit-based counterparts, AMC could sense the muscle car wars were peaking in 1970, and it halted Rebel Machine production after just one year. Most AMC enthusiasts agree that around 1,900 to 2,300 AMC Rebel Machines left the Kenosha factory.

Here you can see the Hurst-sourced floor shifter to help you row the Borg-Warner four-speed. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Along with The Machine, AMC killed off its Corvette-fighting AMX after 1970 as well (as a standalone model anyway), leaving the ponycar Javelin and the new Hornet to carry the AMC performance flag into the 1970s. The Machine name would live on elsewhere however, as a “Go Machine” option on AMC’s new-for-71 Matador midsize.

By 1975 even the Javelin was gone, and AMC was on the ropes. While the company would survive well into the 1980s, it was clear that AMC could no longer hang with the Big Three and their pocketbooks.

But at least, for a few glorious years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, AMC was not afraid to build some performance cars to prove it could compete with the best of what Detroit had to offer.

Special hat tip to Randy Masters for talking with us about his Machine. Check out the podcast and you’ll get a lot of insight into the car itself, including its four-year long restoration.

Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.