MotorCities National Heritage Area
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2024

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue our observance of Black History Month with a look at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn's Achievement exhibit, which opened one year ago.

by MotorCities Staff
Image Courtesy of MotorCities National Heritage Area
Published 2.28.2024

 

AHF Achievement exhibit

In February 2023, the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn opened their Achievement exhibit, featuring African American Success Stories in Automotive from 1873 – 2022. The exhibit has been celebrated as one of the first of its kind to recognize the significant, but often untold, stories of the contributions of African Americans across all sectors of the auto industry. The exhibit featured automotive designers like Ed Welburn of General Motors and Ralph Gilles of Stellantis; trailblazing contributors like Victor & Alma Green, publishers of the famed Green Book; and even an original World War II Rosie the Riveter, Ms. Clara Doutly of Detroit.

The project was recognized with MotorCities’ Award of Excellence in the Education/Interpretation category at our 25th Anniversary Gala last November at Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Auto Hall of Fame team RESIZEDThe Automotive Hall of Fame team, from left to right: Siddharth Parashar, Marketing Manager; Sarah Cook, President; Melissa Terry, Public Programs Project Manager; Ryan Rembert, Exhibits & Educational Programs Curator; Kathleen Donald, Vice- President, Operations & New Programs; Morgan Pigott, Development Associate; Margarite Fourcroy, Director, Alumni Relations & Development; Tazma Brents, Alumni Relations Manager.

Recently, MotorCities Deputy Director Brian Yopp sat down for a discussion with the Auto Hall of Fame team behind the Achievement exhibit, including the following:

  • Sarah Cook, President;
  • Kathleen Donald, Vice- President, Operations & New Programs;
  • Robert Tate, Automotive Historian & Researcher;
  • Ryan Rembert, Exhibits & Educational Programs Curator;
  • And Melissa Terry, Public Programs Project Manager

They shared stories about the inspiration, creation, and future of this award-winning exhibit.

To learn more about the project and watch the entire video, click here

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and the Detroit Free Press
Published 2.21.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the GM Media Archives
Published 2.14.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives, Robert Tate Collection, ClassicCars.com
Published 2.7.2024

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images from the Ferens Collection
Published 1.31.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Hot Rod Archives, Motor Trend Archives, Wallpaper.com and Chrysler Archives
Published 1.24.2024

1970 AMC Rebel Machine ad Chrysler Archives 3A 1970 AMC Rebel Machine ad (Chrysler Archives)

The 1970 Rebel Machine from the American Motors Corporation (AMC) was a muscle car that many automotive fans really admired. These models had an impressive design along with a great high performance engine package.

At the dawn of the 1970s, AMC was facing difficult times, including ongoing UAW labor disputes, quality control issues, and major shake ups in its top management. However, its advertising agency, Wells Rich Greene, recognized a new buyers’ market -- young adults who were interested in high-performance intermediate fast cars like the earlier successful Hurst SC/Rambler.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine introduced at the NHRA World Championship October 1969 Motor Trend 1The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine introduced at the NHRA World Championship, October 1969 (Motor Trend)

The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine was introduced at the NHRA World Championship drag racing event in October 1969. The first 100 models were delivered from AMC’s Kenosha, Wisconsin plant with a 390 cubic inch/340 hp engine and a very popular Hurst shifter.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine pamphlet Chrysler Archives RESIZED 2The cover of a 1970 AMC Rebel Machine pamphlet (Chrysler Archives)

Some automotive historians have reported that the Rebel Machine was a joint venture between AMC and the Hurst Company. The project came together led by Hurst Performance Research Vice President David L. Landrith and AMC Vice President of Marketing R.W. “Bill” McNeeley.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine promotional photo Chrysler Archives 4A 1970 AMC Rebel Machine promotional photo (Chrysler Archives)

The Rebel Machine emblems were located on the front fender side along with a rear trim panel’s right hand side emblem as well. Some Rebel Machine models offered a red, white and blue paint scheme enjoyed by many auto enthusiasts. Many solid colors were also offered.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine Motor Trend 5The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine (Motor Trend)

The Rebel Machine cartoon logo on the side of the vehicle proved to be very popular. The logo was illustrated by the artist Johnny Hart, creator of the “BC” comic strip. The cartoon sticker could be ordered through AMC for 25 cents and subsequently became collectors’ items (if you can find one). The early Rebel Machines with their great graphics, were designed by Hurst’s Gene Baker, who had previously designed the popular Hurst SC/Rambler models.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine Wallpaper.com RESIZED 6Another view of the 1970 AMC Rebel Machine (Wallpaper.com)

For the 1970 model year, the rear end received new styling. AMC wanted to make a styling splash for 1970 with the young adult market, so advertising campaigns were run in popular automotive magazines like Car Craft, Hot Rod, and Motor Trend in December 1969. The advertisement said, “Introducing the Rebel Machine.”  

At the time of its introduction, the Rebel Machine came with a price tag of $3,475. Despite a limited production schedule of only 2,362 units, the Rebel Machine proved to be very popular in 1970.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine side door logo Wallpaper.com 7The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine side door logo (Wallpaper.com)

Today, the 1970 Rebel Machine models are in great demand by collectors. A restorable model would cost a collector more than $10,000 as is. The 1970 Rebel Machines came equipped with an automatic or a manual transmission for the consumer package when purchasing.

1970 AMC Rebel Machine Hot Rod Archives RESIZED 8The 1970 AMC Rebel Machine at a race track (Hot Rod Archives)

In conclusion, the early 1970s were a time when AMC overcame a tight budget to introduce an imaginative, great-looking, high-performance muscle car called the Rebel Machine. Today, the Rebel Machine is still very popular among automotive enthusiasts and will always be included as a part of muscle car history.

Bibliography

Kowalke, Ron. “Standard Guide to American Muscle Cars 1960-1995.” Krause Publications, 1996.

McClurg, Bob. “Red, White & Fast 1970 AMC Rebel Machine: Giving AMC’s performance intermediate a second look.” Motor Trend, July 31, 2015.

Frumkin, MJ. “Classic Muscle Car Advertising: The Art of Selling Horsepower.” Krause Publications, 2002.

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Paula Murphy Archives
Published 1.17.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Malcolm Bricklin Archives. A special thanks to Historian Ron Konopka for this story.
Published 1.10.2024

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and the Ferens Collection
Published 1.3.2024