Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1969 AMC AMX, ’98-’05 Mercedes M-Class – Chasing Trends

Here’s a pair recently posted at the Cohort by J.C. A rather unlikely duo, which share a few traits. First, both vehicles reflect their parent companies’ answer to shifting markets. And second, both have rather star-crossed fates.

The 2-seater AMX was part of AMC’s efforts to shake off its old-man Rambler image, which along the Javelin pony car, was to cater to the burgeoning muscle car market of the ’60s. The Javelin did an OK business in revitalizing the automaker’s image and sold rather decently; with AMC earning a few nickles out of the effort. The AMX did enough of a PR stunt for the carmaker though its sales were lackluster. No matter, the whole muscle car business was rather short-lived before the Brougham epoch took over.

With the M-Class, Mercedes correctly saw the shifting trends of the luxury market, as it was moving towards ‘an active lifestyle’ image. It was considered a bold move for conservative Mercedes to make, and the press was rather excited when the AAVision concept was revealed in 1995 (above). By the time the production model was released in 1998, the M-Class was highly anticipated and was eagerly received by upscale customers. As told before at CC, its star-crossed fate comes from tarnishing Mercedes’ vaulted reputation for top-notch quality and engineering; signs that MB was becoming a different kind of company.

Just the paint damage on this 1st gen M-Class is a sign that MB’s quality had suffered. No old Mercedes paint would decay as such, even decades after. My old German mechanic would have been in conniptions if he ever saw the day (trust me). But well, the M-Class is here to stay, rechristened as the GLE. AMC is no longer, but its Jeep division is. Seeing them together just goes to show that as markets shift, one never knows what turns carmakers will take. Also the muscle car period was a flash in the pan, but the ‘active lifestyle’ seems to be a perpetual condition.


Further reading:

Automotive History: Mercedes W163 – Conceived In Germany, Born In America

CC Home Delivery: 1969 AMC AMX – The Two Seat Pony Car Pays A Visit