American Motors was always an offbeat company. Compared to the Detroit heavy hitters, AMC operated on a shoestring budget, gathering up niche U.S. brands like Rambler, Nash and Jeep. Despite being number four among the Big Three, AMC managed to crank out some of the most fascinating and forward-thinking vehicles of the latter half of the 20th century, including the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee (which basically invented the modern family SUV) and the entire Eagle lineup (which made four-wheel drive available on conventional family cars). Now, automotive journalist and producer Joe Ligo is setting out to produce an in-depth documentary about the rise and fall of AMC, and you can help make it a reality.
Ligo and his team just released a trailer for The Last Independent Automaker. In it, we see just how in-depth this documentary hopes to go: Ligo and team interviewed a ton of folks who lived the tale of American Motors, ranging from corporate big-wigs and designers to everyday assembly line workers. You’ll even catch current U.S. Senator and former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose father, George Romney, was president and chairman of AMC before becoming a Republican politician.
Check out the trailer:
AMC is one of those companies that earns a devoted, sometimes rabid fanbase. At every step of the way, the company did things differently from the rest of the Detroit establishment — sometimes out of necessity, sometimes seemingly for the hell of it. In an age where mass-market automobiles seem to be headed toward an evolutionary convergence point where everything largely looks, feels and sounds just about the same, it’s instructive to remember a time when a domestic automaker chose to be steadfastly, valiantly different.
Ligo and his team hope to release the full six-part documentary in 2024. This is where you can jump in: The Last Independent Automaker is seeking $10,000 via crowdfunding site GoFundMe. As of this writing, they’re nearly halfway to their goal.
It’s been 35 years since AMC was absorbed by Chrysler, a move that helped the larger automaker survive its closest scrape with death and made Jeep into the modern juggernaut it is today. This documentary will help tell the story of the scrappy, striving car company that helped shape the modern automotive landscape. We can’t wait to see it.