The 1967 AMC Amitron concept was the future of transportation – and still is

With the rest of the automotive industry caught up in a tail-finned frenzy of extravagant comfort, AMC anticipated the oil crisis ahead and made a quirky electric microcar: the Amitron concept. But it proved too far ahead of its time to make production…

With wheels literally at each corner, AMC’s mini-wedge afforded passengers just as much interior space as many of the doorstop-shaped concepts of the era, despite being 350mm shorter than today’s Smart car. The wide track that formed part of the Amitron’s near-square footprint allowed three occupants to sit side-by-side in adequate comfort – and the seats were filled with air so they could be deflated when vacant, increasing loading space. Powering the Amitron was a set of lithium-nickel-fluoride batteries with a range far beyond lead-acid units of the same size; another pioneering feature was the first application of regenerative braking technology. The Amitron laid down principles that looked to represent the future of urban travel, but it was just too advanced for its own good – even when given a second debut, wearing new colours, a decade later.

Photos: AMC