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In the Garage: 1969 Hurst Super Stock AMX
THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS
1969 Hurst Super Stock AMX owned by Westbury Jeep Chrysler Dodge Ram
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
When American Motors (AMC) and performance tuner Hurst crafted this limited-edition factory dragster, they made racing history and began a special family history for the Sporns of Long Island. The late Charlotte and Leon Sporn, owners of Westbury Rambler at the time, were urged by AMC to buy the $5,994 coupe and race it. “My mother didn’t want to do it,” says the Sporns’ son Joel, co-owner of the current family dealership with brother Randy. “It cost twice the price of a normal car and it was a big commitment. My father felt strongly about it because it was something that would help him sell cars. The idea is that you race the car Sunday, you win, and then on Monday, everybody comes in and buys cars from you.”
Charlotte relented and AMC united the Sporns with Brian Higgins and Ernie Krieg of Lindenhurst’s S&K Speed Shop (now S-K Speed) and with driver Fred Dellis. The couple and their four kids would pile into the family station wagon to see the weekend races at Long Island’s fabled National Speedway and other venues. While Charlotte knitted, the dragster – one of only 52 built and factory-rated between 340 and 405 horsepower -- went on to win significant races and set national and world speed records. The Sporns went on to sell plenty of cars and become the East Coast’s largest AMX dealer.
HOW LONG THEY’VE OWNED IT
The dealership obtained the AMX last month, 42 years after the Sporns sold it to S&K.
WHERE THEY FOUND IT
“We never forgot the car,” says Joel Sporn, even though the family lost track of it. A business acquaintance alerted him to a magazine story on the AMX, which had gone to a private collection and later to Ohioans Rick and Paulette Riley. Sporn wooed the Rileys for five years before he was able to buy another rare AMX and trade it to them for the original car
The car had been restored by the collection of late media mogul Otis Chandler. “The mileage on the vehicle is only from racing quarter-miles,” Sporn says. “It’s never been street-driven. The parts are extremely difficult to find. I am in the process of documenting every modification and race with Brian Higgins.”
He estimates the AMX’s value between $150,000 and $200,000. “The feelings we have are much more than any dollar value,” he notes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Sporn invited Higgins, Krieg, Dellis the Rileys and others to a December holiday reunion for the AMX, which attracts daily attention in the showroom at 100 Jericho Turnpike, Jericho. “It was an extremely successful car and brought tremendous pride to our family and dealership,” he says. “It is also the rarest AMC vehicle ever produced. It’ll never, ever leave the family. It’s not the store that owns the car. It’s me, my brother, my other brother, my sister. It’s S&K and it’s Fred Dellis, who drove the car. Everybody involved has rights to own the car. It’s a part of our winning heritage.”