amc v8

Mark R. Weisseg

Another really good book from has recently been released. This time author Tony Pontillo takes a deep dive into the AMC V-8 engines.

At the age of eighteen, Tony began his working career at Don’s Auto Parts and Machine Shop. Don’s has been serving the AMC market since 1961. The shop is located in Kenosha Wisconsin which of course was the home of the AMC Corporation. In 2001, Tony purchased Don’s Auto Parts and Machine Shop and they continue to serve this thriving market.

This book could not come at a better time. The aftermarket has been booming the last several years with the renewed interest in past muscle cars. The AMC muscle cars just do not receive the attention that is shown to Detroit’s big three. When AMC was beginning to struggle financially it made the bold move to enter the performance market. Today, many of these AMC cars such as the Hornet, AMX, Javelin, Rebel, and more are hot commodities.

The performance engines this book delves into are the 290, 304, 343, 360, 390, and the 401. On a side note, please remember some Jeep CJ’s and full-size Jeeps of that era also used their engines. So, what makes this book so unique? Author Tony Pontillo wrote a very detailed step-by-step guide. The book is 144 pages with over 400 color photographs and charts. In general terms, the book is aimed at beginners or possibly rebuilders with limited experience. This is not to say that a person with more experience will not benefit from the book because they will.

The importance of any good “how-to “ book is to start the reader off with a good solid foundation. If not, you will get lost in the weeds and the entire project can become confusing. This book starts with “ Design your Project”. This seems simple enough but it’s an important first step. Do you want to rebuild your engine to stock? Or, do you want to build your engine to really be a powerful performance engine? Either way, this book will cover your needs from start to finish.

From the proper tear-down procedures to a detailed examination of your parts the next few chapters are very written. Too many rebuilders just tear the engine down and rebuild with parts sourced from various jobbers without much consideration. Some of us know of an engine rebuild that went wrong because the builder just did not take the time to do it right.

The following chapters are so critical. Internals such as the crankshaft, camshaft, pistons, lifters, valves, cylinder heads, carburetor’s intakes, and more. There is so much detail, and yes it really is a step-by-step process manual.

One of the issues a rebuilder faces is the sheer amount of parts that are involved in a rebuild. No worries here. Not only is this book a perfect tool in its own right, but Don’s Auto Parts and Machine shop can be called on for additional help. That’s rare in today’s world, but not with Don’s. It’s very refreshing to know you can have a well-written manual that is easy to understand. Let’s face it. Your ultimate goal is to rebuild your AMC V-8 engine, turn that key, and know you did it right the first time. That old adage about doing it right the first time could not be more true.

This Cartechbook can be purchased today by either calling 1-800-551-4754 or
The book is only $34.95 plus $6.95 for shipping and handling. Father’s Day is fast approaching and this is a much better deal than another tie for dear old Dad.


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