Live Auctions

One-Owner 1974 AMC Matador X Barn Find!

A face only a mother could love? Well, I wouldn’t go that far but it is distinctive and you know what it is the second that you see it peeking through the barn door. It’s a Matador! Specifically, a 1974 Matador X, located in Tremont, Illinois and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $1,000. Thanks to Mark W. for this tip!

In 1974, American Motors Corporation (AMC) redesigned their Matador midsized coupe so that it bore no resemblance to the four-door sedan version. Some found the appearance to be polarizing while others thought it outstanding. Some though were confused which started the entire, “It’s a Matador!” tagline. You can check out a TV ad from 1974 here. This headlight/eyeball centric model stayed in production through 1978. Weird or not, AMC sold 62K+ Madator coupes in ’74 so they got something right.

The seller has provided a few basic details with the listing but the images aren’t too hot so this review will be somewhat interpretive. This Matador is an “X” version which was the sporty Matador. The seller indicates that it has been sitting for 25 years when his father, its only owner, parked it because of low compression in one cylinder. The car has some rust but it is believed that the frame is still solid. Some of the rust does look minor but some of it as pictured above is a bit more than that. Being in the “stored” condition that it is, makes a thorough exterior description difficult at best.

This is a non-running Matador but it does possess the optional 360 CI, V8 engine as opposed to the X variant’s standard 304 CI V8 motor. The horsepower rating is either 175 or 195 net HP depending on the carburetor employed but the seller doesn’t elaborate beyond the displacement. The mileage is listed at a curious 111,111 so that may just be a plug value. There is a three-speed automatic transmission in place, actuated via a console, floor shift.

As for the interior, there is an obscured image and it does reveal white (very off-white) bucket seats covered in what AMC referred to as “Tru-Knit” vinyl. Beyond the sole image, there is no description of the interior, its condition, instruments, etc. Of concern? The floors, no telling what may be found underfoot after a quarter-century slumber in a barn.

I had no use for this car in 1974, I thought it awkwardly preposterous and typical for AMC. The reality is that provocative styling was AMC’s stock in trade. It had to be, they had to find a way to get noticed in an auto avalanche directed by the much bigger and better-heeled Detroit Three. You’re not likely to forget the Gremlin, Pacer and Matador coupe (though maybe some would like to). Today, this Matador is a standout in that it is unusual and so seldomly seen. And I know the quirky styling has grown on me. I wouldn’t want to drive it daily but it’s a heck of a conversation piece. It’s hard to say if this Matador will ever be road-worthy again, it would take careful analysis from someone well versed in AMC products to make an assessment. That said, even if a resurrection is not possible, for $1,000 it would make a good parts car to save another, don’t you think?

Comments

  1. Mike H. Mike H.

    I’d always understood that the desire to produce this body style was rooted more in racing. The previous body Matador/Rebel 2-door had been referred to as “The Flying Brick” and it was thought that they would have greater success in racing with something a bit more aerodynamic.

    Like 11
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Bobby Allison’s 1974 AMC Matador Coupe.

      Like 20
      • PatrickM

        Looks more like a Camaro.

      • Andy B

        Patrick, I used to tell people it looked like a pregnant camaro!

        Like 1
  2. Steve R

    They are now asking $1,250.

    It was parked on dirt 25 years ago due to a dying engine. It as significant rust and is realistically a parts car at this point. Not every car is worth restoring, with the coming recession there will be plenty of bargains for those with patience and persistence. Restoring this car makes no economic sense.

    Steve R

    Like 9
    • Jim ODonnell

      They raised the price $250? How bourgeois! The seller is now claiming it to be a ’75 model, not a ’74. I’d be careful around this one.

      Like 7
      • Steve R

        I don’t care that he raised the price.

        I’d be more concerned about getting the year wrong.

        Any time someone says they are selling a car for a friend or family member it should raise a giant red flag. This is a common tactic among flippers to skip paying back registration or transfer fees, it also conveniently gets them off the hook for any other potential issues since their name doesn’t appear in any paperwork.

        Steve R

        Like 9
      • AMCFAN

        I am sure there is nothing to worry about. Any novice individual not knowing the details could get the year wrong. There are certainly many novices on this site.

        For instance if the son listing the car opens the door and the month/date of manufacture decal says Oct 1974 build normally would mean it was a 1975. However in 1974 AMC production ended in November. All one would have to do is look at the first two digits of the vin. A4 =74 A5 =75 Clouded mystery solved.

        Both the 74/75 look the same. I call it an honest mistake. As far as value I call it fair since most ask $1000. for a set of 15’X7″ Volcano wheels this Mat wears. They are a very primo option for the Javelin.

        There are too few Matador X cars around to discount this as a parts car by the pics without seeing it in person. Many cars CAN be saved with out the perceived notion that it can’t. A person with skills and determination an internet account and a welder can do a lot more then someone sitting posting comments.

        Motor ills for these bad boys many times are attributed to the bridged rocker arm assembly, Again easy enough to fix but you have to go outside to do it.

        Like 9
      • Miguel

        AMCFAN, getting the year wrong is a red flag for me too just because if he is selling the car I assume he has the documents to go with it and the correct year is there.

        In this case there might not be any documents to go with the car. RED FLAG FOR SURE.

        Like 2
  3. Benjy58

    My dad used to sell them at a local dealership. His quote was “They put food on our table.”

    Like 9
    • AMCFAN

      Miguel assuming the seller’s son listed the year wrong in the ad. How do YOU or anyone else know that the seller advertised it wrong to begin with? Was it with ill intent?

      Do you know Miguel the differences between the 74-75 Matador X by looking at a picture of them? Given this what do you constitute is a red flag here? What makes you sure something is wrong?

      Because someone on here said it was wrong you agree with everyone. Jumping to conclusions? Looking at an ad is not rocket science. If in doubt ask the seller to speak to them in person or go see it. If it is a high end car pay to have an inspection done.

      Recently I asked my son to post up my old Jeep CJ. I wasn’t exactly sure the year. I have had numerous over the years. I didn’t feel like digging out the title to clarify. When and if someone actually came to see it and agree to purchase only then I will make a point to open the safe. My son guessed wrong like clockwork. All Jeep CJ’s from the 60’s to the 1980’s look the same. The Jeep sold. No issues everyone was happy.

      It is a no brainer. When it is something blatant advertising a 1957 Chevrolet 150 as a 1955. I would see a concern. What is the concern here? Never assume. Many times family or whoever is thrown to the wolves and are in charge of listing items for sale that they have no interest in. Not taking up for someone being lazy.

      Like 4
  4. jerry z

    It’s an asking price, I’m sure you can negotiate. Too bad the body is shot, just glad we’re forced to stay home or this rust bucket would be on my trailer.

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      Ad says, “$1,250.00 obo.” Or Best Offer. How about hazardous duty pay?

  5. Howard A Member

    Officer Pete Malloy (the late Martin Milner) drove one as his personal car in the last season of Adam-12, only his had a 401, as called out by Jim Reed. Sharp observers will note, an “X” was used for the driveway scene, but a “regular” one for when it was on the street. Also, a red one was filmed, not sure where, but AMC relied heavily on that show, and provided all the cruisers. I bet the show was responsible for many of the sales, it was pretty odd. But then, what would you expect from a company that brought us the Marlin, the Gremlin, the Pacer, and so on,,I remember quite a few in the midwest.
    https://www.imcdb.org/v001073411.html

    Like 11
  6. Mike

    Had to be one of the ugliest cars ever built…. a 1000 dollars.. LOL… I wouldnt have paid that new for one of these…what a night mare car… only AMC would design something this ugly

    Like 2
  7. Moparman Member

    There was an ebay listing a few months ago for a 1974 Matador X, with a six cylinder and and less than 50 miles (IIRC) in showroom new condition. I submitted the ad to BF, but it never surfaced and I can’t retrieve it now.

    Like 1
  8. Andy B

    I had a 75, in forest green. Mine had the 304, and needed lots of work. Fortunately I had a neighbor that was a car guy, and was willing to teach me as long as I was willing to get dirty and do the actual work. 40 years later, and I’m still fixing all my cars!

    Like 1
  9. AMCSTEVE

    FRAME RUST? These had no frames they are unit body. But looking at that fender I’m afraid it’s a nightmare underneath.parts are extremely hard to come by so it may just be a parts car.

    Like 1
  10. Pete Phillips

    I always liked these, in fact I bought one new in Jan. 1975. It was a leftover ’74 model from an AMC dealership that had gone out of business in the recession of those years, and it was sitting at another AMC dealership that was doing absolutely nothing in the way of car sales in that bleak winter of the recession. Got it for just a little over $2,500. It had the fancy Brougham interior package, the six-cylinder engine, automatic, and gave me good, reliable transportation for several years. It was the last new car I ever bought. Sold it after I found a mint condition 1961 Olds 88 with the 394 V8 that got the same gas mileage on the highway as that 6-cylinder Matador got! After that, it was old cars for daily drivers for me. Today the newest car I own is a 1987 Mercedes diesel. Everything else is older.

    Like 1
  11. ramblergarage

    Car magazines at the time said these were great looking cars. A few years later they were calling them ugly. I think the Matador sedan was much better looking.

    • OIL SLICK

      I think they are great looking cars especially with the bumpers off.

      • That AMC Guy

        I actually preferred the previous 2-door “flying brick” design. The 4-door Matador sedans had an unfortunate lumpy look as though the front and back were designed by different committees. (Wagons stuck with the original 1967 body which had a more balanced look.)

        These Matador coupes are certainly distinctive, but as much as I like AMC cars it’s hard to imagine the average car buyer back then going for one of these over a Monte Carlo or Cutlass. Sales plummeted after the initial wave of buyers who wanted something off the beaten path.

        Like 1
  12. George Louis

    You know all you have to do is look at the Vehicle Title or last License registration to get the year correct. Maybe the guy does not know how to correctly type or submit information on forms? That is why one PROOF READS their submissions before hitting ENTER BUTTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like 2
  13. James Schwartz

    AMCFAN,
    What leads you to believe that this Matador has 15″x7″ slotted volcano wheels? I’ve had two Matador X’s in my time, they both had 14″ wheels. Both the standard volcano slotted wheels and the optional X spoke style wheels were 14’s, and I don’t recall the 15″ wheels even being an option.
    Hard to judge size by the crappy photo, but these appear to be 14″ wheels as well. I could be wrong, but my money would be on them being 14 inchers.

    Like 2
    • AMC

      Thats funny James. My 74 Matador X had the 15″ X 7″ wheels. They were listed on the window sticker. Have seen other Matadors with them as well. It has been a long time.

      I mean they were still making the Javelin in 1974. Not hard to conceive you could have them on anything if you wanted. AMC was like that.

      1971-72 Javelin’s and Matadors had Machine wheels. As everyone knows those were specific to the Rebel Machine but were also an option on the Javelin and AMX.

      I am also old enough to witness owners swap the 15″ to the 14″. since at time 14″ was still the dominant tire size meaning they were cheaper to replace. The local AMC dealer had several sets of 15″ Volcano’s in their inventory they were asked to replace. (that was in 1984)

      I agree with the crappy pics tho. Contact the guy and ask.

      • James Schwartz

        I found the pic of my ’75 Matador X with the volcano wheels, it was the original wheels in 14″.
        I also checked both the ’74 and ’75 AMC brochures, and they both have zero mention of 15″ wheel option.
        Obviously that doesn’t mean you couldn’t special order them, but I’d bet good money that this one has the standard 14 inch wheels. Same wheels that were on my ’75 and which I had the window sticker for (and still have a photo of the window sticker)…..Barn Finds doesn’t let me post photos though…I’m not a paid member.

  14. Mike

    GEE.. the way it looks in here… AMC must have sold at least Five of these ugly cars… I always said… there is an azz for every seat.. you just got to find it… then…. theres the Pacer…. oh … what a gem that was… remember that dandy??
    Its no wonder… they went broke..

    Like 2
  15. George Louis

    In response to Mike: Mike said “Its no wonder they went broke” Referencing AMC they did not go broke, Lee A Iacocca Chairman of Chrysler Corporation bought AMC March 10,1987 for 1.5 Billion Dollars. The deal was finalized in June 1987.

  16. James Schwartz

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/QfquNGl.jpg[/img]


    [img]https://i.imgur.com/6yI2ssB.jpg[/img]

    • James Schwartz

      I tried to embed photos. Sorry, they won’t let me.
      It was a photo of my 75 X coupe…with 14″ slotted volcano wheels.
      And a photo of the window sticker. I have the photos, but can’t post them.

  17. Major Thom

    Can’t tell if that roof “acne” in the second photo is just dirt…or rust bubbles.
    Maybe there’s a reason they didn’t make any attempt to clean it before photographing…

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