Wild and Crazy: 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona II Coupe

071116 Barn Finds - 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona Edition - 1

Break out the white shoes and white belts, you wild and crazy guys! This 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona II Coupe is on eBay with a current bid price of just over $4,000 but there are still two days left to get your bids in. This one is located in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. You’ve always wanted to go there anyway, why not just fly in and drive this time machine home?

071116 Barn Finds - 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona Edition - 2

If there was a car company that better defined the 1970s than AMC, I can’t think of it. From the Gremlin to the Hornet to the Pacer, and then there was the Matador Coupe. And, in 1977 and 1978 there was the Matador Barcelona II Coupe for even more posh panache and gaudy goodness. This car is probably the one that you’d want if you were starting an AMC museum, it’s in fine, fine condition, even underneath. This beauty has spent most of its life in the motherland: Wisconsin. But, even with that normally rusty death-sentence, it was never used in the winter so it’s as preserved as Kenosha craft beer taste-tester.

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Mmmm, man, that’s one unique profile! It’s even more unique than my own profile is. Well, no it’s not, but it’s close, and it’s much more handsome. Can anyone name a more unique, cooler factory non-mag wheel than the ones on this car? I can’t think of one at the moment. This car has new Coker wide-white-walls, just for an added touch; well done. The owner has had this car for a while and has it listed for sale along with a nice, green AMC Gremlin. They’re trying to make room for a couple of other cars, yet to be determined. I have trouble parting with vehicles, so they’re stronger than I am. Believe it or not, the opening shot for the Matador Coupe, the 1974 model, was named the “best styled car of 1974” by the editors of Car and Driver Magazine! There were over 62,000 Matador Coupes sold in 1974, but by the time the end came, with the 1978 model seen here, AMC could only move 2,004 of them out the door.

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A person could lose a Shetland pony in those pleated, wrinkled-fabric seats! But, like a denim Maxi-Suit, this was the style back then. The interior on this car looks as great as the exterior does. The seller says that this car is “highly optioned”, but to me that means at the very, very least having power windows, which this car doesn’t have. But, it does have AC and that sweet, padded, and I mean padded, landau roof! Although, with anything padded that thickly, sometimes it incurs a bit of damage. I’m guessing that this was due to a Lawn Dart mishap.

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This is AMC’s 360 V8 with 140 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. By the late-70s things had gotten a little anemic, power-wise, but a V8 is a V8 is a V8 and 99% of the time they’re always more desirable than anything smaller. The seller says that this engine “is smooth, quiet, and shows no signs of age when you step on the pedal. The only two things I’ve done to this engine are replace the fresh air duct that runs to the air cleaner.” This car looks like a winner to me, especially when you factor in the eye-catching design and condition that this special edition is in. Have any of you ever owned a Matador Coupe? And if so, did you secretly want a Barcelona edition or did you think they were just too over the top?

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    Whitewalls that width are inappropriate to the 70’s, (unless you have a “Gangsta” Caddy) but nevertheless, I have to admit they work on this car.

    • whippeteer

      More like pimp…

  2. DirtyHarry

    I cant recall any uglier vehicle, even though this one is dressed up. I guess it’s fun like Halloween is fun, but I don’t want to dress up all that often anymore

  3. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    I would drive this just to watch people point and laugh! How “over the top” 70’s can you get? Step out of it with some platform shoes, velour pants and a polyester paisley shirt ….and you are stylin!!

  4. Jake

    Some slogans came to mind…
    1978 AMC Matador: “For the man who says ‘boogey’ and means it.”
    1978 AMC Matador: “The automotive equivalent of THAT Uncle”
    1978 AMC Matador: “For the man who goes to cosmic bowling, every Friday.”
    1978 AMC Matador: “If your Grandma’s couch designed a car”
    1978 AMC Matador: “For the man who pays his Playboy subscription, then his power bill”

    • Chebby

      these are hilarious

  5. Jay E.

    Its weird that cars I thought were Butt ugly in the day are now becoming appealing to me. This one almost looks like a custom, yet it’s factory. I like the wide whites too. Wife would kill me, thinks it is still ugly.

  6. Kincer Dave Member

    I’ll give credit to the owners for giving this car exceptional care, with that being said, this car is not my cup of tea I’d take a pacer in this condition before this car. To each their own though. I do like it though in a weird way but wouldn’t want to own it.

  7. packrat

    Decades ago, I admired a Matador like this that was in deep blue in my area. That being said, this one is VERY ‘seventies, and would be nicely accessorized by glossy white shoes and belt and a “Herb Tarlek” suit.

  8. EZasAMC

    Pleasant surprise to see one of my cars listed on “Barn Finds” today, thanks Scotty. And Jake pretty much nailed it, I am “THAT” uncle.

  9. angliagt

    And while you’re in Chattanooga,be sure & visit the Coker Tire mesuem.
    It’s free,& well worth seeing.I was there last September,& got to meet Corky’s
    Daughter.There’s also Lookout Mountain.
    That said…….the whitewalls are just too much.

  10. Howard A Member

    I too don’t have the grapes to drive a car like this, but I always thought of this as direct competition to the Monte Carlo, GP, Thunderbird “gentleman cruiser” crowd. AMC threw everything they had into this car. Alas, it wasn’t enough, and after this car, they pulled the plug. I have talked to folks at shows that have them, and say they ride very nice, comfortable, plenty of power, and I believe them. Personally, I’d lose the whitewalls, but a very nice car here.

  11. Chebby

    Those wheels are also found on full-size Chryslers and Chevy trucks and vans.

  12. Barzini

    Is it too early to vote for favorite posting of the year? It had a funny line (Shetland pony!) in every paragraph.

    I give AMC credit for taking such bold design risks, even though none of them appeal to me.

  13. Prowler

    So that’s a Matador……..
    You have to Remember that pitch line

  14. Tom Driscoll

    UGLY! but deserves some love…AMC led the pack with cool wheels and stereo radios,
    the 360 is a good motor. I’d drive it and laugh back at all the nay sayers….wide whites need to go though…imo.

  15. Mike

    I had a “74 Matador X and man, do I wish I still had that car! What really makes the Matador ugly is the mandated bumpers – lose those bumpers and you can really do some stylin’ with this car. There was at one time a company that made a lower front airdam / body trim kit for this car that was a real knockout.

  16. CoventryCat

    Quite a car. I can’t wait to see which ones from today we’ll be laughing at in 40 years.

  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Rich Barcelonian Fabric???

  18. J.P.

    A pretty good example of why amc is gone.
    Looks like a bloated squashed pacer.

  19. GS

    AMC’s Avanti, commentors probably are fans of the1978 Ford Fairmont and 1965 Rambler Classics, in other words., they prefer perfectly square, old timer styling.

  20. Ralph Terhune

    Who in the world puts wide whites on a classic car from the ’70’s? It looks ridiculous.

  21. Frank S.

    The Matador X Coupe is a sharp looker, but I never did go for the gaudy Barcelona models. But hey, Leisure Suits were all the rage back then too, and that fits right in! The X with the 401 and handling package is about the same size as the Pontiac Trans-Am or the time — maybe a little larger, but not by much. A lot more interior room though. Performance was about on a par with the 400 Poncho also… but the Poncho could be had with a 455 for a couple more years. AMC last put the 401 in passenger cars in 74, 76 for full size Jeeps. The 360 wasn’t much below the 401 in factory 4V trim. The good thing is all the smog motors have much more potential without too much money with a new cam/intake/carb/exhaust system (not necessarily headers, just good dual exhaust).

  22. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve always found later AMC Matador coupes (1976-78) more attractive than early Matador coupes (1974-76).

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