1978 AMC Matador: One Of The Last Ones

While 94,468 AMC Matador Coupes were produced between model years 1974 and 1978, the last year’s are by far the rarest, with only 1,610 non-Barcelona Editions leaving Kenosha. This one was one of the very last produced according to the seller, but they are keeping their other two Coupes and selling this one here on eBay at no reserve with bidding still under $1,000. In an unusual strategy, the seller even details what they paid for the car and what they have put into it since — it makes for interesting reading. It’s located in Augusta, Maine.

Yes, there are some wrinkles, although I don’t see much if any rust, although the seller tells us there is some from the remnants of the vinyl roof and that the hood has some as well. At least I don’t see much of it on the outside. And for the anoraks among you, yes, those are Mopar wheel covers; the seller even says they are Mopar wheels as well.

The seats were removed for storage, and if you can find an upholstery shop to match this side as well as possible, you can probably leave them alone.

The seller has obtained a pair of 1976 door panels to replace the missing ones, and while they don’t look exactly the same — who’s going to know except you? There’s also a replacement bumper to mount instead of the rusty one that is still on the car as well as some other spare parts.

Now this is rust. Yes, that’s a hole you see in the driver’s floor board. However, as I’ve noted before on this site, I don’t mind patching floors as much as outside panels because you can’t see my lackluster welding attempts (structurally sound but not beautiful) under carpet and floor mats! We can also deduce from the VIN decoder here from a web site devoted to Matador Coupes that this car was made in Kenosha and had a 360 V8 and a two-barrel carburetor when it left the factory. Ultimately, the choice is yours; do you embrace the significantly unique styling and the AMC difference, or does it send you back to the “big three” with a chuckle? I like it just fine — how about you?

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  1. dirtyharry

    As I car lover there isn’t much I don’t like or enjoy in some way. However, there are exceptions. This is like a horrid blind date, that you would do almost anything to avoid being associated with. I appreciate when a car maker takes chances, but this is truly one of the ugliest vehicles I have ever laid eyes on.

    • Carol D

      Different strokes for different folks. I own one and think it unusual, quirkly and yes, beautiful.

      • Dan D

        I agree – I actually think it is one of the best-looking big American coupes ever designed, especially without the tacked-on vinyl roof that can never seem to find the right spot to fit the bodywork…. They looked great as Nascar racers!

      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Go Carol! As I was perusing the un-read BF postings, this car was the first one I clicked on. I totally want one of these.

  2. mallthus Mallthus Member

    I love the styling of these late AMC cars, even if they perplexed me with their oddness when new.

    If I had the garage and time space for a project right now, this would be mine for sure. Of course, it’s sufficiently gone to need enough work that I’d probably resto-mod it with some careful updates, including fuel injection, suspension mods, and an upgraded custom interior.

  3. tom

    Designed by a by a blind man? Excruciatingly grotesque.

    • Fred w.

      Named the “Best styled car of 1974” by Car and Driver, according to a BF article on the Barcelona pictured here. Also listed FIRST in a CBS news article, “Worlds Ugliest Cars”
      For some reason, I don’t hate these anywhere near as much as when they were new.

  4. Dovi65

    I’ve always been an AMC fan, from the base Ramblers up to the lush Ambassadors. This model wasn’t the prettiest to come out of Kenosha;the front & rear styling could have been better planned, but it’s still a classic worthy of saving. I’ve never seen one in Navy Blue, it’s looks great! Hoping it goes to a good home.

  5. Jack M.

    Where do you store seats when you remove them for storage? Inside the house?

    • frank

      Being the seller of the car, the previous owner had the seats in Storage, I picked the car up, yes, that my house they are in. But previous to me buying the car, they were in some sort of storage facility. I hope that makes sense.

  6. XMA0891

    Also an admitted AMC fan. They did come up with some solid design home runs in their lifetime, but in my opinion, the Matador was not one of them. On the plus-side, I’d think one would be hard-pressed to pick a car’s styling that better embodied “’70’s Malaise”; and for this reason I hope somebody steps up and rescues her. I’ve never seen a Matador in Navy either. Would go nicely with a white pair of bell-bottomed polyester pants.

  7. Mike B

    As a kid I thought demolition derbies a waste of cars. I look at this and am thinking that’s a lot of overhang that could be an advantage in one.


    Beautiful car. Remove those bumpers and the lines really come out.

    • rmward194 Member

      Barn Finds previously featured one with the bumpers removed: https://barnfinds.com/to-disco-or-die-for-1975-amc-matador/

      • Noosnak Shpilkis

        Whether this is a good thing or bad thing everything about the Matador Coupe to me is horribly dated. It is a time capsule which encapsulates the era in so many ways. Unlike other AMC models which have gracefulness, classic-ness, and/or “style” that most people can easily appreciate today this, along with the Gremlin, is more of a statement of protest by a seemingly frustrated and/or self-loathing (or perhaps just never sober) automotive brand. That’s a 2019 impression and unlikely to be “period-correct.”

  9. Dave Mc

    If fish names wouldn’t have went out of style this would have been a perfect Marlin.

  10. CCFisher

    A failed attempt to zig while others zagged. Other manufacturers moved to more formal styling for their midsized coupes, and AMC went the other way. Frog eyes, awkward proportions, and odd details didn’t help matters. If you love it, more power to you. I’ll pass at any price.

    • Bill Owens BillO Staff

      I’ve often thought if AMC made the Matador coupe compete better with Monte Carlo, Ford Elite and others with a more conventional (formal) roofline, and maybe didn’t choose round taillights (which looked more 60s than 70s to me), they may have sold more of them. However, you can’t say AMC was a “me too” company.

  11. Jack M.

    I’m seeing more of a Carp or Guppy.

  12. Grumpy old man

    I always thought these cars with such a wide overhang reminded me of a turtle. Meh, don’t hate it.

  13. Midwest Jeff

    Actually, no. I worked during my college summers for a company that ran demolition derbies at county fairs. (Unofficial company motto “we don’t make a lotta money, but we sure do have a lotta fun.”) Remember one gentleman who brought a yellow Matador Coupe to a demo derby. He said he bought it new, drove it for several years, and said nothing that there was mechanically wrong with it, but he could not get any money for his Matador on a trade in. So instead, he decided to smash it. Did not last long, as I recall.

  14. Classic Steel

    Let’s add the wings to it like “man with golden gun “!
    (Okay I know it’s a movie but it was still cool) 😎🤠
    AMC are still cool cars to this day in my book!
    Matador Wings 👍👀

    • Whippeteer

      It still flew, but not far and not well. Only 500 meter range. But it sure looked cool! They used a model in the movie for the flight scenes.

  15. Bitsy

    When I try to post on this site it tells me that I am posting too often, and it blocks me from commenting. I think I’ve posted here maybe three or four times ever, and the last time was at least a week ago.

    Has anyone else encountered this issue?

    UPDATE: And of course to betray my point the site is allowing me to post this. Intermittent problems are the best! Oh, well…

    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Hey Bitsy, BF is a good site. Just try to offer any constructive criticism on BringaTrailer.com. Those jokers will cut you off in no time flat! I guess they banned me forever. Stupid BAT.

      • Bitsy

        Don’t get me wrong. I love BF. (I also like BAT a lot) I don’t think I’m being censored, I just think there’s a weird glitch. Or something.
        One time I commented on a car here, nothing controversial, and then someone replied and I wanted to reply back but the site wouldn’t let me, because it said I was posting too often. This would have been my second post in months.
        It’s probably an issue with my own dumb computer. I was just curious if anyone else experienced it.
        I do love BF.

  16. frank

    Hey, that’s my car for sale! The car was produced in June of 1978 based on the factory date stamp on the drivers door. There is no real body rust, just the rust in the driver’s floor from an apparent leak. The are some very tiny holes in the roof, nothing major, the front hood has typical rust for a Matador Hood. Only selling because I’ve got too many cars and too many projects.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Frank, thanks for chiming in! Now y’all can ask the owner any questions you have!

      • frank

        Glad you guys linked it, the Auction now has more hits than I’ve ever seen in any car I’ve sold on Ebay. I’m just hoping someone will restore her rather than part her. It’s too solid to part out and frankly too rare to part out too. The car will sell since it’s a no reserve auction. Frankly, fine with the price even if it doesn’t go any higher. Now, I’ll be selling another one of my rare cars next week, a 1960 Rambler Ambassador Country Club Hardtop, a true Hardtop, no C pillar…..if you could link that one too! lol That would be great. I believe that this is the only 1 of 1,143 that have survived. None other on the planet as far as I can tell.

      • Loco Mikado

        frank,I would take the 1960 Rambler Ambassador Country Club Hardtop over the Matador any day. I am partial to pre ’67 Ramblers. I have only seen 1 or 2 Rambler 4dr hardtops in my lifetime in the the wild(am 67 years old). They also made a 4dr hardtop station wagon for a few years. Like to see your listing when it comes up.

  17. Ken

    Well I can recall the original Berl Ives “Rudolph the red nose reindeer “ when they ended up on the island of misfits ( lol sorry). Well AMC in my humble opinion appeared to me to turn out misfits. Now, that said, This AMC should go to a good home, and if it were up to me, I’d interview the potential buyer and if he expressed any interest of a restomod, I’d show him to my front door. It should remain factory correct. There aren’t tonnes of these left

    • Alan

      Ken you are dead right on that. I am Not fan of the Matador but I as a classic cars collector I believe that any vintage car in original condition Must Not be Tampered with any way No Mods, No Hot Rods. I am v Fanatic in vintage car Originality as saying goes ‘ Its only Original once’ I try my best keep All my Classic cars Original only maintenance items Only fix or replace item that Must be done!

  18. greatdane360

    Haters are going to hate!

    • Noel

      Dick Teague didn’t design copy-cat cars. Javelin. AMX. Marlin. Hornet. Gremlin. Pacer. They looked like nothing else.

      The design for this car was finalized too early for AMC to do more than hang those awful safety bumpers on it. Every time I see one, I imagine it with flush bumpers or maybe thin blade bumpers it was designed for. Either would have been an enormous improvement on the appearance of the car.

      It was designed for NASCAR superspeedways. Without those monstrous bumpers, the design is as sleek as the 1969 Ford Torino Talladega and Dodge Charger 500. It was as slippery on the track as anything but the Charger Daytona and Super Bird, which had been banned for a couple years. In a sense, it was the last of the aero stock cars of that era. And if you compare it to other midsize American coupes of 1974, it was a rocket among bricks.

      But formal rooflines were coming in across Detroit, with their landau vinyl tops and even portholes. Fastbacks on midsize and large cars were going out. Perhaps everyone realized if cars had to have big, square, blocky, formal-looking safety bumpers, the cars should be designed to match them? That was the styling for a long time.

  19. AMXBrian

    Seller is a great guy. AMC fan too. I bought a Comanche off him as well as Javelin rear seats. The building in the picture is a former bakery where he stores his cars and lives above them.

    • frank

      Here she is, the Comanche!!!! Thanks Brian!

  20. Alan

    At this moment my 81 Concord DL coupe I bought from USA is on board the container ship with my 72 Buick Skylark coupe on route to Beirut. I was Never an AMC fan but being classic collector I liked have piece of AMC history. Its blue exterior with light blue interior, 2.5 4cylinder, Auto, PS, PB, Factory AC, Factory AM/FM radio, rear defrost. has 50K original miles. I paid 6,500 for it.

    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Hey Alan, the 72 Skylark is a winner without a doubt!

      • Alan

        Thanks Rex what about my 81 Concord. a Loser ?

  21. Gary Mineo

    Bought a 74 Matador Oleg Cassini new back in the day as my first new car. Never regretted my decision. To put into perspective, the Chevelles, Torinos, and Satellites did not look good with the newly regulated bumpers either. At least this rode very well and was dependable to a fault. The front looks great (to me) without the bumper,

  22. Pete Phillips

    Frank, Please tell me about the ’60 Amb. hardtop. It would be the perfect mate for the pink and white ’58 Amb. hardtop wagon I am restoring. pphillips922@gmail.com

    • Loco Mikado

      Now two unicorns in one thread. What are the odds?

  23. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Sold for $929.

  24. Jubjub

    Those Mopar wheelcovers actually look nicer than what most of these came with.

    Would like to see a set of 60s Camaro or Mustang style, slim blade bumpers adapted to one of these.

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