1979 AMC Spirit AMX: V8 Liftback


If you were to describe a car as aggressively-flared in a liftback-style body with V8 power and a racing pedigree, how many people would guess it was an AMC? The Spirit AMXs actually enjoyed an impressive but fleeting competition history, proving a popular choice with the IMSA crowd and as a sponsored entry in the ’79 FIA Group One 24 hour race at the Nurburgring. Listed here on craigslist in St. Louis, this ’79 AMC Spirit AMX is available for $4,000 and comes with a bit of a sad story: it belonged to the sellers’ son, but he passed away 13 years ago and it’s time to let the car go to a new home. Hopefully, the next owner fixes the rust and keeps this rare AMX on the road. Thanks to reader Robert R. for the find!


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  1. Howard A Member

    RUN FORREST, RUN!!! While the ’79 AMX was kind of a rare car, they had a pretty miserable build quality. I had a friend that had an SX-4 Eagle, similar to this, only 4 wheel drive and was an awful car. The ’79 AMX was the last AMC car to have a V-8 (304). I didn’t know that. It was also the 2nd last year for any AMX (1980 with a I6) This particular car looks pretty shot, but historically, I suppose it would be cool to restore. Probably went pretty good, being under 3,000 lbs. and a V-8. I love AMC’s, Ramblers specifically, but I’d pass on this one.

    • DJ

      These are just like any other car. Some are lemons some are not. Our mail carrier had the Eagle SX4. She drove it 20 years and never had any problems with it at all. It’s like the old saying goes, it depends on what day of the week it was built on.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi DJ, that’s true. In all fairness, my friends was one of the early ones, and had transmission problems right off the bat, which I believe, they did address in later models. ( 5 speed) It did go through the snow pretty good, when it ran, that is. It sat at the dealer for a month the 1st time for a bad bearing, and after he got it back, it worked for about 3 months, and began to growl again and sat at the dealer, and he sold it. The bigger wagons were a lot better.

    • Frank

      Bad build quality? AMC had the Buyer Protection Plan because they had one of or the best build quality of Detroit. Gerald C, Meyers was the AMC President that had actually been in charge of production for years. He knew the importants of the build quality of the car. AMC’s sub compacts were always rated higher in build than GM or Ford thru the 70’s. My family owned many AMC’s in the 70’s and we had nothing but great results.

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Frank, AMC’s were great cars. Our family had several, as well. I grew up in Milwaukee, and had several friends and neighbors that worked for AMC, however, I think people knew the end was near, and the Renault deal kind of sealed their fate. ( I heard of disgruntled workers that sabotaged those cars on purpose). I guess, my take on this car, it was kind of an insult to what the mighty AMX began as, as with most of the muscle cars of that time.

  2. jim s

    i wonder if the firebird in photo #2 is also for sale.

  3. randy

    I bet he gets his money pretty quick too! I’d take it over the T/A.

  4. Dennis M

    Missing the rear window louvers that made the Spirit AMX distinctive.

    Running when parked? Pretty much means it won’t run now without a major rebuild.

    Way too much $$$

    Like 1
    • Dominic

      Louvers were an option, not all of them came with it.

      Like 1
  5. Jasper

    And missing the fender flares too.

    Like 1
  6. piper62j

    I’m not overly excited about that $4k selling price.. when it’s finished it may be worth that, but I just don’t know much about AMC values..

    • Frank

      It’s V8 powered from the factory, that makes it very sought after in the AMC collector car world. You pay 1500 for a crappy Gremlin now a days….there’s been so much hating on AMC by auto journalists in the last few years, that people really seem to want them now. It’s supply and demand that drives this price

      Like 1
  7. kenzo

    You’ll have to be a die hard AMX fan to take this on. Buy the time your done, not including a maybe engine rebuild you’ll have 3 times into it that what it is worth, especially removing the J.C.Whitney sun roof and fitting new tin.

    Like 1
  8. Dominic

    Almost bought a 79 AMX 258 4 Speed for 800 in better shape, apart from the rotted subframe that deterred me. 258 was more scarce in 1979 IIRC.

    The main issues I see:
    -No flares
    -Non-original fender
    -Grille is messed up (super tough to find)
    -The rust on the body is scary. I’ve never seen a Spirit rust like that without major deterioration of the subframe. Buyer beware, the seller should knock off one of those zeros.

    Like 1

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