Stored Sedan: 1981 AMC Spirit Sedan

051116 Barn Finds - 1981 AMC Spirit - 2

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Another 1980s AMC?! I know, but I couldn’t resist this one. This is a 1981 AMC Spirit Sedan and it only has 15,900 miles on it! It’s listed on eBay with pretty heavy bidding and a current price of just over $4,000. Before anyone throws down a message about this “Not being a sedan, you goofball!!”.. it actually is a “sedan”, at least according to AMC’s naming convention for these cars. Plus, this one is following the recent trend of showing cars for sale that are sitting on a trailer.

051116 Barn Finds - 1981 AMC Spirit - 1

This Gremlin-like body style was referred to as a Sedan by AMC, whereas the sloping-back version was called a “Liftback“. Don’t get me started on the other recent trend of weird body style naming conventions, such as four-door coupe, etc. But, back to this outstanding Spirit sedan! This car is located in Binghamton, New York; not exactly the desert southwest, so there is some surface rust in a few areas. But this car is in such great condition, or as the seller says, it’s “not perfect, but almost!” AMC made the Spirit between 1979 and 1983.

051116 Barn Finds - 1981 AMC Spirit - 3

Mmm mmm, good. Just as you would expect, the interior is almost showroom-perfect. I say almost just in case anyone sees something that I’ve missed, other than some dirt on a foot pedal or something. I’m wondering if this car was stored in a damp environment because the owner says that it has a “new muffler and exhaust pipe, new tires, new tune up.” With less than 16,000 miles I’m wondering why it needed a new exhaust system. And, what else may be lurking under this perfect-looking shiny skin? (insert dramatic music here)

051116 Barn Finds - 1981 AMC Spirit - 4

Here’s the surface rust that I was thinking of. I’m sure that with a weekend of detailing this engine would look like new again. The seller says that it drives excellent and it sure looks excellent, other than a few surface rust areas. This 4.2L six-cylinder most likely purrs like a kitten. Even funky, unusual cars like this one are interesting to me if they’re as original as this one is and in this fine condition. What do you think about these 1980s AMCs? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Mike

    Seller ended the auction early with no bids.

    Like 0
  2. DrinkinGasoline

    You should have…..resisted this one….

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  3. DrinkinGasoline

    These rank right up there with Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances ! I’d rather have a porcelain white Frigidaire !

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  4. Mr. TKD

    The other naming convention I can’t stand is referring to cars that are clearly station wagons as “five-sour hatchbacks.”

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      Agreed….when did it become “in-appropriate” to call Station Wagons…Station Wagons ? Four Door Hatch? Five Door Hatch? SUV’s, XUV’s
      Pfft…..It is a marketing campaign, solely manufacturer driven, designed to mask…..And what the #3LL is a RAV4?

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      • Tim

        It’s a crossover, loosely speaking. RAV4 is Recreational Activity Vehicle, 4 wheel drive. Actually, “all wheel drive”.
        Yeah, it’s marketing. We all know that.

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    • Keith

      Especially if they are “pre-owned”!

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  5. DRV

    It would be hard to work on in the sense that there would be no passion involved. If you could drive it is as DD without ant major troubles it would be great!

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  6. Brian

    My parents bought a ’74 Gremlin new with the 6-cyl. It was a Gremlin X, bad-ass! At least to a 12 year old. It had a dual-fluid cooling system. When it was low on coolant OR oil, you could add either, since they both ended up together. I thought that my Dad was going to end up incarcerated in his attempts to get AMC to replace the cracked block. It took a lot to encourage their cooperation.

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  7. Blindmarc

    The 1979 vega, with a redone front end was called a monza, but wasn’t.

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  8. grenade

    This car is another one of the things I like and can’t figure out why!

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    • Larry B

      These are awesome little machines & continuation with this roof of the Gremlin which in Mexico they continued to be called. Have a ’79 3.8 auto. upgraded to 4.2 & a ’80 2.5 4 speed manual as well as a ’75 5.0/304 3 speed manual ‘actual Gremlin’. So four, six & eight cyl.s with three trans. types, a fun trio!🎉

      Like 0

    This model is a Kammback.

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    • Scotty GAuthor

      Actually, believe it or not, it really is called a “Sedan”. The Kammback name appeared in 1981 for the Eagle line and it was AWD, whereas AMC Spirits of this body style were known as the Sedan in FWD only. I would prefer an AWD Eagle Kammback a million times over a Sedan, I think those are a homerun in quirkiness.

      Like 1
    • Fred

      You are 100% AMC right. Kammback

      Like 0
  10. Tim

    After Wunibald Kamm of Germany. Americans called the abbreviated, aerodynamic rear the Kammback. In Europe, it was the Kamm tail.

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  11. HoA Howard AMember

    I think when this car was introduced, AMC was already beginning to backfire, and they wanted to recapture some of the old Gremlin fans, but this was no Gremlin. I mean, look at that engine compartment. I think I see half a valve cover. And speaking of that, it sure doesn’t look like 16,000 miles. Clearly not 116, but how do brackets and wiper motor, air cleaner, etc. get rusty like that? Probably not a bad car, but imports were offering a much better deal, and this car was horribly out of date.. And we all know what came next for AMC after this, the Renault years. Cool find, though.

    Like 0
  12. mike

    Anybody ever see a gremlin with a/c that the settings were cold ,colder and desert only ???

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  13. Tim Rusling

    I remember the old R-12 A/C in AMC cars was brutally cold.

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  14. blumontag

    Scott G…I saw this Eagle Kammback in a junkyard in Western Minnesota last week when I was hunting for some Gremlin parts.

    Like 1
    • Scotty GAuthor

      Dang would I love to walk around in that junkyard, Blumontag!

      Like 0
  15. Scotty GAuthor

    Auction update, eBay says that “This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available”

    Like 0

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