Live Auctions

360 V8 Tough Spirit: 1979 AMC Spirit

When I think of a tough AMC I usually think of an SC/Rambler or an AMX. I don’t usually think of a 1979 AMC Spirit. This one, though… whew. It even looks tough, all black with those black wheels and that mesh grille, very cool, in a tough sort of way. This one is posted on Craigslist in Lincoln, Vermont with an asking price of $4,000 or will possibly trade for a Jeep CJ5. Thanks to AMXBrian for this tip!

Dang, even the bumpers look tough! 1979 was the first year for the AMC Spirit, which was a Gremlin replacement but they came in a both the “classic” Gremlin-kammback body style that we all know and love (who’s with me?!), and also this hatchback/liftback body style. A more formal profile can be seen on the AMC Concord. Next slide..

Beep.. and this slide shows that now-classic, sloping liftback body. And, more toughness. I wish they would have included more than four photos, that’s incredibly frustrating. The owner of this car says that this is a “solid car couple small patches in floor and bondo in bottom of doors.” They’ve done a fair amount of modification to this car, including “Ford 8.8 limited slip 31 spline axles” and they go on to say that it “runs great inspected till October 2018.” Here in Minnesota we don’t have vehicles inspections for safety or emissions, which seems really weird given how many regulations there are here otherwise.

There isn’t a single interior photo, which.. yeah, how could there be. But, look at this engine compartment photo! This is an AMC 360 cubic-inch V8 which normally would have had around.. well, actually, the top engine for a 1979 AMC Spirit would have been a 304 V8 with 125 hp. There is no question that this hopped-up 360 has much more horsepower than that, but I don’t have a guess as to how much power and the seller isn’t saying. What they do say is that it has a “600 cfm Holly carb aluminum intake has comp cams “thumper” hedman long tube headers high torque mini starter.” If the body rust and the interior are both not too bad, this could be a fun, tough car to own. What are your stories about dumping a bigger engine into a small car?


  1. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    The blacked out Ford Explorer wheels look really good on this thing.

  2. Christopher Wenz

    It’s a mini Mad Max! I like it.

  3. SRyan

    Not terrible cars. Had a 304 4spd Spirit Limited in the late 80s. Not the fastest but took one Hell of a beating. Fun times.

  4. Troy s

    Looks like something a Mad Max fanatic built, that was my first impression of this post. It is always refreshing to see something unusual or different compared to the typical Camaros and Mustangs when it comes to hopped up cars.😎


    Could be cool but I bought a Concorde AMX out f Mini awhile back. It was a tank but the terminal rust was unrepairable.

  6. Coventrycat

    Love that Home Depot grille, and that this car is proof that it’s not all Subaru Outbacks and hippies in Vermont.


    As my name implies I love AMC. LOVE this car in particular. The 360 had cast crank and rods and the 390/401 had forged crank and rods plus thicker mainbearing web, therefore could handle More power.

  8. Sanity Factor

    Those are amc eagle bumpers….spirit amx woulda had plastic endcaps that always fell off…inobtainium…

    • Dom

      Those are definitely custom bumpers, you can see where the front one has the perforated steel in the center where the grille is. All Spirits had the same rubber end caps on the bumpers, which are not too terribly hard to find. The plastic caps on Eagles are harder to find, since they disintegrated over time. But the hardest things to find are the fender flares/front air dam for Spirit AMX’s, since they only used them from 1979-1980 on the Spirit, and in 1978 on the Gremlin GT.

  9. AF

    Bust out all glass and take to demolition derby..or see how far you can jump it. Walk away when it stops moving under it’s own power. Wow. I just read the asking price. Forget about it!

  10. Wayne Moyer

    It’s missing the tape and stripe kit. Which makes it look more like a standard Spirit. How odd.

  11. charlie Member

    And, when even thinking about putting a non-stock 70’s – 90’s car on the road consider your state’s emission control standards, can it possibly pass? Maybe there is a cut off, or maybe an exemption for “antiques”, but maybe not so you could never get it on the street. That and an explanation for a non numbers matching car, which just creates issues, at least here in CA if you try to register it.

  12. chad

    Luv a hatch!

  13. Ian

    AMC was hurting by the time these cars came out. Making many cars from the same parts bins made for some funky styling. I was never an AMC fan, but fell into a deal on a 68 American stripper 2dr in 72 and it turned out to be a very nice piece of basic transportation. I wished for better seats, but otherwise great here -to-there car.

  14. Mitch Ross Member

    V8 and a 5 speed. Yeah, not a bad price for that if it runs right.

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