4-Speed Project: 1979 AMC Spirit AMX

The AMC Spirit AMX remains one of the brawniest cars ever made; despite this, it also remains fairly cheap to buy in project car form. There’s always somewhat of a price penalty when the brand in question is no longer in business, but AMC seems to be finding enough favor among enthusiasts that cars like the Eagle Wagon are increasingly being picked up as restoration projects. Will the flared and spoilered Spirit AMX be the next AMC product to get the royal treatment? This barn find example has the rare four-speed manual transmission paired to a numbers-matching 304 and is listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $3,500.

Despite the credentials of the AMX moniker, the high-testosterone Spirit was produced in the performance doldrums era of the late 70s and early 80s. Normally, you’d hear the words “V8” and “stick shift” and think you had a tire-roasting spitfire on your hands, but that wasn’t the case. Top speed was right around 100 miles per hour and 0-60 reached just over 10 seconds. These were not good times for the American muscle car industry, but at least the Spirit AMX did a fine job of incorporating styling cues that almost every performance car nerd can appreciate. The interior of this example isn’t bad but it’s clearly tired and in need of some time with the local upholstery shop.

Big spoilers front and rear along with wide turbine-style wheels were styling hallmarks of the AMX, along with decals and other add-ons that were left to the buyer’s discretion. I’m actually shocked there isn’t a set of rear window louvers on here, as these cars almost always have that bit of period-correct tackiness added on. The seller doesn’t seem to know a whole lot about this claimed barn find but does note that the frame and floors appear to be solid. There is still some rust present, however, with bubbling noted on one of the driver’s side wheel arches.

The engine is intact but the seller doesn’t note whether it still spins freely; he does note the presence of several performance modifications that will help to address the shortcomings mentioned earlier. Headers, four-barrell intake, and a dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers have all been added at some point, and I’m sure it will make the humble 304 sound downright thunderous when fired up. Combine that with the manual gearbox and you’ll likely even fool a few onlookers that this Spirit AMX could intimidate a Mustang or two at the traffic signal. Do you think limited-production AMCs like this will increasingly be restored back to their former glory?


  1. Mark

    “One of the “brawniest” cars ever made”?
    I believe even Mr. Webster himself would disagree with applying his definition of “brawny” to this so called “muscle car”…..and he traveled by horse……

    Like 2
  2. CCFisher

    The interior isn’t bad? Which interior are you looking at, because the one I see needs *everything*. Cracked dash, warped glove box door, hacked stereo opening, missing door panel, missing shift knob, missing arm rest, missing window crank, torn seats, worn center armrest, filthy carpet, and something growing on the passenger seat. It’s bad. Very bad. Tetanus shot bad.

    Like 7
  3. Mark

    Not much point being numbers matching when it’s going to be tossed along with everything else.

    Like 1
    • Joe

      No numbers ever matched at AMC. There was no such thing.

      Like 6
  4. XMA0891

    Shame to see this in such a state. As mentioned the interior is a complete wreck, and all of her fender flares and front chin spoiler appear to be missing, as is at least the driver’s side Turbocast II center cap. A couple of pluses are the grille’s trim ring isn’t cracked, and the bumpers aren’t missing their end-caps. You would REALLY have to enjoy “The [parts] Hunt” to want to take her on. Hopefully someone does, but me; thanks; no.

  5. Djjerme

    Team Highball clone.

    That’s what I’d do.

    Then track it at all the vintage events.

    Like 1
  6. George Birth

    This would make for an educational car for a novice restorer.
    When he was finished he would have a fun driver.

    • Glenn Schwass Member

      Or have gone insane trying to find parts.

  7. Mike

    Needs everything redone. I’m thinking maybe a $500 car.

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