43k Miles And Rust Free: 1981 AMC Concord DL

As a lover of all vehicles big or small, fast or slow, expensive or cheap, American or not, beautiful or.. not quite as beautiful, popular or oddball, I give you this 1981 AMC Concord DL, a rust-free Florida car with just 43,000 miles on it. This fancy Hornet can be found here on eBay in Rotonda West, Florida. There is an unmet $3,000 opening bid and no reserve after that.

The Concord was an updated AMC Hornet with a bit more sound insulation and was slightly upscale, at least compared to the Hornet which was a successor to the modest Rambler American. They made them until 1983 at which point the new Renault Alliance started stealing a bit of the Concord’s thunder and its sales. It’s hard to believe that now when the Hornet and Concord are both cars that could withstand a nuclear war whereas the Alliance didn’t seem to last more than a few years if even that, at least from what the comments typically are when we highlight one here at Barn Finds.

As a rear-wheel-drive car, the Concord is enticingly retro-cool today if not somewhat gaudy compared to the clean-lined Hornet. I am one of the last people on earth who would say anything against a four-door car but as far as the Hornet or Concord goes, that’s the body style that I personally like the best. This car looks as clean and nice as any that we’ve seen recently but I’m wondering about the vinyl top, has that center section been replaced or was it normally a slightly different color and pattern vinyl? Maybe it’s a trick of the camera and the Florida sun.

The interior looks great in this car other than having some normal wear and maybe a little sun damage, especially on the dash top. The back seat looks great, although I wonder what caused that unusual stain line on the rear carpet? The door panels look nice, AMC sure threw everything they had at those door panels! There are so many colors and fabrics and carpet and plastic and plastic wood and layers and strata, etc. You almost need a pith helmet like you’re on an archaeological dig just to look at those door panels. They’re busy but nice. There are no engine photos but it should be AMC’s 258 cubic-inch inline-six which would have had 110 hp. It runs and drives perfectly and all is well other than the AC needs to be charged. Are there any AMC Concord fans out there?

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  1. Shawn Fox Firth

    My Mother bought one new and it burned to the ground N/B hwy 27 at Belfield rd it was only a coupla month’s old .

  2. That AMC Guy

    These are real nice cars. However “AC needs to be charged” means there is a leak that needs to be taken care of. Could be minor, could be a major headache.

    Note the headlights are at a bit of an angle. Headlight buckets are plastic and very prone to breaking. Doors use nylon pin bushings from the factory. Needless to say, sagging doors are common.

    There don’t seem to be any underhood photos and just a couple of limited ones of the chassis. These cars were Ziebart rustproofed at the factory and in Florida rust should not be a problem. However a complex emission system was employed and in a lot of these cars that system gets butchered over the years which can cause problems in states requiring emission testing. I’m pretty sure the infamous 258 plastic valve cover was used in ’81. These always warp and leak. The cure is an aftermarket aluminum cover for Jeeps of the same era, though this requires tapping some blank holes in the head for fasteners.

    Looks great overall!

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      You, sir, are an absolute wealth of AMC knowledge. No wonder you’re known as That AMC Guy – thanks for that great info!

      • That AMC Guy

        Thanks for the kind words, but it’s just from owning and working on a variety of AMC cars since they were current, everyday vehicles. (I even owned stock in the company.) However decades-old memory sometimes plays tricks and I certainly know of people who have much more extensive knowledge than I do!

    • Johnmloghry

      I owned a couple AMC cars back a few decades ago. Both had the 258 engine which was a very good engine that scooted those cars along quite nicely. Ofcourse mine were a bit older than this one, the first a 74 Gremlin X with three speed standard on the floor. The other a 77 Hornet wagon with automatic and nice A/C. I have no doubt this car will make someone a happy owner.
      God bless America

  3. Howard A Member

    We don’t need That AMC Guy to tell us what a nice car this was, but it’s good to hear.( there is credibility in his moniker) These were some of the last great AMC cars to come out of Milwaukee, still had Hornet roots, with a modern style, before the Alliance/ Eagle fiasco when production shifted to Kenosha. My ex father in law drove one as a state car, put a jillion miles on it. When they quit making these, all us Wisconsinites knew, workers included, the end couldn’t be far off,,,and it wasn’t. The Milwaukee plant closed in 1985 and the Kenosha plant a year later as AMC. Chrysler used the plant to assemble M body cars and the 4.0 six for several years after. Collectible? Maybe, but for now, you want a decent comfy car that gets reasonable gas mileage, you simply can’t go wrong here.

  4. ramblergarage

    I love the old Concords, my day had a new silver anniversary edition. I like the first two years the best, the 78 with the less fussy grille most of all.

  5. Jett

    I can proudly say I’ve had AMC’s in the family continually since I was five or six years old. Mom was first with a burgundy Pacer woody wagon, and Dad later bought a new silver ‘77 Hornet hatch. He traded the Hornet a couple of years later for an F-150 Supercab, and Mom traded the wagon in for a ‘78 Concord hatch, which she motored in until 1987, when she replaced it with an ‘87 Topaz. At that point, it sat it the back yard until becoming my first car in ‘91 (cost me $1!). Dad restored it several years later, and we still have it for summertime enjoyment. I’ll love AMC/Rambler vehicles until the end!

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