43k Original Miles: 1981 AMC Spirit

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Here’s an interesting little gem for sale in the Stockton, California area. This 1981 AMC Spirit, submitted by reader Pat L, is said to only have 43,000 original miles and can be found here on Craigslist.

The seller doesn’t give a lot of detail in the listing but the interior is said to be “super clean”. Though it’s hard to tell from the pictures, it does appear like there are some stains on the seats and carpet. Overall, the interior does appear to be in decent original condition. From the pictures, the body appears to be in pretty good shape as well.

There weren’t many cars that could get out of their own way from this era and that would most likely include this one. The four-cylinder would certainly be better on gas but wouldn’t add much excitement to the mix. Could that four-cylinder give way to a little bit more oomph?

I’m sure that the AMC purists would have a conniption, but I would turn this car into the creature it was meant to be. This would look good as a clone of the AMC Spirit AMX cars in this body style. A red or black paint job with the funky decals, a different set of wheels, and a hot little AMC 304 would make this car a lot more appealing. It wouldn’t be a cheap project but the starting price is only $2,900. So, if you were to pick this one up, would you customize or keep original?

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  1. Dave brennan

    360 w 4sp and 275 15s in the rear. Smokin!

    Like 7
  2. Jett

    Definitely keep it original. I’d bring it up to speed as far as engine work, new exhaust, new carb, etc, but it hurts my eyes to see people cut up decent original cars

    Like 4
  3. Neil

    Keep the paint as is cause its beautiful.
    383 crate motor and a 4spd manual or 5 spd. Would be a unique and 1 of 1 at any local car show. And probably be able to dust any would be competition. Well after it got a posi rear with 3.91 gears would be my choice.

    Like 2
  4. scottymac

    After it sat unsold on the dealer’s lot for eight months, aftermarket striping installed to spark interest? Can anybody confirm if this was a factory option?

    Like 0
  5. CJM

    Ad already gone! Would keep totally stock cosmetically but install a 304/360/401 with a modern 5 speed OD manual.

    Like 1
  6. Dom Colucci

    Dare I say a 302 or a 347 stroker motor is a direct bolt in, you know the rest, leave it as is to make a quick sleeper with the 347 stroker [ahem] Ford motor…

    Like 4
    • Lee M.


      Like 0
  7. Lee M.

    401, manual shift 727 trans, 3.91:1 model 20 twin grip (Moser axles) would haul ass!

    Like 0
    • Dom Colucci

      Fun stuff!!!

      Like 0

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