4X4 Barn Find: 1982 AMC Eagle

Although American Motors didn’t have the financial resources as the “Big Three,” it could always be counted upon to produce something unusual from its existing parts bin. Case-in-point is the 1980s Eagle, the only four-wheel-drive passenger car built in the U.S. at the time. And it was based on the compact Concorde (formerly Hornet) platform, so it wasn’t an expensive venture for the underdog car company. Located in a barn in Hermiston, Oregon is this 1982 4-door sedan which looks to be in good overall condition, though not running. It’s available here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,200 OBO.

Producing a 4X4 version of an existing car wasn’t hard for AMC as they already had a resident off-road brand in-house: Jeep. AMC acquired Jeep in 1970 and that experience (and some hardware) enabled AMC to create the Eagle in 1980. The car was built eight years before Chrysler bought AMC and Jeep (which made AMC more valuable in the end). The company would build 192,000 Eagles and its offspring the SX/4 which was based on the Spirit (aka Gremlin). The seller’s sedan was one of only 4,091 built for the 1982 model year. The station wagon Eagle would outsell the sedan by 4 to 1.

This 1982 Eagle looks to be a clean car, although the body and vinyl top aren’t as nice as the seller suggests. It has the basic 258 cubic-inch inline-6 which hasn’t been started in several years. The motor is not locked up, but the fuel system should be gone through before proceeding further. The car has been inside a decent-looking barn for several years, helping keep a 1958-60 Lincoln company. It has about 80,000 miles on the odometer and the engine is paired with an automatic transmission.

Online price guides place the Eagle in the low teens in terms of resale value. If this one could be made to go with a minimum of trouble, it could be a solid runner if you’re not a perfectionist regarding paint and such. If you’re looking for an older 4WD where creature comforts are important, it’s hard to beat the AMC Eagle. And not many of these cars are likely to make an experience at your local Cars & Coffee.


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  1. Steve Clinton

    A nice car…but what’s with the weird peeling of the vinyl roof?

    Like 2
    • J Thomas

      I had just washed the dirt off and some spots were still wet looking like the top discolored. The top is in superb condition.

    • Debi

      Steve, I would just like to add when you have a car that hasn’t been used or touched for years, can you imagine the dust build up? So when you are only rinsing with water and not washing, that is exactly why it looks odd. It has been washed. I have seen it myself and beautiful!

  2. Frank Miller

    nice winter car!

  3. Mark

    Talking to my son and right now! It’s identical to my old one l traded in in 89. Best 4/4 l ever had.

  4. douglas hunt

    brings back memories, my mom had a hornet wagon when i was 15.
    did they make an eagle wagon?
    this would be a cool winter beater if i didn’t have a Landcruiser

  5. CJM

    It was the AMC CONCORD, not CONCORDE. That was a Chrysler. He’s dreaming on the price given the condition and what it needs for work. Maybe $1500 bucks? Vinyl top is shot and interior faded. Eagles were pioneers and great cars but they don’t bring the big money unless they are turn key, low mileage and excellent condition. The 4 door sedan is the least desirable body style also.

    Like 1
  6. Forrest Jolliffe

    I think one could thank Dennis Collins for helping people think these are worth a ton of money. He bought one at auction with less than 3000 miles on it and featured it one his YouTube show Coffee Walk.

  7. chrlsful

    yup, waggy’s da one.
    (well, there’s a few like SX/4 Lift back or Kammback – ie the two 2 dor).

    Two differences between the earlier/later models on how the (AWD it aint) frnt axle engages. Just got my fox wagon so no longer in the search (now onto parts search!). Otherwise the more available ’80/7 wagon w/258 & Italian diesel 219 would B a 2nd choice. (not a durable vehicle, better motor tho).

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