Bandit Connection: 1982 AMC Concord Sundancer

The best thing about this gig is you learn something new every day. More pointedly, I’m speaking about cars and special editions that simply never made their way onto my radar screen previously, like this 1982 AMC Concord Sundancer – wait, I’m not done – Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater edition! Whew – did any of you know these cars were a “thing”? Whether you did or didn’t, find it here on eBay for $5,900 or best offer. 

If anyone wants to play detective, be my guest – but here’s what I do know: Burt Reynolds attempted to create a dinner theater / club where his pals from Hollywood would make appearances, undoubtedly wowing the crowd and creating a line out the door every night. Well, in theory, yes – but that wasn’t reality. Burt did have a club in Jupiter, Florida, and he did have many of his friends from the silver screen make appearances there – but the club itself did not thrive, and it eventually went out of business. Here’s my question: was there a fleet of Sundancer convertibles out front running guests back and forth to the airport?

I have not found an answer to that question. However, the Sundancer is yet another example of the half-hardtop, half-convertible concoction outsourced to the Griffith Company in Ft. Lauderdale, and you may recall they were the brains behind the Toyota Celica Sunchaser convertible. AMC would ship Concord and Eagle two-door models down to Florida, then Griffith would send the finished product back to Wisconsin for final prep and dealer delivery. The Griffith Company was the brainchild of Jack Griffith, who is known more for his involvement with TVR.

This particular Concord Sundancer looks good on the outside, but the insides have been ravaged by mice. As you saw in the photo above, the carpeting is a mess and the seat upholstery trim is chewed up. The seller claims the damage extends to the vehicle’s wiring, so you may be looking at sourcing an entire engine harness, depending on the extent of the damage. However, the body is said to be straight and true and the floors solid; it also looks like the irreplaceable targa top panels are intact.

Image courtesy of FloridaMemory.com

There it is – the famous name and theater that makes this Sundancer so curious. Very few of these cars were made, with estimates putting the AMC conversions at around 200 examples. Why this one has a plaque mounted on the B-pillars seemingly in tribute to the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater we may never know, but I’m sure the next owner will have fun tracking down its history. Since Burt is still alive, maybe he’d even answer the question himself! What do you think the story is behind the badge?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. whippeteer

    I think they need to reduce the price by 2 or 3 digits. This one from last year was much more desirable, and was only $100 more! http://barnfinds.com/4×4-with-a-view-1982-amc-eagle-sundancer/

  2. whippeteer

    Badges? We don’t need no steenkin’ badges!

  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow. Here I thought I was fairly well versed in most things AMC but I have never heard of these.

    Thanks BF for the edjumekation!

  4. whippeteer

    Never in a barn from the looks of that interior. Sitting out in the rain a lot with no top on the backside. You mention that the front roof sections are hard to find. What about the convertible section? The shell is the only useable portion of the car.

    • Spyder Nasser

      Is that an SV-1 BRICKLIN next to it?

      • Rabbit

        I believe you are correct. (Which in itself used mainly AMC underpinnings).

  5. Jim G.

    According to this link, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/66175/END-OF-THE-LINE-FOR-BURTS-STAR-STUDDED-THEATER.html Burt wanted this theatre to be a place for actors an actresses that were his pals to have gainful work..and not be maligned by the critics (turns out he couldn’t really stop that). He mentions giving them a car? and a condo and showering the stars with the royal treatment…..could this be one of THOSE cars?

  6. Nova Scotian

    Nice. I think it’s a car that because of its provenance, will be collector status and continue to climb in value. How high? Who knows. Only the eye of the beholder. I bet this was a looker in its time, even if it’s only an AMC concord. Lid off is really interesting. Cool 😎

  7. Jonny the Boy

    Another car for the WTF? file.

  8. Sam

    A fleet of Pontiac scream’n chicken TA’s or Citreon SM Masseratti’s (Longest Yard) would have been more appropriate for the dinner theatre. I like AMC’s but I don’t think a parade queen would even ride in this one.

  9. wuzjeepnowsaab

    When you peek under the hood of any late 70’s – early/mid 80’s AMC you get an appreciation of the struggle this company was going through. Miles of hoses and vacuum lines, coolant temperature controlled switches that changed directions and sources of vacuum…

    AMC was a company caught between the “rock” of the EPA and the “hard place” of a downward spiral towards impending bankruptcy. Even though the “new” Cherokee was a great seller it still wasn’t enough to save them. With that vehicle, they once again started a movement in the auto industry and got steamrolled by the others. Sad.

  10. Sam

    Great corporate commentary on AMC

  11. Mark

    This car was owned by the dinner theatre that’s what last photo shows.

  12. jaymes

    hideious, good luck fining a top,lmao

  13. Woodie Man

    Quick story……which says it all at least for me…..back in the days of Burt Reynolds/Lonnie Andersen…. I happened to be in a restaurant I would not normally patronize…. Think big box middle brow chain…. And in walks this short fellow in a track suit with an obvious rug made to imitate the hair of a younger man bedecked with gold chains. On his arm was a woman wearing enough face paint to qualify as a Fijian warrior and a beehive hairdo . Totally bizarre looking couple. Well you can guess who it was …….and this “dinner theatre” version of an awkward to begin with design is the automotive equivalent of that couple.

  14. James

    An AMC Concord AND a Bricklin. This guy sure don’t know how to pick-em.

    Like 1
  15. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck Foster

    My ex wife’s cousin had a 70s Trans Am, black and gold Bandit style, and the back spoiler had ‘Burt Reynolds Edition’ in gold letters on the back, right side,never saw another one like it.

    • angliagt

      Because there was only one made?

    • whippeteer

      I don’t know how many were made, but it was probably after the success of “Smokey and the Bandit” but before any of the other movies were made.

  16. mike d

    welp, tough call, if I were a car collector, I might hop on it, I wouldn’t recommend it for an ONLY car for a potential collector , it sure is unique, might serve as a weekend driver to the golf course . the body looks to be in v/g shape, but with 130k miles.. at the very least an engine rebuild .. and if you can put up with the muffled laughter

  17. Daniel Wright

    The seller must be smoking something good to ask that much,but the car would be fun for the sheer weirdness…You want something that no one else anywhere has on cruise night, this would fill the bill.

  18. rando

    Back in teh day, I had my own small graphics shop and catered to automotive interests mainly, race cars, car dealers, etc. One of the local dealers got a Black and silver Lumina at auction and wanted to doll it up some. Voila! The “Dale Earnhardt Edition” was born. At least on a local level. “Decal Edition” I guess you’d call it. So making Special editions is nothing special really. A few bucks with the local sign guy… but the plastic badges on this one are definitely more “high brow”… Someone should scoop this one up for sure… wink wink.

  19. Keith

    What just happened here?

  20. AMCFAN

    Wasjeepnowsaab You are implying that AMC was the only manufacturer that had a plumbing problem under the hood and that led to them to bankruptcy?

    Not so. You can look at other vehicles under hood from the same time frame and see the exact painted picture of barely seeing an engine. AMC made a few missteps but at the time Chrysler came courting and wanted to buy them they were never stronger as a company. They had new product and had planned to take the Jeep brand globle. That was the plan of Georges Bessie CEO of Renault who refused to sell the company. He was gunned down in front of his mansion by an assailant on a bicycle and fell down and died on his sidewalk. Weeks later AMC was sold to Chrysler.

    The Sundancer above is a shame it was left to ruin. It is of very low production and would be a fun summer driver. The top and the interior would almost make it prohibitive to restore. The bodies from this time frame are generally rust free and of no concern. The wiring being ruined is a deal breaker Burt connection or not.

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