Bargain Wagon: 1978 AMC Matador Wagon

042816 Barn Finds - 1978 AMC Matador wagon - 2

This is another original, time capsule! The 1978 AMC Matador Wagon shown here is listed on eBay with a current price of $1,953 and five days left on the auction. It’s at a dealership in Levittown, Pennsylvania and it sure looks like a winner.

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What a beautiful car, at least condition-wise. It may not be the “prettiest” car, or the most-impressive design, but just for the fact that it’s in almost-perfect condition, this one is a winner. It has 75,300 miles on it but it looks like it has 7,530 miles. It’s a bit on the big side for my personal tastes, I prefer smaller cars, in general; but there is no denying that this one was treated very well during its lifetime.

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I guess the woodgrain on the roof rack is a little faded, but if that’s the only flaw on the exterior; wow! 1978 was the last year for the Matador and I’ve always wondered what a wagon version of their Matador Coupe would have looked like. I see a little rust in front of the wheel, but that’s all that I can see and the seller says that it has very little surface rust; that must be the rust that they’re talking about. The power rear window works great, according to the seller and they mention that this car has been with the same family since new.

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I hope that nobody takes offense to this, but, jeez, this interior is pretty amazing! The faded and dirty carpet is about the only flaw that I can see inside this car, front or back. The headliner looks perfect as does the gauge cluster and the rear compartment. I’m guessing that they had a one-piece rubber floor mat in front because the edges look faded and dirty but right in the middle looks great. I haven’t tried any of the carpet-dying products out there but maybe one of the Barn Finds readers has experience with using those and can give a thumbs up or thumbs down. There are quite a few YouTube videos showing how to do that.

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This is AMC’s 360 V8, two-barrel carb engine with 140 hp. I’m not sure why the underside of the hood is rusty like that when there’s not much rust anywhere else on this car? There is a little bit of detailing work to do under the hood, I mean detailing other than spraying some shiny liquid over everything. I wonder what this car will sell for, it sure looks great to me. I wonder what the Barn Finds community would guess for a cyber-hammer price for this car? $4,000? $6,000?


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  1. Blueprint

    Same engine my Dad had in his ’74 Cherokee. It got 8 mpg (imperial, because Canada) in town.

  2. grant

    I’m guessing the underside of the hood is rusty cause the radiator or the battery boiled over at one point or another. Nice car though.


    I agree Grant, that looks like radiator rust on the hood. They were nice cars. This might go $4,000 is my uneducated guess

  4. Wayne

    Under bonnet surface rust could be from sweating between bonnet and soundproofing, which is missing

    • racer99

      There’s strange (non-factory) looking welds on the top radiator brackets and residue on the core support and a little rust on the power steering bracket that would make me agree that it had an overheating issue once upon a time and was probably parked for that reason. I agree then that the rust on the bottom side of the hood was from the blanket getting wet and holding moisture underneath it. This is one of those “It’s a really nice car but what would I do with it?” vehicles.

      • Kornmanone

        I own that same car but with wood grain sides. They all seem to have the under hood rust from sweating with age. I also have the same weld on my radiator core at the top, I’m not sure on why.

  5. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I had a base model of one of these with 3 on the column and manual everything including the rear tailgate glass. This car is proof that Zeibarting a car for the added cost back in the day could indeed make them stay rust free in critical structural areas 40 years later.


    Ahh the old coffin nose. Clean

  7. DaveT

    Knew a kid that defied all laws of physics by flipping one of these taking an off ramp too fast. He walked away with two broken arms. Still have no idea how he managed to do that

  8. jim s

    bidding at $ 2600 with almost 4 day to go. i love station wagons and i see a very nice daily driver here. great find

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