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Classic Daily Driver: 1981 AMC Eagle

There’s a bubbling appreciation for the 1981 AMC Eagle, as enthusiasts realize just how far ahead of their time these early SUVs were and the impressive utility they offer in a cheap-to-run package. This example is quite clean with low mileage of just 62,500, and it’s lived in the dry, mountain-high climate of Colorado for the last few years. The seller notes it comes with extensive maintenance records, and it’s listed here on craigslist for $8,500. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find.

I noticed the grill badges right away, which likely indicate some affiliation with an AMC owners group. These tell-tale signs of a fanatical ownership history are great indications as to how much a particular car was loved, and while the Eagle has only recently caught the eye of collectors, fans of the AMC brand have touted the car’s impressive capabilities for years. This one shows impressively well down the sides, and it’s nice to see a different color than brown or white.

Heavy tint on the windows isn’t my preferred look, but it likely has kept the interior in fine shape. From what we can see of the cabin, there’s a period-correct two-tone pattern with the cloth inserts looking to be in good shape. Pale blue over maroon isn’t the sharpest combination, but it looks like the door jambs match the exterior. The sill plates add a touch of elegance and don’t look too badly dinged up.

The powertrain of the Eagles is hard to kill, and can still perform well without religious maintenance. The fact that the seller seems confident in the amount of records this Eagle wagon comes with is a good sign that it’s got significant life left in its components. While the Subaru Outback may be the current AWD wagon champion, the Eagle easily trumps it in style and pedigree, and if the condition bears out in person, this one looks like a smart buy.


  1. Tort Member

    Looks a lot better than the Corvette following this AMC. I have become to like these cars more than years previous.

    Like 1
  2. Tripp

    I find it impossible to believe the paint and the interior were both those colors when it left the factory.

    Like 2
    • Dean

      I’ve owned several Eagles (still have three) and am a member of a few different forums related to AMC and Eagles specifically. The owner of this one was posting on one of those forums some time ago and if I remember correctly, he stated that this car was originally painted white. Red interior is original.

      Like 0
    • don

      I agree ; I’m thinking it was originally either blue or tan vinyl , and someone wanted to upgrade to a cloth interior – but maroon ? Maybe the guy was color blind

      Like 0
    • Tom

      AMC was very accommodating to building “custom” combos, some of which were not always the most complimentary. .

      Like 0
    • dean

      I now own this eagle, it was originally white, completely stripped and re-painted

      Like 0
  3. IkeyHeyman

    Looks pretty sharp and priced reasonably.

    Like 2
  4. Ronald Naves

    Sweet ride right there people

    Like 1
  5. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking car. I remember when I first heard of the AMC Eagle 4wd wagon. I was too young to drive at the time. But I was interested in the car. I’ve always liked station wagons, and I thought this car made more sense than Subaru’s way of engaging and disengaging 4wd.

    Like 0
  6. ramblergarage

    We had 2 Eagle wagons and later a Jeep Cherokee. The Eagle was much better in deep snow than the Jeep!

    Like 0
  7. cjm

    Look closer! Door jambs have clearly been painted. Body plugs that should be black painted blue, overspray on garnet door surround trim. Heavy body filler or undercoating sprayed over with blue paint on RF rocker area. This car was not built in light blue. I don’t believe this blue was even offered on Eagles in ’84. While it’s conceivable (but highly unlikely) AMC might have built a blue car with a garnet interior, I have never seen one and clearly this is not an example of one. Bet it was white or silver to begin with. Too bad about the color change. It’s sharp but no prize. Clearly corners were cut with the refinishing. Striping not done correctly either and pretty wavy. Those alloys are sweet and rare though.

    Like 0
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I believe it was a dark red color when new. I owned a Hornet wagon that had this same color interior and the exterior was a similar shade of red. The Hornet was a 77 model and a very good car. 258 six auto trans a/c pb ps a very nice wagon.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Ps. Never underestimate these in snow. They’ll go where the mountain goats tread.
    God bless America

    Like 1

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