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Coffin Nose: 1977 AMC Matador Wagon


This may be one of the homeliest wagons ever built, but it could also be the cleanest 1977 AMC Matador station wagon still in existence. The seller claims that it has only covered 57k miles, but with only five digits on the odometer that may be hard to prove. Color scheme aside, it really does look great inside and out. So if the seller can backup their claims with documentation, we think it may be worth a look. Find it here on eBay out of Bristol, Connecticut. Thanks for the tip Jim S!


With things heating up outside, it’s nice to have air conditioning in your classic. Especially when you have this many square feet of glass! The A/C system in this wagon has been gone through and is claimed to blow ice cold. The seller has also gone through the brakes and replaced the hoses and belts. So, it looks like it could make a dependable driver with minimal hassle. You might feel guilty getting those seats dirty though. Just look in there! Hardly any signs of wear or tear.


It may be dependable, but we never said it would be fuel efficient. You will be lucky to get 13 miles per gallon in this family hauler, but heck, that’s not much worse than a new Suburban. This bad boy even has a third row seat! The 304 V8 sat in the middle of engine options so it should provide a nice blend of power and efficiency. Well, power in a late 1970s sort of way. This was no muscle car with only 126 horsepower when new, but remember even the top Corvette in ’77 only had 210! You might be able to justify the purchase if you look at it more as a SUV replacement than a large car.


This wagon may not get anyone’s blood boiling, but if it is as original as the seller claims, then it deserves to go to a good home. A decade ago it was easy to find low mileage station wagons stashed away in the original owner’s garage. They could be purchased at low prices and then used as practical transportation for years to come. Well, we are afraid that those days may be coming to an end. People seem to have taken a liking to the old wagons even more than their four-door sedan brethren and the prices are only going to go up. The starting bid on this one is set at $5,500 with a reserve. Could this old coffin nose actually be worth more?


  1. Don Andreina

    Nice and clean, but give me a pre-coffin nose version please. Good spotting Jim.

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  2. Horse Radish

    now, who would go through the trouble of faking or whatever the mileage on a car that is as appealing as a 1980ies Refrigerator ?

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  3. RickyM

    Nice to see an unusual car in good condition, but it certainly won’t win a beauty parade with that nose !

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  4. Bear

    I had a 71 Matador 4-door that was EXTREMELY dependable. Got close to 275K miles on it before the PLASTIC timing gears finally gave out. (Poor material choice by AMC. The aftermarket replacement timing gear sets are ALL STEEL!) NOT a pretty car, but sturdy as heck!
    PERHAPS someone with fond memories of family travels in a similar 70s wagon will snap this one up!! (…but I suspect that the seller will be hard pressed to find many interested bidders at the current price point.)

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    • Jim-Bob

      Sadly though, AMC was not alone in using that nylon cam gear setup. GM was in love with it too, and it killed many an otherwise good engine in it’s day. I remember changing the timing gears on my dad’s 1980 Cadillac (368 V8) and yup, it had it too.

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  5. Bryan Cohn

    How do do I want thee, let me count the ways:
    1. Different
    2. Clean
    3. Brown
    4. Rostyle wheels
    5. Seats everyone you know
    6. Coffin Nose FTW!
    7. ‘Merica!
    8. Relive that family road trip you took as a kid to The Dells
    9. Rare to non-existant?
    10. Because its COOL.
    11. Bonus Round! Bring’s smiles wherever you go.

    Good find, good fun, this is what sites like this are all about.

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    • Jim-Bob

      (umm… on an American car they would be Magnum 500 wheels.)

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  6. Chris A.

    Per Bryan #9. Not only is this the cleanest 1977 AMC Matador Wagon, but odds are you won’t see another one outside a scrap yard. But I like it, inside and out it is so 70’s.

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  7. thefatkid

    Nice Find Guys. I remember the smog choked out motor of the seventies, but the Line “but remember even the top Corvette in ’77 only had 210!” Really puts it into perspective. I’m always amazed when a vehicle like this shows up. Who would have taken the time to preserve such a vehicle…. Just glad they did.

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  8. paul

    Ah another fine long roof, these were scraped long ago as junk, but I must admit it is nice to see one after all this time. I think this one is too nice to have turned over so I’m going with the stated miles as true. Good one Jim.

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  9. luke

    love the look of that AMC. Great find!

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  10. Barry Thomas

    Clothes make the man, but in this case, those beautiful Magnum 500’s do a great job of adding icing to this AMC cake (Jesse, you are being too hard on this ol’ gal). I like the old sedans and wagons, as I see enough of the ubiquitous coupe/converts. What is this really worth – thoughts?
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

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  11. Brian

    A car that truely could only be desired to bring back childhood memories of the 1970s! Styling, art, and color wise, this thing has absolutely nothing going for it. Practicality wise, what would have been a better choice for a buyer in the 1970s under theses conditions:

    Buying in Nov 1977, end of year close outs at your local AMC dealer – this had to have been the last car left on the lot! What a tremendous deal you could have gotten on it? If you showed any interest in it, the salesman would not just follow you to your car trying to get you back, he’d follow you home! After dicounts and incentives, AMC actually owes you 75 cents!

    Wife can’t drive worth a hoot and all four corners will be smashed in six months? Who cares! The redesign might actually improve it’s appearance! Buy this car, it promotes harmony in the home!

    Kids will ruin the interior…did you see it? Plaid white and red cloth over metallic baby crap brown vinyl! Come on kids, do your best! Buy tis car, it helps you be a better parent!

    Has a/c so you can be cool driving it even if you can’t look cool driving it. Buy this car, it helps gives you a reputation for being sensible, and keeps you humble (at least out on the roads).

    Racing inspired steering wheel and custom wheels, to appease the gods of the sports car, to whom this car affronts! Buy this car, it’s got 70’s swag! PTA by day, Studio 54 at night!

    Seriously though, anybody who grew up in the 1970s has to have a (small) warm place for a wagon like this. I really enjoy seeing them, but when it comes to plopping down the green and living with one of these in the fleet, I could never pull the trigger.

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  12. abouttowne

    My buddy still drives his woody one in California. Same colors as well! They may be ugly, but they keep going!

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  13. Jason

    Bristol, Connecticut? Did the ESPN guys sleep in this wagon when they were building the station back in the day?

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  14. Dan Farrell

    I drove Matador police cars back in the 70’s and they were a dramatic change from the Chrysler products of the day. I first experienced oversteer in a Matador at about 80 mph and lived to tell about it.

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    • paul

      well nobody said these were for DRIVING as in 80 mph, gosh most american cars of that period could only wallow going straight & didn’t stop either. This aint a ferin Porsche.

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    • Brian

      I think Reed and Malloy had one on Adam 12. I once read that they were very popular with the LAPD officers when they joined the fleet because they were the first cars bought by the department to have AC as part of the pursuit package. Don’t know if that was true or not, but a fun story.

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  15. ConservativesDefeated

    Gonna have to look like Tony Orland in a lesure suit to drive this. What a hideous time in American design and taste.

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  16. ConservativesDefeated


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  17. ConservativesDefeated


    No but Aaron Hernandez did

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  18. Bob

    So that’s a Matador!!

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  19. AMCFAN

    This is a nice clean wagon. Examples do exist and show up more often then you think. This car is rather plain with the 304 engine and crank windows and the absence of woodgrain. By 77 these options were almost always ordered. I had to enlarge the photos. The sport wheel although tasteful looks to be added by the seller. The Sport wheel would have been an option on this car but the padding on the rim would be fatter and appear to be leather wrapped. This is hard to find as it was first used in 77. The cap would be correct. This was first used in 74. The Magnums are also nice but not original to the car. It would have had hubcaps. AMC Turbo Cast wheels would be a better choice. BTW The valve covers have been painted as well. With all the detail work done I would have expected the owner to spend the $5. to replace the 304 engine decal that got removed by the powerwasher! Thats just me.

    Don’t knock the coffin nose. I have a 74 Matador Sedan that too is low mile and very clean. Car is stock other then dual exhaust and Air Ride suspension. It also has staggered wheels. (18″ Ft. 20″”rear) The car is very clean and the 360 runs very well even with the bridged rockers, There are no emblems on the car. Everywhere it goes people stop and stare. Everyone always wants to know what it is. The people who do know always say how ugly they thought they were when new BUT how cool it looks today. Believe me in a collector car world with everything else is always the same you may want to try something different. These cars are very cheap and are really nice vehicles. You learn to respect and apprecicate the hood when you are driving behind the wheel.

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  20. Chris N

    I have said it before and I will say it again…
    Terrible design and color scheme
    An outstanding example of a bygone era when American cars were terrible as a whole; Poor designs, terrible drive-trains, comparatively rotten fuel economy, and dubious reliability. This is perhaps the 1% that was built fairly well and maintained properly. That 1% likely equates to less than 100 examples in the U.S. that are in this condition.

    Let’s face it folks, generally speaking the U.S. made garbage from the early ’70’s until the early/mid ’90’s when technology finally caught up in the auto industry.

    I will admit though if given a choice between driving a Suburban and this, it would be a hard call. The Suburban has this beat for reliability, hands down, but has no soul. The Matador at least has some character. I think the late David E Davis Jr. (Formerly of Automobile Magazine) said it best when he was reviewing the then newly released 1991 Chevy Caprice “…it should be locked into the garage lest it ugly off into the night…[SIC]”

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  21. jim s

    sold for $14099, i think!

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  22. Jimmy

    Whats wrong with fibre timing gears? So long as its not an interference engine- no problem, pull it and replace. The steel ones can be noisy too.

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    • Brian

      I would rank them above a timingbelt! Studebaker used the fiber gears also. Mine is 51 years old and still hanging in there, knock on wood!

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  23. Jimmy

    Yep- the face aint pretty, but look at the body instead. That and the inside, I could just sit in there and meditate.

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  24. Fred & Cathy McKenna

    I am proud to say I am the one who purchased this 1977 Matador station wagon!
    It’s a great car! I love station wagons & we also have a 1970 Oldsmobile Vista
    cruiser among 7 other classic cars.


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    • Josh Staff

      Hi Fred & Cathy!
      First of all congratulations on the purchase! I have no doubt this will be a fun wagon for you both! I hope you will keep us updated on how it is to drive and own. Also, I know I would love to see more photos and I’m sure most everyone here would agree with me. If you grab some photos of it and the rest of your collection and want to share them with us, please feel free to email them to me at mail@barnfinds.com
      Thanks and good luck with your Matador!


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    • Jason

      Love to see a lineup pic!

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  25. Jason

    Sweet looking find. I’ve always found the 1974-78 Matador sedan and wagons to be the the best looking AMC cars of the 70s. I’d buy one if I could find one in pristine condition, and at a price I can afford. :)

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  26. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking Matador wagon. I’ve always loved the 1974-78 AMC Matador sedan and wagon. I know there are some who would say “what’s so cool about a “coffin nose” Matador?” I’d say “what’s *not* to like? It’s distinctive, I find it more attractive than the Javelin and AMX of 1971-74.

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  27. Doug

    I wanna know where that car came from new. My family had a ‘77 that color (Golden Ginger Metallic) and my dad put the Barcelona hood ornament on it. If it came from Ohio, I know the original owner!

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  28. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. I’ve always been interested in the 1974-78 AMC Matador. I hope this wagon went to a good owner, one who cares for the car, and carefully maintains the car. :)

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