Ever Seen One Of These? 1989 Eagle Premier ES

We’ve seen some interesting and odd cars over the years, but I can honestly say I haven’t ever seen an Eagle Premier ES on the street. Towards the end of AMC’s life, they had to form an alliance with Renault to keep things going (how did they ever think that was a good idea?) and then Chrysler ended up buying out Renault’s stake in the company. In a last ditch effort to keep afloat, they introduced the Premier, a luxury sedan that was based on the Renault 25. It would go on to be rebadged as a Dodge Monaco (also seems like a questionable decision). This Eagle has to be one of the cleanest examples left out there with 46k original miles. You can find it here on eBay in Cream Ridge, New Jersey with a BIN of $3,100.

This car really isn’t for everyone, let’s face it how many people want an ’80s AMC that’s based on an ’80s Renault? If you are in that small group of people who appreciate these cars though, this one is quite the find! The only problem area that the seller discloses (there could be things they aren’t saying) is that the motorized seat belts are inoperable. I’ve experienced the motorized seat belts found in ’80s and ’90s Eagles, they rarely work and even when they do they are incredibly annoying. If neither side works, there’s a good chance someone pulled the fuse or a relay, which is a simple fix. Or you could just get rid of them all together and figure out how to mount conventional shoulder belts for a much more enjoyable experience!

While I’m sure someone of you are wondering why in the world you would ever want to own this car, just take a look at that plush interior. It might not have leather upholstery, but these overstuffed bucket seats look incredibly comfy and are in great shape. The dash is right out of an ’80s futuristic sci-fi movie, with all kinds of brightly lit displays. How could you not want to climb behind that steering wheel and go for a cruise? Just make sure you don’t think about potential mechanical or electrical issues and it will be an enjoyable drive.

I’ll admit, the engine probably isn’t a huge selling point, but at least it’s low mileage and in good working order. It’s the 3.0 liter PRV V6, the same engine that made it’s way into the DeLorean. It actually had potential to be a decent engine, at least when it had a pair of turbos strapped to it. Without forced induction and with low compression pistons to meet US emission requirements, it didn’t offer the kind of power American’s expected from a mid sized luxury cruiser, even for the ’80s. If this had a turbo or two, I would actually be tempted to buy it just to see how much boost it could handle!

The Eagle Premier is an ’80s oddballs that has quietly disappeared from American roads. It isn’t a valuable car and chances are it never will be, but if you are a purveyor of odd and interesting vehicles, this would be a great one to add to the collection! Our thanks to Paul C for this tip!

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Comments

  1. Coventrycat

    I did, once. On the back of a wrecker.

  2. steve

    When I was 18 I was nuts about a girl who had one of these, they were rare and oddball when new. It was a nice car though. I never got the girl, but I got her sister hehehe :)

  3. alan

    Had it not been for Renault’s investment in AMC the Jeep Cherokee would not havee become a dominate force in the, new at the time, small SUV segment. With the final breath of Renault’s ownership the marvelously revised 4.0 multipoint injection inline six of the ’87 Cherokee brought needed power to the segment and continued under Chrysler’s owner ship through the end of Cherokee production and two generations of the Grand Cherokee.
    The Eagle Premier was produced as a condition of the sale of AMC/Jeep to Chrysler for the production of about 300,00 cars to be built at new purpose built plant in Bramalea, Ontario.

    • John

      Aahhh, great post.
      I was just gonna post that I saw a bunch of these back in the day in southern Ontario.
      This explains it.

  4. Kirt M.

    I worked at a Nissan dealer in the early 90’s and the used lot had two of these. One Eagle Premiere and one Dodge Monaco – same color combo as this one. They only had 20K or so miles on them and we’re pretty impressive handling and riding cars. The interior controls were quirky and the seats were a bit flat, but I enjoyed driving both cars. I’m sure most people burned up the aluminum PRV V6 engines by either overheating them or a lack of maintenance. Tempting, but it’s too far far away and a little more than I have to spend.

  5. Todd Zuercher

    I certainly remember them. They were never common but certainly not rare in the late 80s/early 90s. I remember sitting in a few that were in our shop for window tinting. Reliability may not have been there thing, but I always felt they were cleanly styled.

  6. redwagon

    Cleanly styled – I agree. Until now I’ve never noticed how much these look like Audi’s of the time.

    • steve

      I scrolled back up, you are correct sir. I see the Audi connection.

      • Dairyman

        My first thought was a rebadged Alfa Romeo.

    • russell spreeman

      I find this car awfully bland. I’m sure that kind of styling was perfect for its intended audience. Remember how different and ‘European’ the 80’s T-Bird and first Taurus looked? Now they just look like bars of soap.

    • Steve

      It was a very poor copy of the Audi 5000.

  7. Joe

    They were rental cars for thrifty also.

  8. Miguel

    In answer to the question Ever Seen One Of These?

    The answer is yes, unfortunately.

    What I remember about these is they overheated like crazy.

  9. Steve65

    “It might not have leather upholstery”…

    How in hell did leather ever get associated with luxury? True luxury cars always had quality fabric interiors. Leather was the extra-durable stuff the chaufeur rode on. Its only real plus point is that you can wipe off spills.

    • DweezilAZ

      It’s as common as vinyl used to be in the 60s, Steve. Leather has no cachet any longer. Like granite in kitchens. Or the modern vinyl flooring: laminate planks.

      I’d rather have a decent cloth. But try to find a car these days with fabric that isn’t as luxurious as a pair of polyester permanent press pants.

  10. Scot Douglas

    I did a tune up on one long ago while working my way through college.

    The one thing I can remember the most, and it’s in the pictures above: Check out the turn signal “stalk”. :)

  11. Dovi65

    I like it! These were rare sights when new. Even more rare was the 1990-1992 Dodge Monaco variant

  12. Rob M.

    My wife wanted one of these back in the day. Ended up getting a Bonneville. Much better choice.

  13. Karel van der Bijl

    The Renault 25 was a good selling car here in Europe , they sold more than a million of them , many with the V6 and also with V6 turbo . There are still a lot of them being used as a taxi in Senegal , Africa . So if they are running still nowadays there must be something OK with the quality . Most diesels in Senegal . Also a lot of Renault 21 here in Senegal , or Medallion for you . A german journalist of Auto Bild Classic wrote about the V6 , he does not like to work and drinks a lot .

  14. edh

    “The Eagle Premier is an ’80s oddballs that has quietly disappeared from American roads.”

    Quietly and quickly, soon everything was “cab forward design”.

  15. CCFisher

    These were fairly common back in the day. Chrysler was contractually obligated to purchase a certain number of PRV engines, and when sales fell short, they added the Dodge Monaco. At one point, incentives were so large that dealers were advertising brand new Monacos with $19K MSRP for under $10K. Chrysler eventually sued to get out of its obligation, claiming that warranty costs were far in excess of estimates. This platform was reportedly the basis for Chrysler’s LH platform.

    Want an even bigger Eagle unicorn? Find a Medallion!

    • russell spreeman

      I had never heard that the LH was based on this model. I have always been under the impression that LH was a ‘clean sheet’ design, not some rebodied fiasco from France. Anyone have any proof or dis-proof of that?

      • The Walrus

        Bob Lutz once said “the spiritual father, the genetic antecedent of the LH is the Premier”. Apparently the chassis dynamics of the Premier were it’s best feature…

      • DweezilAZ

        Much better looking than I thought it was back when it was introduced.

        Of course given the rolling eye sores many of today’s cars are, perhaps that’s natural.

      • DweezilAZ

        FWD, longitudinal engine.

        Good history on the Premier on Allpar, which mentions it’s roots in the LH and it’s lead engineer for both, Francois Castaing. “It’s design was adapted into the LH” according to the Premier page on the site.

      • Tim Rusling

        Obviously the LH cars were very different, but they did retain the north/south engine layout of the Premier series. Different powertrain of course.

    • Ernie the Dancing Weasel

      Had a Medallion wagon.

      Glorious vehicle, no issues, but they had a reputation for electrical issues and the electronic heater controls on the dash had a tendency to melt/catch fire…

  16. MoparMatt

    I had one of these in high school. As long as it is taken care of and you have a mechanic that can work on it, they are amazing. I absolutely had no problems with mine and had over 200,000 miles on it when I had to put it out to pasture. I loved the pods on either side of the steering column that housed everything. I do know that the dearlerships wanted no part of these. My dearler in Toledo didn’t even want to bother making keys for one of these when I needed and extra. I guess Jeeps just made more money. I don’t think Chrysler marketed these correctly. Instead of trying to market them against Taurus and Luminas, they should have come out fully loaded and sold them against Volvos and Acuras. If I was a bit closer, I would put this in my garage in a heartbeat!

  17. Johnrm

    i believe these were the underpinnings of the very successful LH Cab forward Intrepid, LHS, Concorde and Eagle. My parents owned an LH and while it was a very large comfortable car, the V6 was rough and the transmission was weak.

  18. FarmerBoy

    I owned one of these brand new, except white with the blue velour interior. Fast (for the day), roomy and comfortable and got around great in Wisconsin winters. Also the worst car I ever owned – for less than a year. Serious intermittent electrical problems from the start. Multiple dead batteries, lights would all go out at times – sometimes on the highway at night. Dashboard would go dark sometimes. Scary. Electric door locks would go up and down as if it was haunted – probably was. Once after being towed to the local dealer and worked on supposedly for two weeks by factory mechanics I was told to pick it up as everything was fixed. Car refused to start when I went to pick it up from their lot.

    Tried to Lemon Law it but my claim was refused when the dealer said car was fine and it was all my imagination (even though I had a 1″ thick file of service and AAA documentation. Traded it on a used Volvo 740 wagon and got about 1/2 what I paid for it on trade.

    Note: I traded an Eagle Medalion in on the Eagle Premier. Yes, I should have known better !

  19. Blueprint

    My first boss had one, in period-correct monochrome white. AMC would have folded and died without Renault’s funds. As a winter-beater, I owned a two-door Alliance. That body was “adapted” from the 4-door by AMC; I never owned a car with more structural noises than that one, and it was a clean, no-rust DL with the optional 1.7 litre.

  20. XMA0891

    My mom traded in her ’86 Taurus for an ’88 red-over-red Premier. I thought the car had it all over the Taurus in terms of ride-quality, handling and appearance. The headliner did fall in it – But then again most cars’ headliners seemed to in the Eighties…
    One night the car spontaneously-combusted in the driveway – Burned to a crisp. Remarkably, the Rosary Beads in the ashtray survived the fire unscathed – Mom still has them to this day – Kept for the direct-to-God prayers.

  21. AMXSTEVE

    I used to work for a sunroof shop and flat bedded these when new back and forth from the dealership. They were very solid nice riding cars for the time and would have bought one if i wasn’t single at the time w/o a family.

    I’m still looking for a clean LX model which was the top of the line with leather and ground effects.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Eagle+Premier+LX+PICS&rlz=1C1EJFA_enUS746US746&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFzf2_kK3XAhWNZiYKHfCbAR8Q7AkIQg&biw=900&bih=405#imgrc=k_cU0ebI1zy30M:

    • Krae Merryman

      I have a 1989 eagle premier es with giugiardio design. It has only 25000 miles on it. No rust and runs incredible…interior is nearly mint with all original everything. I’m looking for a going price on it. Any advice is appreciated..

      Like 1
      • Tim Rusling

        I didn’t need to see this – I would absolutely love it, but just can’t. I miss mine a lot. Regardless of the price you settle on, don’t sell it to anyone who only needs a piece of transportation. Make sure it goes to someone who loves it and values this as an artifact of AMC engineering [obviously with Renault]. The plant that makes the Chrysler 300s, Challengers, and Chargers was originally built by AMC to build your car.

      • rodolph

        Is it for sale? Thank you .

  22. zero250 jeff steindler

    From 1982 to 1998, I ran a large imported car repair garage in Charleston, WV……….I and all 5 of my mechanics hated that V6 engine already – due to previous past bad experiences in the many Volvo 264s we worked on…………We all decided that the worst location in the world to work on cars would be the Pyranees Mountains – the border of France and Italy………There, you would have the misfortune to work on French Peugeot 504s and 604s ( which had this V6 engine ) AND all of the unreliable Italian cars!

  23. CSinc

    I owned a 1990 one of these. An ES in red loaded with everything. Sunroof, tinted windows, full leather. It was a beautiful riding vehicle and despite the reputation I never had any issues with it other than replacing the rad to fix overheating. My family called it the Pimpmobile.

  24. Bob C.

    These things were not all that uncommon according to all the comments above. Yes, they certainly were dogs, and shame on Dodge for slapping the Monaco name on some of these. A true insult to a nice car in its day.

  25. jim shoe

    Premiers had the best a/c you could store a side of beef in them cold cold cold……….they were dogs but the ride was great

  26. David Miraglia

    There were quite a few of them here in the five boroughs back then. Never thought much of them.

  27. mark

    worked on these back in the day. had electrical problems and side windows would shatter when u tightened to the regulators

  28. Tommy D

    I remember spraying the engine off of one of these at a do it yourself car wash years ago, the engine developed a miss, the cat heated up, and the interior console caught fire…not a good memory!

  29. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    I bought an ‘89 in ‘92 when it was traded at our dealership. Gave it to my wife, then a grocery rep, who traveled all over the state of Pennsylvania in it for 3 years. 250k miles. Never spent a dime on it other than regular maintenance.

    Dodge sold a badge engineeered version called the Monaco in ‘90-‘92. The also “upgraded” the engine management system to the same type used on their K car based vehicles.

    I loved that Premier so much I bought a 20k mile ‘91 Monaco. With the exception of my ‘75 Rabbit, this was the least reliable car I ever owned. Only early ‘90s Chrysler could find a way to make an AMC built Renault worse…

  30. P Wentzell

    I’ve always liked these (then again, I’m an oddball, too!). Oddly, around here there is a black Dodge Monaco, and a red Eagle Premier. Both of those cars look awful, but they are operational!

  31. Concinnity

    These cars were a restyle of the then current Renault 25. Just the front and rear were changed and the door pressings were unaltered. The PRV V6 was re-engineered to be a full 3.0 litre becoming the Z7X-711 version.

    The exterior restyling was carried out by a Signor Giorgietto Guigiaro’s Ital Design in Italy and the maestro himself ran one of these as his daily driver for a while. Check out the Design Giugiaro badges on the front/side bumper strip. Certainly he had the only one in car mad Italy at the time.

    Other cars designed by Mr Guigiaro include the Mk1 Golf/Rabbit and the Mk1 Scirocco and Passat/Audi 80, the Maserati Merak, Bora, Khamsin and Quattroporte III, the Lancia Delta, Prisma and Thema, the Saab 9000, the Isuzu Piazza/Impulse, the Alfasud and Sud Sprint, the 159 and Brera, the Fiat Uno, Punto, Panda and Chroma, the original, pre-facelift, 007 model, Lotus Espirit, the first Lexus GS300, and the DeLorean DMC12 and many others.

    Renault didn’t skimp on the design and despite the boxy looks, at 0.31 it has a lower drag coefficient than the ‘Aero’ Ford Taurus of the same era. These cars were let down by their build quality, but the survivors are undoubtedly the better ones that have lasted.

    If you own one, you would own a rare car, rarer now than many exotics and a bit of a talking point at any Cars & Coffee and as a bonus the good aerodynamics, lighter weight due to better design than other competitors and punchy V6 make them acceptably quick and economical. Until, perhaps that expensive ZF auto gives any trouble.

  32. Tim Rusling

    My mom had an ’89 Premier ES in gold and it never had a reliability issue and was a great car over the years.
    I bought a silver ’91 ES and loved it. Really got fond of the turn signal control – so effortless without the snap of a normal stalk. The Jensen stereo was quite neat for its time – I used the cassette deck daily – that’s still important to me – I have a tape deck in the factory JBL system on my ’04 Solara.
    The Premiers had issues, it seems, but our two were happy cars that didn’t disappoint.
    They were built in the same AMC plant that now makes the Challenger and 300, and formerly the Magnum.

  33. Daved

    Price Drop! $2100

  34. Tim Rusling

    I still have sales brochures for these cars – most years.

  35. Mark-A

    Still prefer the Renault 25 (especially if fitted with the V6 Turbo) the EU version was sold as a Luxury Vehicle (which seemed in production for a while) Renault ones had a Quadrophonic Stereo, 4x Electric Windows & Leather which was a lot better than the Ford Granada which was seen as competition. It’s a car that U just NEVER see nowadays! Probably coz they have all went back to the earth??

  36. Heather

    I owned the 89 Premier es and it was a wonderful car! I still miss it! It was ver luxurious and only my Audi A6 has the features and comfort that the Eagle has 30 years ago.

  37. Roxy Saunders

    Mine is a little dustier than yours, but in great condition. I’m looking to sell it. Does anyone have a price range? The motorized seat belts work! The car runs well, kept in pristine condition by my dad, a WWII veteran, for 30 yrs. It was last smogged in 2017 and we have all the records for the vehicle. I am posting on Craigs List LV tomorrow. Thanks.

    Like 1
  38. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    https://www.nadaguides.com/Cars/Manufacturers?from=classic And follow the prompts for value…😉

  39. Tim Rusling

    The biggest issues with these cars today is the lack of service/repair/crash parts – and the availability of anyone willing to work on them.
    I’d love to have another one [to the two previously mentioned] as long as it was a well-cared-for low-miler.

  40. Dominick Bartlett

    I had a ’91 Premier ES as my first car back in 2016, silver with the grey lower cladding. Was not a bad car for $900, darn near mint condition. I had not seen an Eagle Premier before buying it and I do have some great memories. One time, I was taking my sister to work and she says that in her opinion, the car looks so unremarkable and bland, it would be amazing if someone knew what it was. We had the windows down as the A/C in my Premier did not blow cold and required R12 refrigerant. This older guy in a BMW Z3 comes up beside us at a red light and asks “Is that an Eagle Premier?!”. I said yes, he responded by saying he had not seen one in 20 years and he married his wife and rented one for his honeymoon. The car sadly died a tragic death in 2017 due to idiots cutting the hoses for the radiator. I eventually found another Premier, an ’89 LX in Logan, Ohio and though it was fun owning one again, it was not quite the same as my first one had automatic seatbelts, a graphic equalizer on the radio, floor shift, bucket seats and all power accessories. The ’89 did not have that so even though it brought some memories back, to me it was like celebrating Thanksgiving without the feast or Christmas without the tree. You can do it, but you will notice something missing. I then had to sell the ’89 to a Renault enthusiast because someone T-boned my 2005 Honda Accord and therefore I had to pay the deductible. 2020 rolls around and I meet someone, I tell her that I would love to own my first car again. Around Christmas, I found a 1991 Eagle Premier ES Limited on Facebook Marketplace, sale price $1500. I had $750 saved. The car was the same year, color and had the same interior as my first car. I saw it and I wanted it more than anything, even if it was 4 hours away. The seller and I kept in touch and after some other Eagle enthusiast backed out of the sale, I knew I had to act fast. I asked the seller if he would take $1200 cash for it about a week later. He said he would, but he would take $1100 for it if I bought the battery for it which I did, put it in the car and drove it home after about a week after buying it.
    The car needed a lot of work and I was surprised and indeed thankful it made it 165 miles home on dry rotted tires. Since I bought it, I replaced the tires, air filter, thermostat, coolant temperature sensor, tie rod end, front wheel bearings and gas cap. I also got an alignment, speed sensor cleaning and oil change done because counter steering any car is no fun. It was very obvious that the previous owner, whose nephew I bought the car from did not know how to mechanically take care of a car and these PRV engines can be picky. The old oil had to be not changed in 10-15 years. After all this and before replacing anything, so far so good! No breakdowns, no major issues. However, if someone can give me leads to a voltage regulator, feel free to give me a call at 419-512-6075. It would help me alot!

    Dominick A. Bartlett

    Like 1
    • Tim Rusling

      My congrats on your impeccable taste!
      Orphan cars forever.

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