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Father-Son Project?: 1974 AMC Matador X Coupe


Dramatic styling was one of AMC’s hallmarks, and this large fastback is no exception. It’s currently located in Mesquite, Texas and is listed for sale here on eBay where bidding starts at $2,550 but the buy-it-now is at $2,950. The seller describes it as an ideal father-son project, and I’m inclined to agree.


The Matador coupe was newly styled by Bob Nixon for 1974, and was actually named by Car and Driver as the “Best Styled Car” for that year. It’s pretty easy to see that you weren’t going to confuse this with any other car on the road at the time, although it sure looks a little busy to me at the base of the B-pillar, with the vinyl roof edge conflicting with the door turn up and not following the window line to the C-pillar. This vinyl top may have been added to the car at the dealer, as it doesn’t match the lines of the ones in factory brochures. This car is the “X” model, which featured a sport steering wheel, blacked out grille and other “sporty” features. Seeing the original wheel covers intact is unusual on these cars, as they are quite heavy and often fell off.


I’m guessing you are saying to yourself now (if you like this car) why is it so inexpensive? With air conditioning, power brakes and steering and a lot of originality, what’s not to like? Here’s the answer: rust. There are bubbles appearing in a lot of places, on doors, fenders, under the vinyl roof and in the rocker panels. Some touch-up work has been done to cover them up, and to the seller’s credit they have added pictures of most of the spots and make no effort to conceal the issues. On the bright side, the under car pictures don’t show any major issues, so the rust is something that can be dealt with by an enthusiast and one could enjoy the car in the meantime.


The car really shines one the inside. The odometer shows 38,741 miles and it might just be real, based on the interior shots. If not, someone sure has taken care of the car on the inside, although I’m left wondering how many different shades of brown are actually in the interior! One interesting feature on this car is the gauge just to the left of the radio; it’s a rudimentary fuel economy gauge (I’m guessing really a vacuum gauge) that reflects the Arab Oil Crisis that was going on when this design entered the market. You will need to eventually source a windshield as this one is cracked.


Under the hood, we find a nice appearing AMC V-8. I don’t know enough to tell which engine it is, although it matches a picture I found online of the top speck 401 V-8, even down to the chrome valve covers. Any AMC experts that can identify this for sure? The seller tells us they’ve replaced much of the fuel system and that it’s a little cold-natured on startup, but runs and drives well with no smoke or excess noise. Personally, if you’re a fan, I can’t see any reason not to recommend this car as long as you are willing to deal with the rust areas. Let us know if you’re interested, or tell us if you click that buy-it-now button!


  1. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    A very nice looking, original car that screams for whitewalls!

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  2. Avatar photo George

    Very low miles and good condition. I agree, the vinyl top does not match any other pictures, so most likely a dealer installation or bodyshop. But here’s another option, do a Penske tribute car.

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    • Avatar photo sir mike

      like the way you think….great idea.

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  3. Avatar photo MountainMan

    It sure is clean inside. Looks like a good deal on a budget classic, still original down to the hubcaps! I love the hood/headlight / grill area on these, kinda reminds me of a Pinto though but something about the front of this car just does it for me
    ….and yeah, that sure is a whole lot of brown going on

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  4. Avatar photo Rick

    the perfect ride to take to the premiere of the new Star Wars movie. Heck, there’s probably a character in the movie that drives one of these . . .

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    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      Hi Rick, Officer Pete Malloy ( the late Martin Milner) drove one of these as his personal car toward the end of the Adam-12 series, when they used AMC police cars. These were odd looking, but what do you expect from the company that gave us the Pacer and Gremlin. I like it. (as with all AMC cars)

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  5. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Two thumbs up for this post. There were color combinations and wheels that could really make this body style look cool. This car doesn’t have either the cool colors or good wheels. Still, it’s so funky that it’s uber-cool. I bet that 401 gets it, too.

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  6. Avatar photo Mark S

    Very nicely kept car interior is in great shape the rust is not to far along if it is addressed soon. I’d personally lose that vinyl top. The only negative that I can see in this deal is these amc’s are the most butt ugly body style of there time and for that reason I wouldn’t want it if it were for sale for $100.00, but as they say there’s an a$$ for every seat. I hope someone take it on and deals with that rust. one thing about driving a car like this is you can’t really tell that it’s ugly when your sitting in the drivers seat.

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  7. Avatar photo Rob

    Oddball car! Don’t see too many like this. Very clean. I would bet it has the 401. When I worked at the local ford dealer one of these was traded in for a LTD in 83. I did the check on the “X” and test drove it. That big a$$ matador got with it quickly!!! Really surprised me. Left a good impression on me to this day. Cool find!
    Also drove a gremlin X that had a 401 if I remember correctly. Would love to see one of these pop up on here. ..

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  8. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    seller also has a 1955 Packard Super Clipper 2 door hardtop for sale on e-bay

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  9. Avatar photo Doug

    Though it looks decent, it’s not an X. The X came with bucket seats, console and floor shifter, black stripe around the car, and rally wheels. A picture of one of mine from back in the day.

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  10. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    It is sold.

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  11. Avatar photo Tundra/BMW Guy

    Thankfully!!!! IMHO, that car is U G L Y! Even in the pic above with the rims and tires and rear end lifted, it is still U G L Y! I apologize to any AMC lovers that I have offended but other than the engine, I am unable to find a redeeming quality about that thing! Again, I am sorry for any offense!!
    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

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  12. Avatar photo Mike

    The vinyl top could have been installed to cover up hail damage, My Dad’s shop had done a large number of vinyl tops for hail damage for a lot of insurance company’s during the 70’s and 80’s, it was cheaper than trying to pull out the dents or filling them, or cutting the top of them and installing a new old. Hoods and truck lids where cheap to replace, but never the top of a car.

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    • Avatar photo frank

      That Vinyl roof is an add on items by someone, it’s not correct or at least not factory style.

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  13. Avatar photo Rick

    I had a Matador X for most of 1977. Red with white stripe and vinyl roof. Photos do not truly convey how big these cars are. It was longer and wider than my Mom’s 4 door Cutlass. It was faster, too, but got terrible gas mileage. I had no regrets when I sold it.

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