Full Size Fun! 1975 AMC Matador 360

This is one of those cars that you either love – or you don’t. After being AMC’s mid-size entry from 1971-73 (replacing the Rebel that replaced the Classic), the Matador was a full-size car for the rest of its run (1974-78). The most recognizable version of the latter is the 2-door coupe, like the seller’s car. These were large automobiles, 209 inches in length (more than 17 feet long!). This one looks to be in great condition and is available here on craigslist in Torrance, California for $10,750. Kudos to local_sheriff for passing along this “big” tip!

The second-generation Matador shared its platform with the AMC Ambassador. When that car was discontinued for 1975, the Matador would be the company’s largest vehicle. They offered premium trim levels under the Barcelona and Oleg Cassini monikers, but neither seem to apply to the seller’s car. It was a move to position the car in the personal luxury segment (like the Ford Thunderbird). The coupe’s styling was unorthodox, to say the least, which was not unusual for AMC (remember the Gremlin and Pacer?).

Whenever I see one of these cars, I always remember the Matador used by the James Bond adversary played by Christopher Lee in the 1974 flick, “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Cars were always an important part of these films and – in this case – they had one you could strap wings on to and turn it into a flying car (airplane). That may have been the wildest Bond movie car yet!

This ’75 Matador is one of nearly 100,000 coupes AMC built between 1974-78. More than half were built the first year and then production slowly trickled down the remainder of the run. The seller has owned this car for the last four years and has helped put 95,000 miles on the odometer. From what we can tell, the body and paint look good with no reference to any rust or collision repair. The interior is especially nice and has that ‘70s look to it when it comes to fabric choices and colors.

Under the hood should be a 360 cubic inch V8 engine with a 2-barrel carburetor. Because of the size of the car, it’s not likely to be thought of it as a rocket ship. Probably not the most fuel-efficient cruiser, either, given all the efforts made that decade to detune cars for emissions purposes. The seller mentions the car has an HEI distributor, which we assume is aftermarket rather than included as standard equipment. Hagerty appraises these cars in Excellent condition to be worth about $7,600, so hopefully, the seller is agreeable to negotiating. It’s a safe bet that this car would be 1 of 1 at Cars & Coffee any given weekend.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    As soon as I saw the car I immediately thought of the Bond movie. As a kid it left quite a impression. Also worth mentioning was the cool car chase scene where Rodger Moore drove a orange 74 Hornet through the dealership window and later did a barrel roll jump over a river. One of the best car stunts of all time. While I certainly would never want to own this series Matador it has taken me over 30 years to grow to appreciate what AMC did to capture some market share.

    Like 12
    • b-boy

      Apparently AMC paid out some serious product placement money. How else do you get 007 in an AMC Hornet? :D

      Like 15
    • local_sheriff

      That Bond movie is too what immediately comes to mind when I see a Matador coupe, this is even wearing similar colors. I remember asking myself how – in a country more known for its tuk-tuks – the chances would be to stumble upon an AMC dealer, and also how the heck a guy like JW Pepper would voluntarily vacation in Thailand.

      I like these cars though not my favorites but I’ve often wondered how it would’ve been received if it didn’t have the frog eyes headlights. With a quad hidden headlight setup it would’ve offered completely different attitude
      https://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/comment-image/538103.jpg

      Like 12
    • Jack in RI

      I’m amazed he could escape Bond in one of these with “Goodnight” in the trunk/boot of the car. Bond’s Hornet was the car to have!
      Gotta love the wallet the sheriff pulls out for the authorities!

      Like 3
  2. Moparman Member

    Count me in the “like” camp. This one looks good, although my personal preference would be an “X” model, sans the vinyl top. Repair the driver’s seat, detail and cruise! I, too, remember the Bond movie as well. GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 10
  3. mike b

    My best positive take: At least it’s not the Barcelona?

    Like 1
  4. MrBZ

    For me, these cars signify Pete Malloy’s questionable decision to trade his Mustang in for a Matador coupe. With my dad and 2 brother’s watching with me, I can still hear the collective groan “oh, man, he bought one of THOSE”?

    Like 7
    • Timmy V

      Yep. That and the episode about kids smoking “grass” (eww, why would someone smoke lawn clippings) made no sense to me as a kid. I do remember these cars coming in for a lot of ridicule, but never thought they were that bad compared to a lot of other stuff out there at the time.

      Like 4
    • BigSteve

      MrBZ the show also realistically had the Matador in the shop all the time. Reed was always picking up or dropping Malloy off at the garage. At least the 73 4dr Matador squad car they had was a real 401 police package.

      Like 1
  5. Arby

    I understand they had to quit making them because of the bullfighters protest of the derogatory use of their name…

    Like 3
  6. Shawn

    Growing up a neighbor of ours had one of these. Even new and slightly used, they still looked odd and out of place. However, it was different, and even in brown it grabbed attention. While not a car I’d own, I still love seeing them just because it reminds me of riding with the windows down in the neighbor’s car for a quick run to the grocery store. For the condition it’s in, someone(s) loved it, and that I can always appreciate.

    Like 7
  7. Jcs

    Through the years I have run across several of these that have had the bumpers removed completely. The difference that it makes in the looks of the car are transformative, and fantastic. Truly brings the radical design home.

    Of you’ve not seen one, Google “bumperless AMC Matador and hit images, several examples come up.

    Like 9
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Looks a lot like my ex FIL’s car, but IIRC his had some striping on it. Not bad driving but not a road rocket either. Not too many years old and the rust was taking over everywhere on the body. Interior and exterior colors if not the same were very close.

    Like 2
  9. Rosseaux

    I remember these from when they were new and I have remained 100% ambivalent. At first glance, this is a slap-in-the-face, shocking, aggressive kind of ugly. But, after some study or from another angle, or in another color or trim, it has a daring kind of…panache? If I were a collector I’d want one, but I’d be embarrassed to drive it. Good for AMC for keeping us from falling asleep during the malaise era.

    Like 4
  10. MrBZ

    I read CC on a semi-regular basis, but never saw this. Amazing transformation. Thanks, local_sheriff!!

  11. Luke Fitzgerald

    Always odd – like an American car reproduced in Europe

    Like 2
  12. Rex Kahrs Member

    I would walk past 5 GTOs, 10 Corvettes, 15 Camaros, and 20 Mustangs to check this out at a car show. It’s different.

    Like 15
  13. Sam61

    Ditto to all the Bond comments…2 best cars stunts IMHO.

    My dad was awarded a 76 Matador Brougham Coupe for being a Howard Johnson’s manager of the month. We drove the into the mid 1980’s. The car was kicked down to me for a couple years in college. Another guy in the dorm had a white/gold Oleg Cassini Matador Coupe.

    Our car was a “root beerish” metallic brown, gold pin stripes, am radio, air, 304, crank windows, rear window defogger, white wall 14″ BIAS ply tires and (drum roll) plaid fabric w/vinyl trim interior. I remember getting Dad’s permission to buy an am/fm radio AND second speaker for the rear deck. Only the finest from Radio Shack.

    We were proud of Dad’s accomplishment although some neighbors probably thought the joke was on us for driving a Matador.

    Ironic how AMC, Howard Johnson’s and Radio Shack our all memories.

    Like 18
    • Pnix

      Must have been a Realistic radio and speaker.

      Like 2
  14. Steve Clinton

    Even though I was (and still am) an AMC fan, when this Matador was introduced, I thought it was hideous. Time has done nothing to change my opinion.

    Like 1
  15. David Miraglia

    one of my favorite AMC designs of the 1970’s along with the Pacer. I would love to own one.

    Like 4
  16. Kevin

    It’s in good shape, and hopefully someone will enjoy it,But I personally think it’s a truly ugly car,but I know, beauty is absolutely in the eye of the beholder…

    Like 1
  17. Car Nut Tacoma

    I wish I could say that I like the Matador coupe. I’d prefer the 4 door Matador and the wagon body style Matador. My parents had one when I was little, and my mother didn’t like the car very well.

  18. Dave

    UGLY there are no more words

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