Originality Abounds: 1987 AMC Eagle 4X4

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Before SUVs really took off you had multipurpose vehicles (MPVs) like the American Motors Eagle. Not seen often anymore, they had their dedicated fans, and today, we have uncovered a very sharp-looking 1987 station wagon example with 97K miles on its clock and still wearing its original shade of Garnett Metallic paint. This Eagle is located in Portland, Oregon and is available, here on Barn Finds classifieds for $10,500 OBO.

Introduced in 1980, the Eagle was designed for the driver that wanted off-road capability with passenger car-like comfort and styling. Only constructed in a four-wheel-drive configuration, the Eagle was offered in a four-door sedan and station wagon, two-door coupe and hatchback, and even a rare convertible. The total nine-year production, 1980-1988, yielded about 180K copies with production continually declining year over year. By 1987, the total output was down to 5,900 vehicles spread between the four-door sedan and the four-door wagon.

As stated at the outset, our station wagon example still looks spectacular in its well-preserved finish. The seller advises that this Eagle has been garaged since 2009, but considering its appearance, and age, it probably saw indoor time prior to that. Further added is: “There is no rust anywhere on the car, and I have included photos of the typical rust areas on these cars“. The seller references a door scratch that has been repaired but there is nothing notably out of place on this Eagle and certainly no indication of crash damage or misaligned body panels.

Power is provided by AMC’s tried and true 115 net HP, 258 CI, in-line six-cylinder engine, connected to a transfer case equipped, three-speed automatic transmission. The seller mentions that the previous owner had the timing chain replaced at 55K miles which admittedly, seems unusual. Other improvements include, “an electric in-line fuel pump, a new fuel tank and sending unit, replaced front coil spring idolaters, replaced all upper and lower ball joints and both CV axles, and a front/rear differential inspection (all suspension work done in July of 2020)“. Mechanically, this Eagle is listed as sound and all original, which it is in an overall sense, excluding the obvious replacement parts referenced.

Inside is considered exceptional and shows signs of minimal use. The carpet and headliner have been replaced and the A/C is in working status – always nice to find. The cloth upholstery pattern is typical of this Eagle’s era and it shows beautifully – there is just a slight bit of discoloration on the driver’s seat bottom cushion. Actually, the entire interior looks about perfect and belies this car’s 34 years of age and 97K miles of use.

The saying goes that they are only original once and this AMC Eagle is about as original as you can get. These were truly “interim” cars in that they sat between passenger car design and SUV architecture – the type of vehicle that AMC needed to assert their differentiation in a domestic world controlled by the Detroit Three and sizable market slices being covered by various Japanese and German manufacturers. Actually, 1987 was the end of the line for AMC has Chrysler Corporation acquired it in the summer of that year. So, here’s your chance to acquire one of the last models produced by a fallen flag. Tell me, has anyone owned an AMC Eagle, and if so, how was your experience?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Terrry

    This was made about the same time AMC was bought by Chrysler, and after that the Eagle car was discontinued, but the name would be used for few years as a badge-engineered separate make, with its own models.

    Like 2
    • nlpnt

      Until they figured out that Jeep dealers didn’t need a sedan line to sell.

      Like 3
  2. alphasudMember

    I remember a while back talking about my father test driving one when I was still in school. He didn’t purchase due to the poor fit and finish that the car had. He ended up buying a Audi 5000 instead. That was the first generation 5000 and fit and finish was leagues ahead of the AMC. It was a good car but not without its reliability issues. I have always liked the design and even today it still looks good. I would look into adding fuel injection and bumping the compression to make the car drive stronger. I understand it’s not easy to swap in a 4.0 from a letter Jeep due to block differences needed to mount the front diff.

    Like 2
    • That AMC Guy

      The front differential is indeed mounted to the engine block. Early 4.0 blocks have the mounting bosses for the differential but they are not drilled and tapped. So it seems that when the 4.0 was designed there was some thought given to installing it in the Eagle. (Of course that never happened.)

      I’m not sure how the front diff was mounted on 4-cylinder models with the GM Iron Duke engine. The Eagles I’ve owned were 6-cylinder models.

      Like 3
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Nice looking wagon. I lived in Provo, Utah in the early 80’s when these were just starting to show up. There were a quite a few of them around, I expect because of the 4×4 drive system. This one looks to be a turn key drive away.
    God bless America

    Like 7
  4. Bamapoppy

    A co-worker once showed up with one of these one day and was almost apologetic for having bought it. It was the same color, interior, etc as this one. I was secretly jealous of his purchase and never asked him why he said he could ‘only afford an Eagle.’ I say someone’s going to be thrilled with this vehicle!

    Like 6
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    Here is probably the most misunderstood car in history,,okay, not the most, but this car had it all, and by rights, should have been more popular. Too bad it still had the “AMC” moniker, and at this point, if it didn’t say Jeep, it didn’t matter what was offered. Kind of like Packard or Hudson at their demise. Great vehicles that nobody wanted. Before the Subaru AWD wagons, many rural letter carriers used these in the upper midwest, I bet some still do. I see these in back yards here, but it was all about Subaru in the late 80’s, and these didn’t have a chance. With the lack of choices in passenger car AWD vehicles today, I can’t think of a better car to have than this. Great find.

    Like 13
  6. Uncle Leo

    I currently own a 1987 Eagle wagon with all the bells and whistles. Although it’s rust free, it’s in need of cosmetics. It’s been sitting off road in the garage for 17 years with 65k on the clock. Can’t wait to get it back on the road. Would love to have the wheels that this one has. Sharp looking vehicle.

    Like 11
    • Sam61

      I literally bought an 87 Eagle wagon over the weekend out of WV. Beige over gold with Jeep “turbine” wheels. 67k miles, plaid interior, crank windows, runs, very solid, etc. I’m excited to dig in and get it up to snuff.

      The subject is very nice and worth the ask.

      Like 1
  7. Guggie 13

    My Dad bought the twin to this one , one great car , wonderful in the snow ( upstate NY) Got a lot of good years out of it . I always wanted one but Chose a Wagoneer instead

    Like 3
  8. STEVE

    I might be ten years behind the times but with that mileage I’d value it at 7500. A five figure example should have less than 50,000 miles on it. That said, I love Ramblers and American Motors Cars, especially with that wonderful six.

    Like 2
  9. Gary Rhodes

    A customer and his wife brought their two eagles in for me to service. Both were rural mailmen and put the miles on the cars. Other than routine maintenance the only thing I can think of doing to them was light bulbs. Running the four way flashers day in and day out on the mail route ate them up. I bought the black one when they retired and am sorry I sold it. A fine car that is overlooked.

    Like 6
  10. Mary

    I had both the sx-4 and the wagon!! Loved both if them!! AMC!!!!!

    Like 6
  11. Glenn C. SchwassMember

    I had a co-worker with one around 1984. His had tranny issues with some known problem they had. I don’t remember the particular part but it crapped out a couple times. We had Rebels and a Hornet so these were the same as a Hornet in fancy trim.. I never drove one in snow so don’t know how well they did.

    Like 0
  12. E.T.

    I had a 1981 Eagle that was based on the Gremlin. Big tires and all wheel drive. Great in the snow. My ex got it as part of the divorce settlement.

    Like 0
  13. CJ Gausvik

    I had the hatchback version of the AMC Eagle in two-tone brown. It was a sharp little car, and the 4-wheel drive was handy for getting un-stuck a few times… I put 150,000 miles on it, with only a few minor issues.

    Like 0
  14. Frank of Eden

    I bought mine NEW in 1988 (a wagon)… yes it was one of the last off the line.

    Funny thing though, I had to call AMC’s corporate office to find a dealer who would sell me one. None of the NC dealers wanted to make the effort to find one for me. One dealer even said that he “didn’t have any and didn’t want to get any.” (by the way I had the same problem with Toyota while trying to buy a Camry Hybrid in in 2018, so I bought a Honda Accord Hybrid).

    AMC’s East Coast Regional Mgr. returned my call (within 10 min.s) and told me that he would have a VA dealer call me and that dealer “WOULD find me a car,” he also said they still had many for sale around the East Coast,” then said “If I do not hear for the dealer in 15 min. call me back and let me know!” He was a little upset to say the least.

    It was everything I wanted in a car at the time… a CAR not a truck, with 4 wheel drive, I drove it everyday to my EMS/9-1-1 job… I had to get there… and it never let me down. I kept it on the road about 14 years as my main “go to work car”. It was running fine when I sold it… and still looked good for a 14 year old car.

    Unfortunately it was sold two or three times after me and when I last saw it I was sad to see how it had been treated… it could barely run, and someone had taken the imitation wood off the sides, I guess they had planed to repaint it but sold it before doing so.

    If it was treated well I think it would have run for ever… it always liked to start for me, few things ever broke, and it was a real snow goer.

    Like 0

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