Revisited: 1979 AMC AMX Spirit

Here is the story, so far, of this spirited little Gremlin. The days of the muscle car AMX were long gone by 1979 and this was based on the Spirit, a restyled Gremlin, but with a V8 and a 4-speed option. This AMX sat for 20 years until it was rescued and advertised on craigslist in Beacon Falls, Connecticut for $4,500. The seller did nothing to the car except perhaps hose it off. Jon wrote about it here on Barn Finds last October. Then someone bought it and moved it about 10 miles up the road to Waterbury, Connecticut. The AMX is now listed here on eBay and bidding is currently at $3,600.

Jon noted there was no picture of the engine in the previous owner’s listing. This time the seller has provided a great photo of the 125 horsepower 304 V8. This looks like the cleanest part of the car! The new owner did a lot of mechanical restoration, including the brakes, fuel system, cooling system and other items that needed attention.

It runs and drives now but the new owner has not done any cosmetic work inside or out.  The interior is nice, but doesn’t appear to have even been vacuumed.

The previous owner claimed the car was rust free. The current owner states that it has “only minor surface rust here and there” but also provides pictures of a couple of areas with rust damage. He has acquired a matching “AMX” decal and stripes for the driver’s side as well as wheel flares, spoiler and original wheels with center caps. Jon mentioned the lack of the flares and front air dam so this is good news.

Here’s the driver’s side waiting for its decal and stripes. It looks like this AMX just needs a good buff and wax and an interior cleaning to be a nice driver. One has to wonder why the seller has not done this. The rust will have to be addressed, of course, and could be extensive. Has the seller found some really bad and expensive news that makes him want to flip it quickly? This is a $5,000 car at best so the seller is likely to end up upside down if he paid more than $3,000 for it. What do you think will be the next chapter of this story?


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  1. jdjonesdr

    My guess is the seller is hoping to make a few bucks on the flip

    Like 3
    • David Frank David Frank Member

      Hoping is the key word, but do you think it’s really possible? Or perhaps he’s bailing to cut his losses. Not detailing, or at least cleaning up a car always puzzles me.

      Like 7
  2. Superdessucke

    Probably not a good flip considering the cost of shipping or gasoline he spent to get it home will probably eat up any possible profit standing alone. These cars are only worth so much money.

    Regardless of the seller’s motivations I think these are pretty cool little cars. this is particularly desirable with the factory four speed and V-8. About as good as it gets if you like these.

    Put on a real dual exhaust system, a cam kit, and some decent gears and you’ll have a pretty peppy car that won’t break the bank.

    Like 7
    • David F

      Luckily he only lived 10 miles away so even a tow shouldn’t have been too expensive.

      Like 5
      • Superdessucke

        As I said…

        Like 1
      • Top Jimmy

        That would explain the missing spoiler and spats. I always wanted one of these, remembering a blue one that sat at the local AMC showroom. Telltale fender rot makes me guess it’s a rustbucket.

  3. sparkster

    In the early 80’s a friend sold me a 72′ Corolla for $75 bucks that ran and drove. The u joints in the drive shaft were shot but it ran and drove. Took it home washed and detailed it. Painted some of the faded plastic parts like the grill satin black. Put it up for sale in front of house for $699 and had a line at my door when I arrived home form work that day. The first guy who test drove it said the driveshaft makes noise. I said yup, $300 extra if you want me to fix it or I can asked the next guy in line if he’s interested the Corolla. That guy gave 7 nice one hundred dollar bills and said thanks. It’s amazing what soap and water will do.

    Like 15
    • AMXBrian

      Boy times have changed. My buddy is selling a Forester roller for $500. He’s had people immediately offer $400 without even looking at it, lower offers, and one lady who offered $150 plus she would save my buddy money by paying to have it towed away. His response was a stern nope.

      I’ve had similar luck when I sold my PT Cruiser parts car. Someone wanted to trade me a Lift Chair Recliner. Thankfully I found another person with more sense to buy it to repair his car with.

      Like 3
  4. Dennis

    For one year (I think ‘79) you could get a v8 and a five speed in these cars.
    Considering the year that’s pretty impressive.
    Of course then they stopped offering that until the Japanese made them step up 15? years later….

    Like 1
    • XMA0891

      For the last two AMX’s I know it was ’79 with the 304, ’80 with the 258, as the only motor options.
      Pretty sure a four-speed was the only option for a manual transmission.
      The five-speeds came in later – In the Spirit GT’s and Eagles.
      All of it is rare iron now.

      Like 3
    • Dominic

      The 5 speed was not available until 1982, making the 1982 Spirit GT “the first pony car to offer a five-speed transmission!” according to AMC’s marketing department.

      Like 2
  5. Max

    I recently bought 81 AMC Concord DL coupe. I was Never an AMC fan but being classic collector I liked have piece of AMC history. Its blue exterior with light blue interior, 2.5 4cylinder, Auto, PS, PB, Factory AC, Factory AM/FM radio, rear defrost. has 50K original miles. I paid 7K for it. No not for sale! just sharing my passion for classic vehicles!

    Like 2
    • Todd 304

      I realize that you’re probably over the moon about your Concord, I know I still am about my AMC, but you don’t have to list your build sheet every time.

      I want to hear what you think about this car in the ad, and even how it compares to yours if you have any specific knowledge that is relevant to this AMX.

      Like 8
      • nrg8

        Alan from Lebanon highjacking this cars spot light…. Old habits die hard huh Max?

        Like 7
    • Bo Ring

      Your copy paste on every post that matches a car similar to one that you own is getting a bit tiring. I’ve heard about the concord on every recent AMC post. Glad that you like cars, but try to be original Alan/Max. Same old post gets old after a while — I’ve seen photos of your Concord countless times and I still think that it is a goofy car at best!

      Like 8
      • Max

        You are very Rude and Indifferent. I have right to post on every topic without harassment! No my 81 Concord is Not goofy as U state!

        Like 1

    Even though it is nothing like 68-70 Amx for the time period nice little, light cars with 4 or 5 speed they would be fun, I believe 79 last year for v8 engine in these while 258 6 could be built and have good power so can 304 without breaking the bank,ie cheaper than 258

    Like 4
  7. Max

    This a photo my 81 Concord before I bought it by seller

    Like 9
  8. Howard A Member

    After a friend had dismal results with a new SX4, I never cared for the “Spirit” anything, especially this, kind of an insult as to what had become of the mighty AMX( kind of like the Cougar) Still, this was as good as it got for muscle cars, even though, it was anything but. With 10.2, 0-60 times, and 17.8@78 mph in the 1/4, it was no muscle car, for example, a ’79 Lil’ Red Express truck ( 0-60 under 7 seconds, and 14.7, 1/4 mile) would eat it for lunch. But muscle cars were fading fast, and this was the last gasp for AMC. It was the last car AMC offered with a V8, 1980, the AMX could only be had with a 6, and ’81, gone forever. That alone makes this worth saving.

    Like 4
  9. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Are you going to use alllll of that horsepower?

    Like 1
  10. peter

    The car shown here looks very much like one model of our Australian Holden Torana. In fact it looks as though we copied it. However, the most powerful 308 or 307 or 304 engine used (I am not sure which one was used) developed 349hp.

    Like 2
  11. Falstaff TR

    I’m constantly amused by the descriptions sellers use when selling. Previous seller used “rust free”, second “surface rust”. The photo looks like it shows 1 hole and one that could be a hole with a slight finger push. Long live the straight shooters

    Like 4
  12. James R Burton

    got a buddy that has an 82 AMX with a herman lewis built 401. talk about an AMX with gitty up an go, this thing is scary. mr. lewis’ shop is right up the road and he use to build some nasty AMC eng. had a 88 daytona with a 500 cid AMC eng, in it. a super stock class car. my buddy’s AMX is satin black no crome on it at all. first time i met him i ask him what size chevy eng. was in his car an after all the sware words and something about beating my but he explaned the lewis built 401 and told him i knew lewis a long time ago, see lewis passed away a couple yrs. ago, right after he was on stacy david’s car show were he was building an amc eng. for stacy. lewis made his own aluminum intakes and heads, oiling systems and so on.

  13. JC

    If I was really into AMC’s… I’d probably go for something turn key instead of “mystery”… like this little Gremlin-

    Like 2
    • Max

      beautiful Original Gremlin!

      Like 1
  14. David Miraglia

    Nearby in Connecticut good, but I don’t like the color layout.

  15. Mitchell Ross Member

    The price for that car is right on the money. It has the most desirable drive train of any late AMC. Rust buckets sell for $3000 and this one is mostly sorted.

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