Always Garaged: Rust-Free 1979 AMC Concord D/L

We have seen quite a few examples of the “fancy Hornet” over the last few years here at Barn Finds. I have never driven a 1979 AMC Concord D/L such as the one shown here on eBay in Anderson, California, but I would love to see how much difference there really was between the Hornet and Concord. The seller has a buy-it-now price of $3,700 listed for this one, or you can make an offer.

The Concord went slightly upscale from the AMC Hornet beginning in the 1978 model year and they were available until the 1983 model year, but by then only four-door sedans were offered. I like four-door cars but a two-door Concord with a landau vinyl top and opera lights would be my top choice. Add Saxon Yellow color-keyed wheel covers to match the paint and vinyl top, even better! You have to remember, I’m not a muscle car guy, in general, I like the unusual stuff.

The seller refers to the D/L as the top of the line, but the Limited would have been the top model with leather upholstery and a few other features. The seats would have been very comfortable no matter what material covered them. I believe these seats are vinyl but I’m not positive. Speaking of not positive, I’m a little confused about the grille on this car. The VIN decodes to it being a 1979 but if I’m not mistaken, it has a 1981 or 1982 grille on it? Anyone? The taillights look like they’re correct for a 1979 but a 1979 Concord grille would have been a waterfall-type grille, at least as far as I know – this one has me stumped. One of you will know for sure.

The engine is a little confusing, too. It looks great in there and the seller says that it’s a new motor as of 16,000 miles ago and it’s leak and drip-free. The confusing part is they say that it’s a 3.8L (232 cubic-inch) inline-six, but the VIN decodes to being a 4.2L (258 cubic-inch) inline-six. Again, one of you will probably know. Maybe when they replaced the engine they put in a 232? All of that date coding aside, this really does look like a solid Concord and it would be a great way for someone to jump into a relatively old car for not much money. Do any of you have any thoughts on the grille and engine questions?


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    The perfect car to drive to your needlepoint club meeting!

    Like 7
  2. Joe

    Grill not right, should be waterfall. Seats are velour. Not sure but I think they still offered the 232 that year. Had a Spirit that needed a grill replacement and the correct grill was not available, even through dealer. Had to settle for newer year grill than belonged.

    Like 1
    • ramblergarage

      1979 did still offer the 232 six. It was the last year for it.

  3. Miguel

    How can you go wrong with this car at this price?

    Like 5
  4. David

    It’s 40 years old and few remain, but who is the buyer for something like this? Who is buying bottom drawer malaise and thinking, “I’ve got my Mona Lisa”?

    Like 3
    • Mitch Ross Member

      David, I guess that would be someone like me. I would get this if I had indoor parking for it.

      Like 3
    • AMXBrian

      Someone who loves oddities, “Hey, I can drive this for cheap, no one will know what it is, people will ask about it, I don’t have to worry about the paint, and it has the same reliable motor as a jeep.”

      Like 4
      • Country Joe

        My high school drivers ed course had about 5 of these Concords for driver training. The training grounds was less than 2 acres, so you couldn’t get over about 25 mph before you had to get on the brakes. They were a fairly comfortable car, as I remember them.

  5. YeYe76

    The intervening 40 years have not made this car any better…

  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice ride. I would really like to know what those small eye bolts screwed to the glove box door are for? Get rid of those and the smiley face stickers and I am in!

  7. George Mattar

    AMC died because it did not have the money to put into R&D like the bottomless pockets at GM, Ford and Chrysler. Hey, but if you’re in your mid 60s like myself, you must remember the famous loan to Iaccoca to save Crapsler, oops Chrysler in 79. His famous comment if you can find a better built car, buy it made him look stupid. I believe that was the dumbest thing an American auto executive ever said. People started buying Hondas and Toyotas. The rest is history. AMC people are firecely loyal to the brand. But Chrysler was smart in buying AMC, to get its hands on Jeep. Jeeps sell like crazy.

  8. That AMC Guy

    The main difference between a Hornet and a Concord, other than styling tweaks, is the Concord has an upgraded interior featuring better dashboard design, better seats, and more sound insulation. This yielded a noticeably quieter and more comfortable ride than the old Hornet. There are no real mechanical or chassis differences, save for rubber “iso-clamps” used on the Concord’s rear leaf springs to better control noise and harshness.

    Like 2
  9. Russ Benney

    Is it your opinion that this is the original paint? In the under-the-hood photo, doesn’t it look like there’s two different colors…a yellow and then something like a tan? Is that typical? Maybe my eyes aren’t what they once were…but I see bright yellow like it’s running down areas with more of a tan color. And the VIN calling out a 258. How could there be a 232 in there then, would it fit correctly? You can discern by now that I know precious little about car mechanics; and so any opinions and thoughts on these couple of matters are most welcome. And thanks.

    • That AMC guy

      Hard to say about the paint colors due to the lighting in the underhood shot.

      The 232 and 258 are externally identical, so would be interchangeable. It’s certainly possible that at some point in the last 40 years an available 232 was dropped in to replace a blown 258.

      That would be for 1971+ engines. The early 1964-1970 sixes had a different bell housing.

      Like 2
  10. Russ Benney

    Thank you for replying. Finding a 232 in there instead of a 258 would be really disappointing.

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