So Ugly It’s Cool: 1986 AMC Eagle Wagon


Reader Doug T recently sent us an email with a link to this AMC Eagle Wagon here on eBay and his accompanying commentary was so fun that we decided we just had to post his whole email. Please enjoy! From Doug – If they were to ever make Waynes world 3 this would be the car to have in it. I always thought these were the ugliest things on wheels. But funny story, one of my ex-girlfriends, when I met her she was visiting from Eastern Oregon and her best friend was driving one of these all stock.


I actually rode in it. Her friend was one of these bubbly crazy personalities and she had gone to California in the 1980s and appeared on one of those game shows (Price is Right?). They loved her on the show as she squealed and jumped up and down a lot, as they like that sort of thing with contestants. So, she did well enough they had her on a couple episodes.


She won the car and a whole bunch of other stuff including a bunch of kitchen appliances and other game show swag. On her way home to Oregon on the return trip she had rented a U-haul trailer to carry all her winnings. On the trip somewhere she got in a wreck (might have dozed off at the wheel?). She over corrected and the trailer tipped and all her stuff went down the side of a cliff or embankment. Only the car survived. To add insult to injury she didn’t think much about the taxes and got a serious tax bill for all the stuff she won and she had a hard time paying the tax bill and only thing she had to show for it was the AMC. When I knew her this was around 1994 and it was still going strong but I sure thought it was ugly. She lived in the Dalles, Oregon so if you see a aging beauty driving one of these, that’s her.


This one has had some mods done to it, it’s so ugly its kind of cool, but I would have a hard time being seen in it unless I used it for a ski-run car. Go kinda hill-billy rally car style with some big spot lights, bash guard on the front and some nerf bars on the sides. Up on the mountain passes here its not uncommon to end up playing bumper cars at night when the roads ice up. Especially in the ski area parking lots but there is a stretch on Mount Hood HWY 35 not far from Mt. Hood Meadows ski area where the road ices up all the time and the road is banked the wrong way. Always a lot of pile ups thru there and if you slow down at all you can slide sideways into the oncoming lanes. Two time I have gotten wedged into slow moving 20+ car pile ups thru there. Takes forever to untangle all the cars and no amount of flagging oncoming traffic will help as the other drivers just stare at you stupidly and then pile into the growing pile (The lifted 4×4 trucks are the worst).


Another poorly formed idea would be really fun! Get a fake deer carcass and strap it to the car, have blood dripping down the sides and an internal windshield washer pump and squirt nozzles with a remote control for it. Have one of those servo motors so when people walk up to check it out or when side by side in heavy traffic you can toggle the switch so the head and neck raise up and blood squirts from several bullet holes or orifices, then when people try to flag you down, smile stupidly at them and give a big hearty wave and keep motoring on. And during the holiday season, it would be great to have a big Christmas wreath on the front end along with some Christmas ornaments hanging on the luggage rack. Just make sure you have some sappy bumper stickers or obnoxious stick figure family’s on the back window.

Special thanks to Doug for sharing this find and for his ideas of what to do with this Eagle!


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  1. jeff

    I lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1980’s and these things were everywhere. They really sold well up in snow country. For as ubiquitous as they were then, I NEVER see them now (I’ve moved down to troll country, you know, under da bridge). I always stop and stare whenever I run across one. Who doesn’t want a 4WD station wagon?

    • Eric

      My buddies dad drove one as his mail car in Atlantic mine Just outside of Houghton / Hancock area

      • jeff

        Hey, I know Atlantic Mine, old company town. I might have seen your buddy’s Eagle back in the day. (MTU, Class of ’90)

  2. DAN


  3. JMB#7

    Already sold. This was the forerunner to the modern SUV Cross-over. The wagon is the clear winner in the Eagle line-up.

  4. Howard A Member

    These were very popular in rural Wisconsin for letter carriers. They got the mail through, until they were replaced by Subaru Outbacks. ( gas mileage was rather dismal with these) Fact is, once in a while, you’ll see them still out there. Pretty much, the last of the Mohican’s, This would be replaced by that awful Eagle Premier. After this car, AMC would never be the same.
    I’m sorry if I don’t see Doug’s deer humor. Deer/auto collisions account for over 1 million accidents, ( I have close calls all the time) causing 1.1 billion dollars in property damage, and claim almost 200 lives each year. That probably could have been left out of the car ad. Someone got it for $2750. Great deal, but not to worry, these come up from time to time. They may not have front fenders though.

  5. Blindmarc

    One of my favorite AMC’s ever……

  6. Blindmarc

    eBay says unsold. A good deal for little dollars…..

  7. JW

    When I have seen one they are always white with black accents, I really like them and don’t think they are any uglier than half the new cars of today.

    • Car Nut Seattle

      I agree. I don’t find them ugly at all. In fact, I find them more attractive than what’s being offered today.

    • jeff

      The brown with the yacht paneling is the best.

  8. Car Nut Seattle

    Sweet looking car. I used to see these when I was a boy. I’m thinking in my late pre-teen, early teen years. I’ve always liked these cars. It’s a damn shame someone didn’t take the car under its wing and offered it as one of their own model.

  9. John

    About 2 years ago this ad was posted in Craigslist in Birmingham, AL. It too was so well written I actually saved the ad. I attached the picture of the car in question as well. Please enjoy.

    Are you prepping for Snowmagedon 2014/15, the Zombie Apocalypse, or the impending Ebola outbreak? Do you like bacon, guns, and America? If you answered no to any of these questions then this car and the survival of the human race shouldn’t fall into your hands. What you see here is a rare 1992 Plymouth Laser RS AWD. What makes it rare? Well just freakin look at it. I said LOOK AT IT! Just take in the awesomeness that could be yours! This baby had a blown motor, busted back glass and a hole in the windshield when I got it. I can neither confirm nor deny the allegations that Chuck Norris himself caused this damage after a wild night out with Mister T at the Boobie Bungalow.

    The engine was completely rebuilt/replaced. Roughly 4k miles on it.

    The struts were replaced with KYB excel struts, combined with custom 1.5 inch lift plates, and coil over spring conversion kit.

    The steering wheel lock was gone, so the ignition is via a push button, and the carpet (which resembled something you’d find in the bathroom of a youth hostel in Colorado after a Cheech and Chong concert) was trashed as well as the head liner and rear seats (due to your mothers wishes). Ac is there, but doesn’t work. Heat is good. Has a few “custom” gauges, and Warn dual beam lights. Dented and dinged up, but so much fun.

    The wheels are jeep stocks with 29ish tall tires (4k miles on them) rubs slightly at lock. (They say beer now).

    Windshield still has a hole in it, cause duct tape, that’s why! Why spend $250 on a windshield when you have duck tape! This is a great beat around car, off-road capable, daily driver.

    Would consider trades on other mitsubishi products, datsun pickup (pre 1973), ford courier, mazda repu… Etc.

    • John

      Sign this guy up to write for Barn finds.

      • John

        Why is it rare? Just freaking look at. I said LOOK AT IT!

        Pure poetry.

  10. ccrvtt

    Thanks to Doug T for a highly entertaining write up. Please send more! However, I do think they were fairly decent looking, especially for style-challenged AMC. I really like the idea of a row of rally lights and some nerf bars.

    I understand that Yoopers used to gather round on a Saturday night with a few cases of Stroh’s or Hamm’s and watch them rust out, which is why you don’t see too many anymore. AMCs, I mean. The Yoopers are still there at last count.

    If memory serves this body was derived from the Amazing Hornet, a 4-door sedan whose left front and right rear (& vice versa) doors were interchangeable. What a concept! No wonder Wayne & Garth were AMC fans.

    No downvotes from any AMC apologists, please. My dad worked for Nash-Kelvinator after WWII (the Big One). I came home from the hospital in a dark green over light green Ambassador fastback, one of the all-time coolest cars ever made. Dad traded that for a Rambler Cross Country styled by none other than Pinin Farina (when it was still two words). If you’ve never seen one google image it. Very, very cool wagon.

  11. Truman L

    Ugly is just ugly, no lipstick on a pig here just beat down with the ugly stick.

  12. Doug Towsley

    Thanks for the response guys. I LOVE a well written ad, and while I try to restrain myself, have been known to send rants to poorly written or bad ads on CL and FeeBay. What? no pictures? Wheres the engine? Does not always go well or well received.
    I send stuff to the BF staff from time to time, but In the words of my good Friend Ken C. “I am best taken in small doses”. So not always posted.
    As to the Deer menace. While I like a bit of fun, I am not immune to that either. I live on a country road with by stats we have more dead deer carcasses than any other road in our county as per the transportation dept. My wife had the passenger side of her Toyota mangled by a sex crazed drunken Buck. (Ruttting season and they were eating fermenting apples) She did not hit the deer, the Deer hit her which is not uncommon. I have several friends who have been knocked off their motorcycles by crazed deer as well. Drive safe and have fun.

  13. Guggie 13

    My parents had one of these , great car and good on gas , took it on a road trip once and got almost 30 mpg , great in snow ( upstate NY) always wanted one ended up with a Grand Wagoneer instead loved that one also , not as good on gas .

  14. Rustytech Member

    Never thought of these as ugly, this one looks like it got rode hard and put up wet. There was a nice one for sale near me a couple of months ago for $3500 that made this one look like a junk yard refugee. I should have bought it. These did have terminal rust issues, but when you consider where and what most of them were used for it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I had a neighbor a few years back that had a snow plow attached to it. Deer jokes don’t go over well here either, I’ve hit several in my life time and will tell you it’s no fun.

  15. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    Good humor is funny, too bad some people have no sense of humor. A moving, bleeding deer would be genius, kind of like my brother in law who would glue a purse to the roof of his truck. These aren’t as ugly as a 66 Ambassador, a buddy had a Hornet, but he always did like unusual cars like that. I’d take one of these, if it was free, I did pay for an old wagon, a 55 Chevy of course.

  16. Another Bob

    I wonder if these ever came with a low range option? Probably not. I quite like the looks compared to the generally lousy domestic offerings of this era. Can’t beat a wagon. Great car for unplowed roads.

    • Car Nut Seattle

      I agree. Size-wise, it’d be perfect. I could drive something like the AMC Eagle without feeling like I’m driving a land yacht.

  17. Stephen

    My neighbor still has his eagle he bought new. Went to the dealership to buy a spirit for his then wife and walked out with a 1981 eagle sedan. Brown on brown, she never really drove the car and collectively has about 21,000 on it. The car lasted with him longer than his wife. He got the car in the divorce and has driven it sparingly since his retirement.

    • ToniM

      Wondering if the fact that he bought her a brown on brown Eagle sedan had anything to do with the divorce…

  18. Brad

    I want one so bad, it hurts.

  19. Car Nut Seattle

    I agree. I love this car. Between its dated appearance and its AWD, it’s a car I’ve wanted since I was a boy. :)

    • Jason

      My dad had one.That thing could go anywhere! I watched him snatched two cars at the same time out of a mud hole that were stuck.He yanked on them hard three or four times but,He got them going again!

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