Starsky And Hutch Tribute: 1974 AMC Matador X

Yes, the Matador is one of those cars you either love or you hate, and I fall into the former category simply because of the oddball looks and rarity on today’s roads. This example is the “X” level trim, and it sports paint job that looks like it belongs on a certain Ford product accustomed to theatrical stunts. This Matador is listed here on craigslist with a $3,800 asking price in running/driving condition with a very nice interior.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find. The interior really is a treat, with those nicely bolstered bucket seats appearing to be in excellent condition. Everything else is so-so, with the covering on the console peeling off and what looks like at least some minor cosmetic flaws at the top-center of the dash. The door panels appear sound and the carpets look clean, if not slightly bunched up.

The seller says it runs and drives fine, and that the 304 V8 keeps the Matador running around town as a fully registered vehicle. The California location would indicate to me it has passed the state’s stringent smog testing, but I’d want to confirm that with the seller. According to the listing, the seller is just the second owner of the Matador and he holds the original pink slip.

New tires have been installed and it sounds like the seller went with a wider, staggered setup out back. You don’t see these white “off-road”-style wheels on passenger cars too often – they look like they belong on a Subaru BRAT – but they work here, surprisingly, especially with the white stripes down the side. If you love Matadors, you likely march to the beat of your own drum, and this one looks worthy of saving.

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  1. Dan

    Unless California regulations changed since I moved away, this Matador is exempt from emissions testing. I like the styling, but I find the wagon wheels very out of place.

    • Rob

      Correct. 1975 and prior years are still exempt.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    ’74 Matador is a bucket list car for sure. I need another garage.

  3. dave brennan

    I really miss my 3 matadors!! If this were 1500 miles closer I’d b all over it!!!

  4. DonC

    Starsky drove a 74-76 Ford Gran Torino. They used about 8 of them in the series. Why refer to that with this ad? Am I missing the dry humor?

    • Rube Goldberg

      I didn’t get that either. Pete Malloy of Adam-12 would be a better reference. I read, Paul Michael Glaser hated the Torino, and did everything he could to kill them.

      • Rick Rothermel

        And Pete’s Matador was really ugly… yellow with a brown vinyl roof… far too foofy for a masculine character like him.

  5. Troy s

    Starsky’s hockey stick striped Torino would have smoked this Xfactor machine! Unless this had a hopped up 401, probably a different outcome.
    Most definitely a rarely seen car now, which is actually a nice change, just would have liked to seen something stronger than a 304, despite its solid dependability.
    In California it won’t need the bi-annual smog check,,,transfer of ownership I’m not sure of. I can’t keep up with these laws anymore.

  6. Jwinters

    remove the bumpers and the trailer wheels and its not a bad looking car

  7. Ike Onick

    All I know is MAD magazine did one of their great parodies when they did a “Husky and Starch” cartoon.

  8. Bill the Engineer

    Personally, I’d be more interested in the Pontiac convertible behind it.

  9. mike b

    Tough one to butt slide across.

  10. Erik in RI

    Me 45 yrs. ago when this came out: “No. Just no.”

    Today: “Oh HELL no.”

  11. James Schwartz

    This car was already featured on Barnfinds just over a month ago. At that time, it had the correct wheels on it, and seller was asking $2900 for it.

    Looks like the guy sold off the wheels (quite possibly the most valuable single part of the car), replaced them with trailer wheels, and then raised the price by 900 bucks.

  12. FrankRIzzo

    1974 does not need a smog check in Calif.

  13. Bruce Jackson

    No paint job on a Matador could ever make this thing look like a Torino…

  14. PatrickM

    When these came out I didn’t like the looks at all. Today, I think they offer a streamlined look that rivals many of the “same rubber stamp’ cars of today. It is definitely different. AMC had some nice affordable cars. Engineering was good. I’ll stand by my statement that they should have caught on. Too bad they didn’t.

  15. James Martin

    Sure looked a lot better with the factory rims . Lose those trailer rims.

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