Two Door 4×4: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4

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Widely known in the auto industry as the first “crossover”, the AMC Eagle was the only passenger car with four-wheel-drive in its day. This two-tone example is for sale here on craigslist near Wilmington, DE. Want to know more? Read on to learn….

Introduced in 1979 for the 1980 model year and continuing until 1988, the Eagle was based on the reasonably-successful AMC Concorde/Spirit and did two things: It gave a struggling American Motors a new product that nobody else in Detroit could offer and filled a niche that people really didn’t even know existed. I dare say that it created the genre in the first place. In fact, Paul Niedermeyer over at Curbside Classics wrote a piece on these cars recently, and Joe Ligo over at Auto Moments did a video about them back in 2015.

We featured a blue one recently, but this one sports a beige/brown over brown color palette. The seller of this one says that it has new carburetor and carpets, comes with its original wheels but is wearing Jeep rims at the present time, and in their own words: “Very solid and in very good condition. 258 six cylinder, automatic. Runs good. Everything works.” For reference, that engine is a 4.2L, 258 cubic-inch inline-six with around 110 hp and 205 ft-lb of torque.

I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of the looks of these cars, but the function is what always interested me. For what it’s worth: in June of 1983, Popular Mechanics magazine wrote of the Eagle: “Eagle is best when working hard” and “you can feel the tremendous traction” of its big all-weather tires in four-wheel drive giving “a great feeling of security.” and my colleague Scotty Gilbertson wrote in January 2019 that: “They even gave Subaru a run for their money with a full-time system to drive all four wheels automatically; back in the late-70s/early-80s that was quite a thing. “What about you, do you have a memory or story that you’d like to share about one of these cars?

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  1. That AMC guy

    I’ve owned a couple of Eagles over the years. Despite the limitations of being built on the bones of the 1970 Hornet/Gremlin they were remarkable vehicles for their time, even though they are throwbacks to the 1960s in terms of ergonomics and space utilization.

    If I had room for another car I’d be all over this one! Seeing one in the salty Northeast that’s apparently not rusted to death is almost unheard of. While 1983+ Eagles were Ziebart rustproofed at the factory, decades of winter service still will take their toll. A potential buyer will want to carefully check the chassis and underneath the plastic fender flares. Nice that this one has the 258 six which is far preferable to the 4-cylinder the Iron Duke that many of the smaller Eagles came with.

    A downside on Eagles is the emission plumbing is a nightmare. It actually works well when everything is hooked up properly and maintained, but many have had the system butchered. Lots of vacuum lines and gadgets, an electronic feedback carb with O2 sensor, and a primitive ECU in the passenger kick panel. These cars can be a challenge to get through emission inspections.

    Like 4
    • Pat Lamb

      As far as emissions are concerned, I don’t know about other states but in NJ if a car is older than a 1995 with a GVWR 8500 pounds or less they are exempt from inspections.

      Like 2
      • That AMC guy

        It varies widely by state. California is the worst from what I understand, not only would it have to pass a sniff test there, but every piece of emissions equipment that the car came with when it left the factory has to be intact if it is newer than (I think) 1976. Good luck with that on a 36-year-old AMC product! Of course being in Delaware the chances are this one will stay on the East Coast.

        Like 0
  2. Capriest

    I want this really bad!!!!

    Like 1
    • PatrickM

      That makes 2 of us!! Almost exactly what I am looking for.

      Like 0
  3. Roland schoenke

    Had 3 Spirits in the family, always wanted the 4×4.

    Like 0
  4. Jim simmons

    Does anyone know what it would cost to have this car shipped to Tulsa ok?

    Like 0
  5. Stevieg

    About a year ago I shipped a non running F250 from CasaGrande Arizona to Milwaukee for $1,300 (non-op costs more). About 2 years before that I shipped my 1972 Eldorado convertible from Phoenix, a 1976 Coupe DeVille from Tucson & a 1977 Pontiac Ventura from Albuquerque. 3 stops, 3 pick-ups, 3 running driving vehicles cost me $700 each. I tipped the driver on top of that. From the east coast to Oklahoma should be right around $1,000, give or take.

    Like 0
  6. B Bittner

    Ref the styling the BMW GT has these lines and proportions. Great vehicle, the AMC not the BMW.

    Like 0
  7. PatrickM

    That makes 2 of us!! Almost exactly what I am looking for.

    Like 0
  8. Arnt Kaare Rolland

    I am the owner of Norways only AMC Eagle SX/4. It is a 1983 with the 258 six and 5 speed BW transmission. The car is black with nutmeg interior and all original. Also have a 1980 AMC Eagle Wagon.

    Like 0

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