V8-Powered 1976 AMC Hornet X Sportabout

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This 1976 AMC Hornet Sportabout is a rare “X” package example fitted with the optional 304 5.0L V8. The seller notes this is a somewhat unusual combination of options for a wagon model, as it’s essentially a racy version of the somewhat obscure wagon-bodied Hornet. Factor in its clean, dry condition courtesy of long-term California residence, and it becomes a bit more clear as to why this Hornet is a touch more desirable than a standard model. These longroof versions of the classic Hornet are a practical option for a daily driver-friendly classic, and you’ll find it here on craigslist with a listed price of $5,850.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find. The California blue plates tell you that this Hornet has been surviving in California for a spell, while the elaborate rear hitch indicates it’s been hauling more than its generous cargo bay could handle for some time as well. It’s also served as an effective bumper barrier, keeping the chrome safety bumpers with overriders in good shape. You’ll also want to take note of the fact that the stripe kit that came with the “X” package models has remained in exceedingly nice shape, along with the copper paint in general.

The interior has some defects, notably what looks like left-over adhesive from something that was previously stuck on the glovebox door. The gauges look nice and clear and the package shelf / knee bolster is in fine shape. The door panels reveal no ugly issues in the listing photos, though the seller does acknowledge that the carpets have gone missing. The headliner appears to be quite nice, and shockingly, the A/C system still cools the cabin. I thought “X” models got a three-spoke sport steering wheel, but I could have that confused.

The 304 V8 was a respectable performer, and you could even step up to the 360 V8 if you wanted a bit of a sleeper that offered some decent scoot. The seller notes he bought the car for the purpose of swapping in a 401 he apparently had already procured, but health issues put a stop to those plans, and he has already sold the bigger mill. The Sportabout is an intriguing choice for a cheap classic that can offer some additional usability over other AMC models, and would certainly be a fun sleeper should you decide to carry out the seller’s plans for an engine swap.

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  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    Trailer hitch, gone – detail – drive

    Like 8
  2. CliffSMember

    Looks like the stripe on the drivers side fender is missing!

    Like 1
    • PatrickM

      That’s a new left front fender. Why? Accident? Check the frame, shock tower, etc. Not for $5,850.00. I want a good practical car and this could fill the bill, except for…. (You fill in the blank)

      Like 0
      • John Newell

        New front fender? Most of the time these cars need new front fenders isn’t from an accident, it’s rust.

        Either way though it’s easily checked. This Sportabout is worth spending some money on.

        Like 0
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Had a 77 Hornet wagon(not a sport about) a long time ago. It had a 258/at a/c p.s. p.b. same color. It was a good car that got decent gas mileage. I have no use for one these days, but for the right person this can be a good classic with room for the family.
    God bless America

    Like 0
  4. John Newell

    These wagons were the ultimate drag cars. Perfectly balanced and lots of room to haul your slicks and tool box to the strip.

    A 401, 904 combo with 500+ horse power makes for a great family day at the track.

    Like 3
  5. Stevieg

    I would see if I could find a source to restripe that front fender (Phoenix graphics maybe?) & buy some new carpet for it. Then I would hunt down another 401 for later down the road, in case that 304 ever commits suicide. I would tinker with it so it would be safe & reliable, then enjoy it.

    Like 0
  6. Mr. Ed

    In my garage in NJ as I type. Color is Burnished Bronze Metallic. Runs good but the transmission leaks badly. Overall a nice car for the money. Hood and fender replaced a long time ago after an accident that also pushed the radiator support back an inch. I’ve got my work cut out for me!

    Like 1
  7. Stevieg

    Congratulations Mr. Ed! Good luck with the new project, I hope you enjoy her.

    Like 0

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