X Marks the Spot: 1974 AMC Matador X Coupe

A few days ago, we featured a 1976 AMC Matador coupe; several of the comments went along the lines of, “Wake me up when you find a Matador X.” Time to wipe the sleep from your eyes! Intrepid reader Rocco B. has found us just such a beast: this all-original 1974 AMC Matador X coupe hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it can be found on craigslist for just $3,500 (archived ad). You ask, Barn Finds delivers!

Like the last Matador we spotlighted, this X appears to be in reasonably fine, if not perfect, original fettle. In this case, the pictures are a little awkward in that none of them show the entire car, but the indistinctly brownish-burgundy paint looks mostly okay and the signature side stripes quite good.

The only money shots are of the rockers and underside, which look solid enough; there are no interior or engine compartment views. The seller specifies that the X-standard 304 V8 and automatic are installed and run great, and we can see from the outside that this car has a bucket seat interior, possibly in hard-to-clean white, lending this curvy coupe a bit more street cred than the plaid bench seats in our last Matador.

The slotted wheels, specific to the X, are present and nicely set off by white-letter tires, although they could use a little elbow grease to recapture their original shine. That seems to be the case overall: this is a very honest, original car that, with a few weekends of love and care, could show pretty nicely—assuming there’s nothing too terribly wrong with the interior—and be a fun cruise night driver. How did we do with take two—does X mark the sweet spot?

Fast Finds


  1. MIkeG

    I remember my Grandfather brought one of these back to the house from one of his car lots and I couldn’t help but notice how freaking large it was. One of the largest, widest 2 door coupes I’d ever seen. I guess the Toranado’s were about the same maybe? It did have a ignition lockout feature if the seat belts were not engaged that i thought was so ‘futuristic’.

    Like 1
  2. Ensign Pulver

    Kind of like a bloated gummy bear camaro.

  3. John Newell

    What hurt these Matador coupes more than anything were the frog eyed headlights that made the front ends look ludicrous. Put rectangular headlights in and get rid of the headlight bulges in the hood and you have a very nice looking car. This has been done from time to time and it vastly improves the look of these cars.

    The interiors are very nice with the bucket seats and the coupes make great cruisers. On the other hand it’s no trouble at all to drop in a 401 with two 4s on it in front of the Chrysler 727 transmission, some slicks and you have yourself the basis of a serious dragster for peanuts.

    You don’t have to tub this baby either as you can get some pretty wide slicks in back without any tubbing or the all too common and ugly application of tin snips required by Chryslers, GMs and Fords.

    • Peter Thompson

      The 1973’s had different headlights that looked pretty good. They really screwed up when they made the changes in the ’74 models. Thanks Peter

      • John Newell

        The entire 1973 Matador looked better than the 74. It was the same body style as the Rebel Machine with longer (2″) front clip. Nothing at all like the frog eyed 74’s

  4. JRP

    If you look close at the rocker panel shot you can see cracks that were covered up with some undercoating. You could probably punch your finger through it or at least a screwdriver. Other than that not a bad looking Matador. My brother bought one of these new. Same color but not the X model. It was a really nice ride. Thanks for the memories.

    • John Newell

      That is where the outer rocker ends and the interior “outer, middle” rocker begins. These rockers are made like a ham and cheese sandwich. The outer rocker is the first slice of bread and is 18 gauge. The ham is the first or outer, middle rocker is 14 gauge and is shaped like an elongated valve cover. It replaces what was formerly a frame rail. The cheese is the “inner, middle” rocker and not really a rocker at all but part of the door frame – a threshold stringer if you like. The other slice of bread is the inner rocker or sill that runs the length of the interior of the car.

      The cracks are along the seam where the outer rocker joins the first middle rocker. Fixing that could be a simple welding job. Replacing that would cost more than the car was worth. I would be very surprised if this car needed new internal structure in the rockers. This design was extremely rugged though prone to rust.

      Those of us who work with rusty old AMCs have seen just how much salt and chemical abuse it takes to kill these but they are far from invulnerable.

  5. Rabbit

    Actually, if you lose the park-bench bumpers & fill in the holes, these cars look 150% better. A friend did this with his Firecracker Red & white stripes ’74, & added fatter wheels & tires. Made all the difference in the world.

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    In 1977, just before shipping off to the Air Force, one of my closest friends bought a 75 (why?…I’ll never know) and if memory serves correct, it was a 360 car.
    Boy was that car butt ugly ! Mustard yellow with a baby diaper filled brown vinyl top. Pleather tan interior. He took pride in the fact that it would roach the tires at dead pedal stomp. At the time, I was driving a baby blue 76 Gran LeMans 350 car and they went neck and neck with each other. I can still see that ugly Matador with Paul smiling at the wheel right next to me like it was yesterday.

    Like 1
  7. Harvey Peever

    Too bad these cars rusted away.

  8. Mitch Ross Member

    Price seems quite low for an X model in what looks like decent condition. These have a loyal following. I will add one to my AMC collection (just one car) one day.

    Like 1
  9. Michael

    I ended up selling it for 1900 on ebay. You guys missed out…. The was almost it was a true X car and the only thing it had wrong with it was the back tail light section was rusted out for bad trunk seal. But, I included a patch panel complete with tail lights.

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