Junkyard Find: Iron Duked 1981 AMC Eagle SX/4

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find iron duked 1981 amc eagle sx 4

I find a lot of AMC Eagles in Denver, both in and out of the junkyards, but almost all of them are wagons. During a recent junkyard visit, I spotted the first Spirit-based Eagle I’ve seen in a long time.

The pushrod Iron Duke was standard equipment on ’81 Eagles, and it clattered out a noisy, rough 82 horsepower. The optional 258-cubic-inch six-cylinder made 110 horsepower and orders of magnitude more torque, but was much thirstier than the four. That’s the Malaise Era for you!

The SX/4 was marketed as a sporty car, but AMC couldn’t really pull off that marketing trick with its $4.98 advertising budget. Buyers of these cars got them so they could drive through the snow and mud, period.

This one has been picked over pretty well, which is always less distressing than the sight of a complete, solid Eagle fixin’ to get crushed. Its parts will live on.






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  • And003 And003 on Apr 26, 2012

    I'd like to get one of these and swap out the engine for something more powerful.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Oct 23, 2012

    I REALLY want one of these, preferably in wagon format. Some shade of brown, with the plaid seats and wood interior. Same goes for the Grand Wagoneer. Love to have a garage off to the side with two proud AMC products in it.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.
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