By on October 23, 2014

15 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAhh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged and modified Renault 25). Since I live in Colorado, I see Eagles on the street all the time— there are several daily-driver Eagles living within a few blocks of me— and I see them in the local wrecking yards. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, and this ’85 wagon. The AMC Spirit-based SX/4 is much less common than the larger AMC Concord-based Eagles, so today’s find (in Denver, of course) is quite interesting.
10 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t see any SX/4 badging on this car, but I’m fairly certain that any Spirit Liftback was sold as an SX/4. AMC experts, please fill us in on the details of Late Malaise Era AMC branding/badging.
05 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one seems to have just about every possible option, including the optional center gauge cluster with clock and vacuum meter.
02 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission, sporty steering wheel, air conditioning— this car is loaded!
14 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found an old German 1-mark coin from the pre-Euro era on this car’s floor.
22 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old reliable AMC six, which Chrysler kept making into the current century.
18 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t tremendously valuable, so it is not shocking to see this rust-free example about to be crushed.

Yes, the SX/4 was pitched as a sports car.

Two-wheeling in style or four-wheeling in the wild!

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41 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport...”

  • avatar

    Sure, it’s got the optional center gauge cluster with clock and vacuum meter but does it have the rally fun pack?!?

  • avatar

    I live near AMC ground zero (Kenosha, Wi) and see a fair amount of these old Eagles doing daily duty despite their rusted bodies, and man did these things rust

    • 0 avatar

      That’s strange, seeing as how AMC was the first manufacturer to offer decent rustproofing from the factory, courtesy of Ziebart. Could it be salt sneaking in an untreated area between sheetmetal and the polymer body extensions?

      • 0 avatar

        Are you sure AMC was first at this? I thought zee Germans had it first.

        • 0 avatar


          Zee Germans were first with galvanized body panels. Porsche started in the 70’s, then Audi in the early 80s with the whole unibody.

          A friend of mine had a mint, low miles Eagle wagon after college. His dad owned a car dealership and took it in on trade. It was absolutely positively the worst driving “car” I have ever experienced in my life. It didn’t go, it didn’t stop, it didn’t turn. It was loud and uncomfortable. It sucked gas like it was going out of style. Kind of like a Jeep, surprise, surprise!

          • 0 avatar

            It sounds like a CJ Jeep sort of experience! But where else can you get a car which looks like that?!

            I guess an XC70.

      • 0 avatar

        Eagle’s tended to rust where the plastic covered the metal, yes. The rustproofing was pretty good where it had a chance to dry out. I’ve owned four Eagles and have many good body panels from the ones I had to part out, none for rust issues.

    • 0 avatar

      These things came with decent rust-proofing from the factory. The fact that you see rusty daily drivers 30 years later in salt land is a testament to the the body treatment. Lesser creatures like Toyotas of that era would have returned to ocher soil. My mom’s late 70’s Land Cruiser showed signs of corrosion on the scratch lines after 3 years in the non-salt Pacific Northwest.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m from Cleveland, there’s no such thing as a rust free amc jeep eagle ever, they rusted in transit

  • avatar

    I love these! I like the 4×4 wagon one as well. Can’t find them around here (Ohio) without tons of rust. I would have to get one from somewhere else and ship it.

    Anyone have/had one? What’s the maintenance like, and trying to find parts for such a tractor from a vaporware brand?

    What are they like to live with and drive? Is the 4×4 usable only in the wet (I’m guessing)?

    [email protected] 32MPG.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re basically Jeeps under the skin, so parts are relatively easy to find and maintenance is equivalent to any old Jeep

    • 0 avatar

      They are tractors. Very slow but they will always go. I remember an F-250 following me once got stuck in my ruts. The 4 bangers weren’t bad, but I would def hold out for a 258. Transmissions on autos were TF998 (version of 904). Axles were dana 30 and 35. Transfer case changed over the years. I always liked the later shift on the fly, 1985 and newer. I’d say if anything is known to break on these its the exterior door handles. The pot metal fails in salty areas, but they aren’t too hard to come by in good shape. Rust under the plastic can be a concern, so look there, otherwise not typically a major issue for a 4×4 (just keep in mind, many have been saved for a winter beater so many miles may be salty ones). T5s were available, and could be added if you want a manual.

    • 0 avatar

      I own a 1985 Eagle sedan that has been in the family since 1986.

      Parts are easy to find, they’re interchangable with most older Jeeps, it’s the body parts that are nearly impossible to get.

      It’s actually surprisingly fun to drive in an off-road sort of way. People are ALWAYS stopping and asking about it, it gets more attention than any flashy sports car, which is hilarious.

      Ours has the selectable 4WD that you can switch into up to 60 mph. It is probably one of the best 4WD systems I have ever used, for kicks one winter we drove it from a dead stop through a 3 foot snow drift and it didn’t even flinch.

      The downside? 20 MPG on a good day, 17 is more like it.

  • avatar

    I don’t get it ~

    Aren’t there old guys like me but in the Midwest and other wet / snowy places that’d buy this thing for decent $ ? .

    I can’t imagine scrapping a closed 4 X 4 vehicle having grown up Down East riding in rusted out , freezing cold 4 X 4 vehicles that were patched with bailing wire and friction tape until they broke in 1/2 .

    Surely some one in Snow Country would love this fully optioned thing as a daily commuter / beater .


    • 0 avatar

      Yes, us “old guys” in the midwest love these and are still a common sight around where I am

      • 0 avatar

        GOOD ! .

        Every so often I run across a 4 cylinder Jeep that’s in VGC having never been off road , ever .

        I have to resist buying them as I only drive dirt roads these days and would never need the 4X4 ability .

        I often find near perfect and always RUST FREE Toyota 4X4 cars & wagons in Pick-A-part , no one ever touches them sadly .

        The basic utility of these and any competent 4X4 appeals to my Farmer back ground .


    • 0 avatar

      Meh, I’m an AMC fan and a Coloradan, and there’s so many 4×4’s out here that the thought of a cramped, wheezy Eagle is easy to pass up, same was true in the 80’s. How about a rust free, mostly in tact, 2-door, 6-cylinder Cherokee for $1300. All the economy of an Eagle SX4.

  • avatar

    The door panels are actually cool. How is this possible.

  • avatar

    My wife and I bought a 1981 SX/4 brand new and it was a great car. It never failed us. Sadly, we had to downsize our fleet for a relocation and the Eagle flew the coop.

    We’ve always wanted another, and three years ago I found a Kammback version of this. My wife was not impressed. It wasn’t in very good shape but it ran well, it even had a manual! It too has flown.

    I still keep looking for a nice one, though.

  • avatar

    This can’t go to the crusher – there is something almost sacrilegious about a car in what appears to be in pretty darn good condition, and with a history of simplicity and reliability (by Malaise Era standards) going to the crusher.


  • avatar

    I’ve always wanted an Eagle. I had a friend in High School who owned one. His had the 6 cylinder, and the automatic. It was the wagon.

    Simple enough to work on, reliable, and great in the winter. It’s basically a Jeep station wagon.

    I approve.

  • avatar

    Wow, check that 4500-rpm redline. No wonder these engines lasted a long time.

  • avatar

    I will call this an automotive guilty pleasure. It isn’t incredibly attractive, it’s not fast, it doesn’t handle well.

    I didn’t like these when I was a bit younger, but they are starting to grow on me for nostelgic reasons. I see one still driving and think, “wow, I guess those really are troopers”. Makes me kinda want one. At least it would cut through bad conditions. And do I really care if it’s fast or handles like a dream? I do city driving most of the time. Why floor it to the next red light?

    I confess, I usually seek out other types of vehicles, but these really don’t seem that bad.

  • avatar

    Ever seen an amc eagle spirit kammback targa sx4?

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to see if parts from these CO Eagles get pulled for reuse, or do these just get scrapped?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I still kick myself to this day for not buying back in the late 80’s a black SX4 with most options. The only thing that made me hesitate was the transfer case was weeping and Jeeps of that era had issues with them. The vinyl interior in these is actually leatherette with the perforated holes so it actually breathes and your butt does not stick to it. I always liked the AMC flip out door handles, they were ahead of their time. They must have amortized the cost years before because they started using them on late 60’s Rebel’s and Ambassador’s.

  • avatar

    BMW X6, meet your great-grandfather.

  • avatar

    I wish I saw this earlier. Last week when this was posted, I was busy dragging a 2wd 1982 AMC Spirit lift back down to FL for the Grassroots Motorsports $2014 Challenge. This one has all sorts of cool parts on it! Our car runs a Megasquirt powered 1997 Wrangler 4.0 with a 60-trim turbo. It is a lot of fun. Very cool cars, and the SX/4 ones rule!

  • avatar

    Does anyone have access to this vehicle? If so, please contact me.

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