Junkyard Find: 1981 AMC Concord

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
junkyard find 1981 amc concord

We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness.

Under the hood, we’ve got an Iron Duke four-cylinder, which made 86 mighty horsepower. That’s just 12 more than the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage (which weighs 864 pounds less than this Concord), a car much maligned by automotive journalists for its allegedly intolerable slowness. This Concord’s poor abused Duke had to drag 32.78 pounds with each of its gasping horsepower, while the new Mirage — which I say isn’t bad at all, for the price — has a much sprightlier 27.41 pounds-per-horse ratio. Think about that next time you hear some angry geezer complaining about cars being better in the old days.

This car came with AM and FM on the radio dial, all the better for listening to some of the year’s better music on KALX (if you had AM only, you were stuck with far schmaltzier stuff, though you might have lucked out into one of the better 1981 AM hits now and then).

Think about this: the AM/FM radio option in this car was $192 ($556 in 2015 dollars), while opting for the 258-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine was just $136 over the cost of the standard Iron Duke. Priorities!

American cars of this era tended to have headliner-hanging-down issues. I see this staple trick frequently in junkyards.


I didn’t spend a penny extra for all this luxury!

The Tough Americans, now with 10% rollback.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
3 of 62 comments
  • TrstnBrtt89 TrstnBrtt89 on Jul 22, 2015

    My only memory of these cars is from when I was about 10 my mom was looking for a beater, my grandpa found her a '76 Hornet wagon and bought it for her. While trying to put a temporary licence plate holder through the hatch he slammed it really hard and the back window shattered. My mom raced home in my grandpa's LeBaron (clearly a Mopar family) to tell my grandma about what happened and make sure she didn't ask him about the car. As soon as my grandpa walked in the door my grandma asked about the new car. I don't know what ever happened to that car but my mom never drove it and I never got to ride in it.

  • Countymountie Countymountie on Jul 22, 2015

    Grandma had a 79 Concord with the 304 in it, actually a pretty rare sight. That 304 was such a dog and the Torqueflite always shifted too soon. The car was a "lovely" two tone brown and tan with vinyl seats that would sear human flesh to a medium well in the Oklahoma sun in no time. She covered the seats with rag rugs folded in half but it didn't help. The car was hard loaded with air, tilt, cruise, and AM/FM radio, stereo even. The car always had an exhaust tick and ate batteries which was due mostly to sitting more than it was driven. When I turned 18 I bought her an 84 Riviera to replace the Concord. Selling it off was one of my biggest regrets for the (mostly) pleasant memories it held.

    • Willyam Willyam on Jul 23, 2015

      Speaking of OK, where I grew up, I had a friend in the late 80s who collected oddball AMC's much as you describe. Generally, he'd spend about $200, bring a spare battery and some starter fluid, and drag home car after car from retired owners. Hornets, Matadors, that kind of thing. Usually the six and four doors, and with his all night paper-route wages he probably kept upwards of six at a time. Never a V8 Javelin or anything, just plaid interior sedans. He became famous in my town for rolling a Hornet on a sweeping avenue through a residential neighborhood with his sister in the car. Casualties were one telephone poll and some landscaping, so they were sturdy at least.

  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.
  • W Conrad I'm not really a truck person, but even I would consider one, I'd never get a CyberTruck in a million years. It's butt ugly.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys par for the course teething pains. makes me wonder what it was like 100+ years ago trying it with lead acid at the time. steam cars were also a thing back then :)
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys people vote with their dollars. im not giving any to a jew hating aspie with a pube beard :)
  • Astigmatism As someone with the means, the home charger, and an EV already in the household: God, no. If I wanted an electric truck, would get the Rivian over this thing eleven times out of ten. Even leaving Musk's personality aside, the Cyber Truck is the automotive equivalent of $1000 designer sneakers - they just make you look like an insecure jerkwad.