By on February 10, 2016

00 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

I live in Colorado, where the AMC Eagle sold as well in the 1980s as the Subaru Outback does now, and so I see the all-wheel-drive versions of the American Motors Concord and Spirit everywhere here. This means they show up in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards like clockwork, and I photograph them when they do (and I walk right by most air-cooled Beetles, which I know is wrong).

So far, I have documented the demise of this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this white-with-plaid-interior ’80 wagon, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’83 SX/4 Sport, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 “woodie” wagon, and this ’85 wagon. Now we’ve got this gloriously brown-and-tan-and-beige-and-brown example of Malaise Era proto-crossover Kenosha goodness.
02 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

After Chrysler bought the tattered remnants of American Motors in 1987 (in order to get the Jeep name plus a bunch of Renault-derived chassis designs), Eagle was made into its own marque. Unfortunately, the Chrysler version of the Eagle logo wasn’t nearly as majestic as the original AMC one.

17 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Since this car had a center differential and none of that confusing truck-ish, low-range gearing stuff, it was what we’d call all-wheel-drive today.

01 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Back in 1982, though, if it had power to all four wheels, you called it “4-wheel-drive” and no hair-splitting pedants yelled at you about it.

14 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This car still has some outdoorsy stuff inside, including this Coleman lantern and a binocular case, so it probably had its share of camping trips in the Rockies during its 34 years on the road.

04 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Look, no Iron Duke engine!

“One thing the Japanese haven’t caught up to … is the American Eagle.”

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22 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 AMC Eagle Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    -Nate

    As it looks clean and un rusted with a good enough interior to have have the seats and D.S. door card harvested , I’m guessing the minor collision damage sent it tot he scrap yard .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      countymountie

      They’re almost impossible to get to pass emissions on the Front Range so that probably influenced the decision to scrap it too.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      You could combine this with the sedan version of this car that’s been for sale FOREVER at a place called Thoen’s in Saskatchewan.

      (Maybe make an offer and turn it into a LeMons competitor?)

      • 0 avatar
        roger628

        Imagine my surprise to see that Thoen’s is not only surviving but thriving. A big fire wiped the place in the late 80s AFIR. They were always a thorn in the side of the Saskatoon Chrysler dealers because they could always undercut them on price. Also, back in the late 70s, they were the only dealer around there who ordered cars properly. If you saw any M-body LeBaron they ordered, for example, it almost always had the HD Trailer package with the big tires and upgraded everything. Try and find one like that at Auto Clearing or Dodge City.
        Never could.

        http://www.thoens.com/used.php?s2=2&s0=1&search.make=3&search.model=&search.body=&search.year_start=&search.year_end=&search.price_start=&search.price_end=&search.km_start=&search.km_end=&search.ext_color=&search.order=1&search.order.dir=2&search.results_per_page=25&search.display_format=thumb&s1=1&vi=1497910

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “(and I walk right by most air-cooled Beetles, which I know is wrong).”

    Really? I walk right by them all the time and I feel pretty good about it.

  • avatar
    Balto

    RIP, dear eagle. Many of your brethren still alive in the northeast dream of your rust free body panels being crushed and weep bitter, salty tears.

  • avatar
    nicktcfcsb

    A younger me always lusted after one of these. A clean one never showed up when funds were available. I always thought they looked fun, I also wish all the amc cars didn’t rot out by their 10th birthday.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    That’s the worst hand drawn eagle logo I’ve ever seen!

    I’ve always liked these, but in rust belt areas it’s a losing proposition trying to find one. I also suspect I wouldn’t like all the fiddly maintenance something so old and abandonware requires.

    How bout them door handles though? Use em on everything AMC. Didn’t other brands use them too? Like Rover?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Since this car had a center differential and none of that confusing truck-ish, low-range gearing stuff, it was what we’d call all-wheel-drive today.”

    It’s not like there’s a standard for that today either. As an example the first two generations of Highlander had “4wd” badges on them though the system was a full time 50/50 torque split with power only being rerouted when the system sensed there was trouble – then power was sent where there was more grip. Current Highlander has a FWD biased system that only sends power to the rear when absolutely necessary but now has “AWD” badges.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I guess our 2002 CR-V has a similar setup like the Highlander.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Zackman the Honda RT4wd is moreso slip-then-grip and FWD biased than the older Highlanders. I was sad to see Toyota abandon this approach to AWD (even the Sienna got it!), in favor of the more common and fuel efficient FWD biased reactive systems.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Even the AMC Eagle’s had different flavours of AWD. Some years (With NP 119 and 129 t-cases) used a viscous coupling, whereas some years (with NP 128) used an open differential. The viscous coupling models were better, as they offered better torque vectoring, however, the VCs didn’t tend to be very long-lived.

      I remember driving several of these in the late 90’s (in for blown up T-cases) and I was always amazed how far ahead of the curve their ergos and driving dynamics were for something so old.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    It’s funny, we all lament the sloping-cu-ft robbing hatches on today’s overly aerodynamic “wagons” yet the Eagle was doing it back in the 80s!!

  • avatar
    geo

    I think they used Sam the Eagle as the model for that chrome badge.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Aside from snapping universal joints and falling drive shafts, my $400 ’87 AMC Eagle was one of the funnest beaters I’ve ever owned.

    They had (IMO) some of the best interiors of the 70s-80s.

    I miss the 4.0 I-6 too. We put about 290k on ours, impressive for 80s domestics.

  • avatar
    CarOli

    As impressive as your list of Eagle finds is, you haven’t nailed the ultra rare 1981-82 only Kammback body style, which was the old Gremlin body with larger rear quarter windows. So yes, in those two model years you could get two door Eagles in trunked, hatchback, and Kammback versions, as well as the more common 4 door sedan and wagon.

    Here’s some pics and info: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/03/10/lost-cars-of-the-1980s-1981-1982-amc-eagle-series-50-kammback/


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