By on June 2, 2017

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

Today’s Rare Ride is fairly old compared to the rest of the cars in this series, and it’s the first look at quirky and long-expired manufacturer American Motors Corporation (AMC).

A few years before being swallowed up by Chrysler in its desire to own Jeep, AMC produced this very unique PLC-TC, or Personal Luxury Coupe Targa Convertible.

Come and have a look.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

For the 1981 and 1982 model years, you could buy two different convertibles from AMC. The Eagle Sundancer had four-wheel drive, like the other Eagle models. The other option was the Concord Sundancer we have here today. The standard Concord and Eagle were sent to Griffith for this factory-authorized conversion.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

This particular brown beast is a well-equipped and brougham Limited trim, which makes it all the more special. According to Wikipedia, AMC ordered less than 200 total Eagle and Concord Sundancers. The ad for today’s ride says fewer than 100 of them were Concords.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

This example has done 110,000 miles, which any owner of a Malaise-era mobile will tell you is quite a few. And it shows.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

But the matching brown on brown color scheme still shines through in the finest of brougham traditions. The ultra-realistic plood will still greet you every time you fire up that old 4.2-liter inline-six engine.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

You’ll spend roughly 10 minutes removing the roof panel, peeling away the rear tarp, and stowing the pieces. But behold, an open air PLC! Not even Porsche could replicate something this cool unusual and interesting.

Image: 1981 AMC Concord Sundancer

And there’s space for four full-figured Americans in here, relaxing in ruched comfort.

The Sundancer is listed out of Ballwin, Missouri, and the seller is asking just $2,358. Pair it with the value-priced Daihatsu Charade from our last Rare Rides, and you’re ready for any economical or luxurious outing you may desire.

[Photos via seller]

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34 Comments on “Rare Rides: This AMC from 1981 is Pure Brougham and Very Targa...”

  • avatar

    I always liked this AMC color! Saw an immaculate Concord wagon in this hue not long ago. I remember this and the Sundancer, and recall seeing an Eagle Sundancer in real life once. IIRC, Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman had a Concord coupe. Proportions on coupes were odd, which carries to the targa too. Weirdly cool though.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The Concord was desperate times at AMC. Cover up those cobwebs and old technology with some leather and landau.

      • 0 avatar

        A Hornet by any other name…

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          MotorWeek praised it as I recall, for being old but “well sorted out” or something.

          But IIRC it wasn’t cheap.

          • 0 avatar

            Whaaaa? Mr Davis found something nice to say? Amazing.

            Not that I’m complaining, but they always found something nice to say about the car.

            “Yes, the Yookle FailBad GT-9 did catch on fire twice, and it took 897 feet to stop from 60 MPH, *BUT* the shifter felt great in our hands, and the sunroof is big enough to double as an escape hatch. Claustrophobic people and PTSD sufferers can rest assured that they have a way out.”

    • 0 avatar

      Well Lynda’s proportions were pretty unique too!

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Oh, dear…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I’m with Clarkson regarding this. Convertibles must be 2 seaters because their was only one man in history who looked comfortable sitting in the back seat of a convertible.

    As for this, although I am a Brougham fan and generally have a soft spot for AMC’s that roofline is just too ugly.

  • avatar

    If you waited just one more year you could get the LeBARON convertible.

  • avatar

    AMC must have been real cheapskates not to farm this out to ASC. And, all the pictures in that ad, and not a single damn one with the top down.

    But, have no fear! There’s another one out there, that was once owned by none other than Burt Reynolds! It even says “Burt Reynolds DINNER THEATER” on the sides of the targa bar. Of course it’s in much worse shape than the one on offer here, but what’s a celebrity name worth?

    Okay, not much. It’s got 139,000 miles, and is offered at $910.00. I’m guessing it was used by the dinner theater, to chauffer the visiting celebrities around. Quoth the ad:

    “Car was purchased new from Ernie Haire AMC /Jeep / Renault 6/22/82. Burt Reynold’s theater in Jupiter, FL hosted actors such as Carol Burnett, Dolly Parton, Sylvester Stallone, Charles Nelson Reilly and Farrah Fawcett in numerous plays from 1978 – 1997.”

    Farrah Fawcett might have ridden in it!

  • avatar

    Oh wow does this look familiar. I had the regular version, meaning the hardtop, of this car as a hand-me-down from my parents while I was in college. That interior got used in just about everything AMC made (other than Jeeps) from the mid-’70s until Chrysler bought them.

    That 4.2L I-6 had some torque but was a gas hog. My parents also had a 4-door Concorde with the 304 V8, and it not only had more power but also returned better gas mileage. The 4.2 didn’t particularly like to rev, and its accessories were built to match. Once when driving back to my hometown I had coaxed it up to about 80mph on a rural highway and the water pump (factory item) shaft snapped. I was 20 miles from any hint of civilisation and had to nurse the overheating Concord into town (this in the days before mobile phones were common).

    I miss several of the old heaps I owned back then when I was young and poor, but not the Concord. It was heavy, thirsty, slow to accelerate, and handling was ‘meh’. About the only good memory I have of it was that the velour upholstery was comfortable.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Hahaha, you weren’t kidding last week!

    Not to be confused with the Beechcraft Sundowner.

  • avatar

    You’ve outdone yourself with this find. I’ve heard of this car along with the Eagle version but never have seen one. See if you can find an ’81 Celica out there done by the same conversion company.

  • avatar

    Why the word “Brougham” was used as a trim? What is the story behind it? And more importantly if it was used in 60s-80s why it is not used today? Very confusing. On the other hand – why there is a platinum/titanium trims but no Gold/Silver/Bronze?

  • avatar

    These were stop-gap cars trying to keep AMC viable in it’s twilight years. The Concord was a heavily revised 1970 Hornet with extra Brougham added on. Which was great if you wanted a 1970’s car in the early 1980’s, some folks did.

    That said, this was a strange looking thing when it came out, but was one of the only new convertibles from a domestic manufacturer at the time. The last one was the Cadillac Eldorado from 1976; for folks who wanted a ‘vert that wasn’t an expensive German car or a used car, this was it.

    The basic Concord Sundancer made sense, at least as what the general buying public considered a convertible. It was the Eagle Sundancer that was the WTF? moment, kind of like the Murano Cross Cabriolet of 1981. Of course, to have one of those Eagles now…

  • avatar

    No. I’d take a Mercury Zephyr Z-7 from the era, have a removable glass panel put in above the front seats (ahead of the wrap-over “basket handle” pillar).

    Smaller Inline 6, but I owned two Zephyrs (one a Z-7, the other a GS sedan) with that 6, it was adequate. However, I’d ideally swap it for a 250 6 from a Mavrick/Granada, etc. for a bit more power/torque.

    The Fox body non-Mustang actually drove pretty well for its day, although I did notice the sedan was susceptible to cross-winds when taking a road trip from Washington state to Phoenix. Maybe it was the 14″ balloon tires? They were brand new, but from Walmart (sad trombone).

    I should’ve went to the junkyard for some Mustang 10 holes, or maybe some 83-87 T-Bird/Coug wheels. 15 inch (wider too, I’m guessing) (alloy) wheels with better tires might have helped.

    I still want to build a Zephyr with an EFI’ed Inline 6 (Aussie head), 5 lug conversion (including better brakes and so on), and either a T-5 or an AOD.

  • avatar

    I see they used the same steering wheel from my ’85 Grand Wagoneer. Did AMC use that steering wheel in every vehicle they produced?

  • avatar

    Ah, looking back on the twilight of AMC seems sad. Practically all of their cars were some weird looking body style or other with a 258 straight six, driving some or all of the wheels through a torqueflite (which wasn’t a bad thing), and drinking a lot of gas while for not much forward progress.

    In a sense, their styling is timeless. The cartoonish wheels and excessive ground clearance look just as odd today as they did almost forty years ago.

  • avatar

    what do you say when your don’t know what to say… Covfefe????

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