Mechanically Mint: 1985 AMC Eagle – $9,500

by | Jan 2023 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

A car ahead of its time.  In what turned out to be the last of a long line of cars slightly ahead of their time, American Motors Corporation (“AMC”) launched what many consider the pre-cursor of the modern CUV craze: the compact Eagle 4×4 sedan, wagon, and hatchback. While the AMC Eagles enjoyed modest sale success when new, the combination of the durable 258 cubic inch inline-six and Dana solid axle four-wheel-drive (a true 4×4 system – not all-wheel-drive) is finding modern enthusiasts. These caretakers not only enjoy lifting their Eagle’s suspensions but are also quick to wring out the off-road capabilities these cars bring to the table.

If you’ve had visions of getting your own AMC Eagle to offroad in, this black over tan 1985 Eagle Limited 4×4 wagon currently listed here on Craigslist in Wantage, New Jersey might be worth a look. What it lacks in cosmetics currently it more than makes up for it with a rebuilt power train and other mechanical repairs as well as featuring a lifted suspension.

Currently offered for $9,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for AMC Eagles of all body styles produced between 1980 and 1988.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Eagle Wagon featured here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $7,550 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $12,200.

American Motors Corporation (“AMC”) produced its compact-sized four-wheel-drive passenger vehicles from 1979 through 1987 when Chrysler bought the company.  By the late 1970s, the last independent American car manufacturer AMC struggled to compete against the onslaught of Japanese imports with its Pacer and other aging compacts.  In a moment of brilliance thirty years ahead of its time, AMC predicted consumers would embrace a vehicle with the comfort of an automobile, but the ride height and foul-weather capabilities of a four-wheel-drive utility vehicle.  While the company had no money to develop a new car, AMC was able to leverage their knowledge from the Jeep’s Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system to develop a powertrain they could fit underneath their already decade-old Hornet (by that point rebadged as the Concord) and Gremlin platforms.  Launched in August 1979 as 1980 models, AMC Eagles were the only four-wheel-drive passenger cars produced in the U.S. at the time. Consumers saw they were affordable cars offering a comfortable ride and handling on the pavement together with superior traction in light off-road use.  Ironically, while the rear-wheel-drive Concord and Gremlin were not seen as fuel-efficient, the four-wheel-drive Eagle versions fared well against traditional truck-based SUVs of the day.

The Reaper Restorations YouTube Channel features this video showing the snow capability of their slightly modified 1985 AMC Eagle Wagon:

With barely 12,000 miles since a complete rebuild of the straight six engine and the automatic transmission combined with many other mechanical updates the care caretaker performed, potential buyers have peace of mind knowing they can focus their time and money on cosmetics as they enjoy dancing through the snow with a very capable 4×4.

 

If you are serious about buying this Eagle Wagon, you can start the conversation by emailing the seller.  When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their 4×4 AMC Wagon featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

Up for sale is a 1985 AMC Eagle Limited Deluxe 4×4

Power everything.
The motor was completely rebuilt at 99000 miles. As was the transmission.
Maintenance records on hand.
Transmission.: rebuilt A998 automatic
New torque converter
New front CV axles
New front drive axle
Customize front strut rods
Wheel alignment
New carburetor
New valve cover and gasket
Re-core of original radiator
New water pump, pushrods, thermostat exhaust
New Rear leaf springs
New front shocks
New 2 inch body lift
New neutral safety switch
MUCH MORE TO MUCH TO LIST.

WHAT IT NEEDS
Paint.
Neutral safety switch has loose wire.
AC compressor gut went this past summer.
Passenger window motor needs to be replaced

Restore or drive as-is: What would you do with this 1985 AMC Eagle Wagon for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

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