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V.I.S.I.T. – AMC Concord Station Wagon

Jay Ramey December 24, 2012 V.I.S.I.T. - Vehicles I Saw In Traffic 24 Comments

concord 1

Now here’s a real classic (in our sense of the word) and a candidate for the pantheon of all things Hoon. This is none other than an AMC Concord station wagon, which I saw for sale some time ago in Connecticut. Sadly, this fine machine is no longer for sale, though I hope the owner decided to not part with it after all.

These were made for just 6 short years and came in several forms, ranging from a 2-door coupe to a 4-door station wagon. Back then AMC’s market share hovered just above 1% (a fact not fully appreciated today) which is about equal to the market share enjoyed by Volvo for the past few years. But American Motors made up for that measly share of the market by offering some truly, umm, interesting packaging solutions. 

concord 2

At a time when “personal luxury coupes” occupied a footprint greater than that of a Ford Expedition, AMC was busy making cars that really were compact, and often offered in AWD.  It was an interesting approach, and with AMC’s closure/merger/liquidation this niche was quickly occupied by Subaru in the states. This Concord is quite compact even by today’s standards, seeming just a bit smaller in size than a Mercedes-Benz W203 estate.

These enjoy a dedicated enthusiast following, especially in the northeast and the northwest. A few years ago I saw at least a few at a ski resort in out west, and now that I think about, I can’t really come up with a better ironic/occasional car to keep at a ski lodge for the winters.

concord 3

The example here is 1980 model or later, as that was when AMC switched over to quad sealed-beams on the Concord. The car received small styling tweaks almost every year. The Concord left production in 1983, though the Eagle continued on for another four years. This segment in AMC’s lineup was replaced by the Renault Medallion, a car that is for all intents and purposes extinct in the US. As in: even Renault Alliance owners don’t know anyone who has one.

Let’s see a show of hands, who’s seen a Renault Medallion within the last five years, and who’s seen an AMC Concord?

  • I remember watching Jokers Wild as a kid with Wink Martindale. You win this wagon if you win five days in a row. Some dude won six weeks in a row so he got six of them!

  • MVEilenstein

    I've seen a Concord, but it's been years.

  • I saw a Concord not long ago, but it's been ages since I've seen a Medallion in the flesh.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Those Eagles were great wagons. No nonsense, get you through the weather cars.

  • ConstantReader

    Poor fit and finish, poor mechanicals; junk then, junk now. RIP American Motors. Oops, it became Jeep and now owned by Chrysler. Hmmm…

    • Alcology

      Really man? This is too obvious. Put in some effort next time if you want to make turd-yuckens around here.

      • Alcology

        Merry Hoonimas! No snow this year and the car is in a cramped driveway now. Hopefully I'll give it some TLC this spring with some new tranny love. -this part does not belong here. no idea what happened!

        Here's an example "AMC Eagle, the only American car that runs on Molson."

        Mine also uses Labbat blue as differential fluid.

  • Vavon

    Too bad it's not an AMC Eagle Wagon. I always thought they were really cool!
    <img src="http://dayerses.com/data_images/posts/amc-eagle-4wd-wagon/amc-eagle-4wd-wagon-04.jpg"&gt;

    • MVEilenstein

      They ARE cool. AMC made some really unique cars.

      • Sjalabais

        Maybe their marketing department didn't find the word "lifestyle" in time? The black one here is awesome. How much would you expect to pay for a nice one just like this today? Hard to maintain?

        • MVEilenstein

          It is the perfect all-around vehicle. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

        • Alcology

          If you can find a nice one, about 3-4k. This would be a nice clean running example. You can find one for about 500 if you want that runs but might need some TLC. As far as maintainence goes, you should be fine as the drive train is shared with jeeps of the era so most everything is available and pretty cheap. However some parts are unique like control arms and wheel hubs and can be a little more costly and take time to source. Suspension parts can be had for reasonable dough. They do like to rust in certain areas that can be a challenge to repair

    • Alcology

      Merry Hoonimas! No snow this year and the car is in a cramped driveway now. Hopefully I'll give it some TLC this spring with some new tranny love.
      <img src="http://i629.photobucket.com/albums/uu15/alcology/4.jpg&quot; width="600">

      • Andrew

        Tranny Love?

        • alain


        • Alcology

          Either getting the t4 that's together or the t5 that I'm having issues with rebuilding. Don't you show the trannies in your life enough love?

      • Vavon

        YAY!!! Hoony Christmas to you too!

  • danielfilmmaking

    The Heir's girlfriend's friend showed up at the house in one last fall. Low mileage, looked brand spanking new. Got drool all over the windows. Told her I wanted first right of refusal.

    • Alcology

      Sounds like a keeper.

  • Alcology

    is that called camber or broken? that rust in the pic too is slightly scary. Might be something a little bit more frightening under that hood too!

  • EmbracingEntropy

    As a toddler I rode around in the backseat of Mom's '71 AMC Hornet SST, which she replaced several years later with a tan/woodgrain '78 Concord Wagon. She traded the '78 for a dark green '82 wagon, which she drove for years until it succumbed to a head-on collision. Mom then found an '86 Eagle Wagon, which I think is still sitting behind Dad's shed. My family loved these cars.
    My lifelong AMC exposure led me to ownership of two Spirit hatchbacks in college: a 6-cyl manual '82 and an uncommon '80 GT-trimmed car into which I transplanted a 360 V8 from a J10 pickup. I eventually put that engine into a CJ7 restoration, a truck I only recently sold to my brother-in-law. (I've also owned a '71 Matador, which I used as a beater car one winter, and a '72 Ambassador.)
    The AMC Hornets/Concords weren't perfect– they were heavy and relatively unrefined, the smog equipment literally choked the otherwise great inline six engines (and made tuning a bear), and the headliners would drop after a couple of years of humid weather. Despite their flaws, or perhaps because of it, I loved them. They were rugged, could easily accept V8 swaps, and held up surprisingly well. I may just have to find myself another one to restore.

  • topdeadcentre

    I miss my safety-orange Hornet Sportabout (wagon), which is the ancestor of the Concord and Eagle wagons.

    It drove surprisingly well for a $500 car (bought in 1986, slid off the road in a rainstorm in the 1988 and trashed the underbody). Not long after, I got my grandmother's 1980 Concord DL sedan, and drove that for a bunch of miles until the '72 Matador sedan with a V8 looked like a better ride (it really wasn't — I got two years out of the Matador and hated the four-wheel drum brakes, and the Concord was on the road at least another five years).

    There are still a bunch of Concords around Boston — I saw one just last Thursday or so.

    One thing I love about the Hooniverse is the presence of so many AMC enthusiasts outside of a specialty forum.. yay!

  • There's a '82 Concord DL sedan for sale around the corner for $4000, with supposedly only 58k. I have thought about it, but the dealer is kinda scummy. Total MeMaw vehicle though.
    <img src="http://cimages4.carsforsale.com/387538/AF47A5CE-AFAA-4D73-AE14-421EEF1D5072_16.jpg"&gt;

    • topdeadcentre

      Tell him to knock off $1500 for non-original hubcaps. Love the (from the factory) white roof!