THE EAGLE PAGE 3
Real Four Wheel Drive
One Body, One Company, Five Cars
One thing one will notice when they get into the AMC
hobby is that all AMC's cars look simular, in fact to the trained
eye one can come to the conclusion that AMC used the same body
for the past 19 years. And they would be correct in that assumtion.
The 1970 AMC Hornet was the base for most of AMC's production,
the Eagle, Spirit, Gremlin, and Concord all were based on the
Hornet, some more than others.
AMC's money saving measures are
seen every time one uses the rear door. Notice how small the rear
doors are, they are more sutible for dwarfs than normal sized
Americans. Once seated the room isn't that bad. AMC didn't have
the money to tool a four door and a two door model. So the two
door was tooled up and a extra two doors were tacked on. AM modified
the window frame of the window to make it appear longer or shorter.
Having the same body for the past 19 years can be advatageous.
Parts are easier to come by and sheet metal can be used from other
models. Some people would shout "BADGE ENGINEERING!"
But this isn't the case with AMC. Since all the cars were under
the same make there can be no badge engineering.
For 1980 AMC offered three body styles for the Eagle,
two door sedan (10,616), four door (9,956), and the most popular
wagon (about 25,807 wagons were sold). Next year AMC came out
with the short wheel-base SX/4 and Kammback. The SX/4
sold very well (about 17,340 of the little stormers) while the
Kammback just kinda floundered around (a dismal 5603 units). Once
again AMC's ever creative stylist took an exsisting car and turned
it into a new model. The SX/4 was a Spirit hatchback (a decendent
of the Gremlin) and the Kammback more or less was a four wheel
drive Gremmy. Sales of SX/4s actually eclipsed the wagon by 6,969
cars. The next year (also known as 1982) the sales of the Kammback
went down, way down to just a wee bit over 500 units while the
whole line of Eagle sales went up a couple hundred units. A computer
was on an AM car for the first time. It controlled the emmisions
stuff and the carb. Gone for 1983 was the Kammback and sadly the
last year for the SX/4 (It was also the last year for the Concord
and Spirit). Why would AMC kill a car that was a success? To make
room for the Renault Alliance of coarse. The Alliance was a cheaply
made pethetic pile that was supposta be the savior of AMC. Instead
it speeded up the demise of AM. Known to many as a foriegn tin
can, (actually the Alliance was made in the Kenosha factory while
Eagle production was moved to Brampton, Ontartio) it soon made
AMC's shakey reputation even worse. And to add insult to injury
the Alliance diluted the AMC brand. There are people out there
today who think AMC is a foriegn car company! The next year sales
slid down the garbage shute to 17,730 units. Things at AMC were
not very rosey. Money was tighter than a over stretched rubber
band. But 1984 held some promise for good ol' AMC. Sales were
actually up from 17,730 in 83 to 25,535 for 84 (My own Eagle just
happens to be an 83). In 1985 16,008 Eagles were sold, mostly
wagons. More push for the Alliance=less Eagle sales. A mild restyle
was done but did little to help sales.
While the Eagle was never considered to be a pillar of automotive
styling, but still several things could have been done to the
Eagle. First, eliminate the Pacer sourced seats. Do a mild restyle
of the dash. As much as I like the chrome on my car, back in the
Eighties the name of the game was black out. A mild use the chrome
(like on the Sportwagon) would have helped. A re-done front end
plus different fender flares could have gone a long way. And just
perhaps a little Jeep mystique rub off for the Eagle wouldn't
be all that bad.
1986 sales were just about sliced in half compared to last year
(8,217 units vs 16,008 units last year). By now Renault wanted
to get rid of AMC. Their own cars had quite a reputation by now.
And it was a bad one. But AMC's cars were as solidly built as
they ever were. To make some extra dough AMC made some Chrysler
cars. Renault decided this was a good thing and during 1987 sold
AMC to ChryCo. During the 1987 model year about 5,922 Eagles were
sold. The last model year for AMC was 1988. Actually the AMC name
plate hadn't been used since 1986 (at least any where it was clearly
noticeable). Thus the 1988 Eagle was actually an Eagle Eagle.
On titles it the Eagle would be listed as just an AMC car, Chrysler,
or an Eagle (Chrysler's new name for AMC). Just 2306 station wagons
were produced (the only model avalible). It was a sad day in automotive
history when ChryCo announced that no more Eagles (or at least
the Eagles we know and love) would be made after 1987. Well this
would be the end of the story except for one thing, AMC's 4.2
and 4.0 engines were not about to shrink away into the shadows.
Even though the 4.2 was eventually canned in the early ninties,
the last of the AMC sixes is still here with us to this day under
the hood of the Jeep. This alone is proof to many gawkers that
AMC's engines weren't pieces of crap. And if you still want an
AMC designed vehical but want something new the Cherokee is for
The independant that outlasted the rest finally became toast,
a victim of poor marketing, poor economic times, and brand smashing.
Now ChryCo is going down the same path. When AMC merged with Renault
they were both equal partners, but down the road it changed. The
same thing happened to ChryCo, and market share and sales are
goin' down. My perdiction for Allpar is that Chrysler will either
go to the chopping block or it will be a shadow of its' once enterprising
self (like AMC was during its' last decade of existance). Dodge
and Jeep will go on (provided that Mercedes doesn't come out with
a competing product). Perhaps it is only fair to ChryCo, I don't
support having another American company go down the tubes, but
hey, ChryCo has killed too many car manufactures to count (and
put more than 5,000 people out of a job in Kenosha).
Page 6, Brown, Not Just for Dirt Anymore
[Back to page 4 The Other Engines
(A.K.A the four cylinders)]