2y ago


Even before there was an American Motors, there was its two predecessor companies, Nash and Hudson. And while it was called a merger at the time, with all the Detroit-built Hudsons discontinued before the start of the 1955 model years, replaced by hastily badge-engineered Nash models, what resulted looked more like a Nash takeover of Hudson.

Starting in 1950, Nash offered a sporty compact (by US standards) convertible model built on a 100-inch wheelbase, that featured a full-length sliding cloth roof (much like the contemporary Fiat 500 convertible). It sold for $1,808 that year with 9,330 units produced. Not only did Nash advertise the car in the earliest days of television but got the car placed in the popular Superman television show as Lois Lane's ride.

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Nash wasted no time in getting its unibody 1950 Rambler American on television in this spot set in a dealership showroom at introduction time

Station wagons (estates) were always an important part of the AMC model mix. AMC saved money on tooling by simply adding a roof panel to the sedan bodywork behind the C-pillar. Typical was this 1966 Rambler Classic 770, a mid-sized station wagon. Rambler Classic station wagons were very popular with AMC shifting 9,390 of the base model 550 and 24,528 of the top-of-the-line 770 model which carried a starting price of $2,629, more than $100 less than its direct Big 3 competitors with a higher level of standard equipment.

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This Rambler Classic 770 station wagon competed in the intermediate segment where AMC promoted it as the value alternative to the Chevrolet Chevelle

After a brush with bankruptcy in 1967, in 1970 AMC had replaced the American with the Hornet. In 1971 they expanded the Hornet sedan lineup with a cleverly designed station wagon, the Sportabout. But instead of a traditional tailgate it featured a hatchback-style opening. At the time it was the only four-door compact station wagon offered by an American manufacturer. When introduced in 1971, the $2,594 Sportabout was the most popular model in the Hornet range with AMC selling 73,471 units. In 1972 AMC offered its first designer edition car, a Sportabout with a cream, green and red trimmed interior designed by Gucci.

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Introduced for the 1971 model year, the Sportabout station wagon was always among the most popular Hornet models and in 1976 this wood-trimmed model was among 29,763 Sportabouts sold by AMC

Although its styling would be called polarizing, controversial and bizarre by some, the AMC Matador coupe has its fans. It was AMC's attempt to compete with the intermediate-sized personal luxury coupes offered by its Big 3 competitors. Introduced at a time when gas prices more than doubled in the wake of the first OPEC Oil Embargo, it was not perfectly timed for the market. Noteworthy was the Oleg Cassini designer option with 6,165 Matador coupes getting this luxury option. Overall, AMC sold 31,100 Matador coupes in 1974 at a starting base price of $3,249 with 10,074 being the sporty X model ($3,699). The 1974 model year marked the last time AMC would offer the 401cid V-8 in its passenger-car lineup.

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Looking back over four decades, the 1974 AMC Matador two door coupe has probably aged as least as gracefully as its GM and Ford coupe counterparts and has a small but loyal following of fans

In 1980 AMC introduced the revolutionary four-wheel-drive Eagle available in two- four-door sedans and a station wagon based on the two-wheel-drive Concord (which itself was based on the previous Hornet starting in 1978). The Eagle is considered by most to be the father of the modern-day crossover, boasting car-like features and amenities while providing bad-weather and limited off-road capabilities. In 1980 the system was four-wheel drive full-time but starting in 1982 offered Select-Drive which allowed the switching between two-wheel and four-wheel modes. When it was introduced in 1980, the Eagles were the most expensive models in the AMC passenger car lineup with the 34,041 units sold, giving a big boost to the company's bottom line. The last Eagle was built in December 1987, a 1988 model, not long after American Motors was acquired by Chrysler.

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When it was introduced in 1980, the AMC Eagle had no direct competitor except for Subaru that offered sedan and station wagons with part-time four-wheel drive