The AMC Eagle Was Too Ahead Of It's Time.
The story of a car that would have sold well in the 90's or 2000's
AMC gets a bad wrap. They get criticized for the Pacer and Gremlin, but in reality, they were actually pretty good. A lot of their cars should have been executed differently. For example the Pacer should have had a rotary or the AMX/3 should have gotten past concept phase. Those are all reasons why American Motors fascinates me, but the biggest reason is that the Eagle did not do well.
The AMC Eagle was a compact station wagon in the 80's, but it was unlike most because of it's four wheel drive. Four wheel drive and all wheel drive are different, but the overall concept of having all four wheels going at once was the same. The Eagle was in a class of it's own when it was first released. A raised four wheel drive station wagon was unheard of at the time. The closest thing to it was the Jeep Wagoneer, but the Eagle was still different because it was more like today's crossovers, and less like the Wagoneer SUV.
Ever since it was released in 1980, people could tell the Eagle was different, and they didn't quite like that. Most of them would rather have a regular station wagon, or a full on SUV. When the Caravan and Voyager minivans were released by Dodge and Plymouth in 1984, Nobody wanted the Eagle anymore because of the new generation of family car, the minivan. Production stopped in 1987.
In 1991 however, something new came along, an SUV for families. This SUV was the Ford Explorer. Sure the Jeep Wagoneer existed before the Explorer, but this new SUV was different than the others before it. The Explorer was an immediate hit. Then, in 1998, another new thing happened, it was called the Lexus RX. The RX was a new type of vehicle, a luxury crossover, a market the Eagle would have fit perfectly within. Even to today, crossovers and luxury crossovers are very popular.
So, how is the Eagle today? Well, it has become a collector car because of it being the "missing link" between station wagons and crossovers.