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1988 AMC Eagle


  • Just 33,894 miles on clock
  • Only 1 owner in UK, two in Canada
  • Great condition bodywork

The Appeal

This a real American oddity that was conceived before the SUV craze had even been dreamt up by the marketing departments of US car makers. AMC’s aim was simple: create a car that could venture off the beaten track with the ride quality of a standard RWD car. Many argue that it is in fact the first proper 4WD crossover and was a decade ahead of other carmakers.

The American Motors Corporation unveiled the car in 1980 and by 1987 the company had been taken over by Chyrsler. All models were based on the AMC Concord with the four-wheel-drive running gear borrowed from the Jeep and were made in Wisconsin up until 1983, when production switched to Ontario in Canada (where this example was made). AMC were clearly switched on to product placement and as well as an earlier staring roll for their AMC Hornet doing the famous corkscrew jump flip in The Man with the Golden Gun, they also managed to sneak the Eagle into the first Back to the Future film.

This Eagle has only covered 33,894 miles since new and sports a 4.2-litre straight-six engine mated up to a TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic gearbox that powers a viscous fluid centre differential driving both axles with switchable 2WD or 4WD. In 2020 it was featured in an online article and hailed as "probably the nicest AMC Eagle Wagon in existence".
Quirky, rare and practical with looks unlike anything else on a UK road, this is a fabulous low mileage example of this rare 4WD estate.

The History and Paperwork

  • Imported to UK in 2021
  • Nova paperwork included
  • Original AMC owners handbook
  • US receipts from 2013 show just 29,000 miles
  • The owner also has the original AMC owners manual with it and it is MoT’d until 2023 with no advisories

The current owner had visited Montreal in Canada, about six years ago and seen several Eagles running about. This inspired him to look for his own when he returned home and in December 2020 he sourced this low-mileage two-owner Eagle in Michigan. It was imported to the UK and registered in February 2021 and comes with the Nova paperwork to prove import duty has been paid, as well as the log book in the owners name. It also has its original ‘88Eagle’ Michigan numberplate, as well as an American Motors showplate – clearly the two previous owners were car enthusiasts.

Although there are few receipts with the car, the couple that are with it both date to 2013 and indicate that it had just 29,000 miles on the clock at the time. The condition of the interior trim and bodywork condition would appear to back this up.
The owner also has the original AMC owners manual with it and it is MoT’d until 2024 with no advisories.

The Interior

  • Interior in exceptional condition
  • Blue vinyl interior near perfect 
  • Houndstooth cloth seats supremely comfortable
  • Has seatbelts for five people

With the dash surround, steering wheel, doorcard and seat edging finished in a fabulous mid blue colour offset by a paler blue houndstooth cloth on the seat centres, the interior is treat for the eyes. Wood style trim on the dash and doorcards matches the exterior wood grain finish, with the doorcard’s trim inlaid with swirling details. The only minor issue is a small inch-long tear in the driver’s seat backrest (caused by the rivets on a jacket) that could easily be repaired by a trim specialist. A new driver’s seatbelt has recently been fitted to replace the frayed original.

The steering wheel has three spokes and is dished, with a wooden centre cap finishing it off – it’s a delight to grasp. Clear instruments are visible through the spokes and includes a speedo, fuel and temperature gauges and the 80s essential: a digital clock. A pleasingly  chunky lever allows you to switch from 2WD to 4WD, while the Torqueflite transmission is selected via a floor-mounted lever.

The original stereo has been upgraded to a modern, remote control unit (though the owner can supply a period radio if needed) and links to four speakers in their original housings. The doorcards are all immaculate and, oddly for an American vehicle, all have manual wind windows.

The carpeting has clearly been protected by overmats all its life as it’s immaculate while the dash top is free from cracks and the headlining is unmarked.

The rear seats fold flat and have lap belts for three people. The boot itself isn’t as deep as you’d expect as it has a false floor in it that houses a Goodyear space saver spare wheel, a huge jack and the removable towbar. As with the rest of the interior, the boot carpet, side trim and all panelling are in exceptional condition.

The Exterior 

  • Blue metallic paintwork is in fine order
  • Brightwork in great condition
  • Underside looks solid and is waxoyled

Any car that features half-timbered sides certainly stands out on UK roads and this Eagle is certainly striking with its rugged and boxy good looks. The steel used on the bodywork is considerably thicker than on modern cars and the doors shut with a thunk. The ‘timber’ is actually vinyl, so there’s no worry about having to oil wood or maintain it in any way. It’s bordered by chrome trim, which is in great condition – as is the rest of the brightwork on the car.

The shut lines look great and all the doors, boot and bonnet are rust-free and appear to have been waxoyled internally. The underside has also been treat to lots of Waxoyl and looks very solid. The drivetrain is protected by beefy crossmembers and the sump is dry.

The blue metallic paintwork presents well and the dark blue appears almost black until the sun hits it and the metallic elements sparkle. The only negatives on the bodywork are slightly worn silver bumper insert strips on the edges of the rear bumper (the fronts are fine) and little discolouration on the chunky five-spoke alloys. These are shod with white-lettered Cooper Discover H/T tyres in 205/75-R15 size. They all date from 2012, but have great tread on them.

The Mechanics 

  • Engine starts well with a pleasingly burble
  • Owner doesn’t report any faults

Fire up the 4.2-litre straight six and it soon settles down to a happy burble. The engine bay is in good honest condition and features an Offenhauser inlet manifold topped off with a Holley carb that breathes through a smart billet aluminium pancake air filter. There doesn’t appear to be any rust on the inner wings and as with the rest of the car, everything look solid and beefy.

All the underbonnet wiring and plumbing looks original and it looks to have been well cared for – the owner reports all spare parts are easily available from the US. He doesn’t note anything wrong with the way the car drives and it didn’t complain at the constant stop-starts it had to endure for the photoshoot.


This is a fabulous bit of American history that offers quirky good looks and a practical and easy to live with vehicle. Thanks to Jeeps input it’s a proper all roader too and the half-timbered sides and raised driving position make it really stand out on the road.

Given its significance in the history of American carmaking as their first crossover vehicle, it’s sure to be a wise investment and with just 33,894 miles on the clock it’s a great example of the breed with a great colour combination.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make AMC
  • Model Eagle
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 33,894 Miles
  • Engine size 4200
Listing Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Kirkby-in-Ashfield
  • Location Nottinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom

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