Clutched Talons: 1986 AMC Eagle 5-Speed

Having jumped back into the ring of AMC ownership with an ’82 Concord last week, I now view the extra two drive wheels and elevated stance of Eagles with a tinge of jealousy. To add insult to injury, this is an extra-rare manual transmission example, leaving you the freedom to sling mud in any gear you choose. Find this 1986 AMC Eagle for sale in Charlotte, NC for $1,500 via craigslist.

Lest we become blinded by the vision of a manual transmission in an Eagle, let’s not forget that this car is not without fault. First off, it doesn’t even run. Mechanical unknowns aside, the seller claims the car to be fairly rust free with surface rust underneath. If this description adheres to the colloquial North Carolina Rust Assessment Standards that I’m familiar with, this means a light scale on the underside with no holes. This splits the difference of California “rust-free” and Michigan “rust-free”.

Since we all know exactly what a dingy 258 looks like, let’s focus on the things that make or break deals like this like critter houses in the engine compartment. Fortunately or not, the current owner has had the car for over a year in this condition so the critter either done runned off or has passed on. The seller swears that the chewed up wiring is isolated to the fog lights. Since the Eagle was still using – let’s call it an ‘Electrarburetor’ – there weren’t that many wires that were essential in running the engine.

And here it is, the most important shot of the interior; the gear selector. The rest of the passenger compartment looks exactly as you’d expect a near 200-thousand-mile Eagle to look; haggard and made functional by any means necessary. There will be a bit of undoing of past wrongs involved with this project, such as the deletion of Radio Shack switch gear and de-vicegripping of broken handles. This, however, is just par for the course and well worth the effort as even the nicest Eagles and Concords will have broken door handles.

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Matt,
a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half
of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the
remaining third on keeping them on the road.