1980 AMC Eagle Wagon 4.2 258 ci. I-6 from North America


Excellent 4WD bargain


When I got it, it had ran into a van and the only thing that had happened was the bumper got pushed in a little and the grille broke.

The valve cover leaks oil.

Needs a brake job.

Also needs exhaust work.

General Comments:

This car is very good. I only got it for $20 too. I got it so I can drive it until I get my transmission fixed in my Saturn.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th July, 2003

1980 AMC Eagle Limited 4.2L Inline Six from North America


Far exceeded my expectations


When I bought the car theses things were wrong:

The needle had to be replaced in the carburetor - $5.00 part, 5 minute install.

The valve cover leaked, but a new gasket fixed the problem - $ 10.00, 45 minute install.

Three of the clips for the headlight adjustment were broken - $ 1.25 ea, 45 minutes (to install all 3.)

The car could use a paint job and removal of the vinyl (fake) wood grain, but who cares! The car is 22 years old with over 240 000km (150 000miles)!

General Comments:

My Eagle wagon was made in 1980 and it is the limited edition with a 4.2L in-line six engine and automatic transmission. It is full time four wheel drive (all wheel drive) and cannot be switched out of four wheel drive as some of the later Eagles can. It as cruise control and (real) leather interior.

With the exception of the faded paint and wood grain side panels, which in my opinion, don't look good at the best of times on any vehicle, my eagle is in pretty decent shape. It has no outer body rust and the floor pans are original and still in great shape. Contrast that with some of the other cars of the period, particularly the Japanese, and you find rolling rust piles; that is if they haven't already seen the car crusher! Canada's winters and road salt is tough on vehicles, but the Eagle has done very well despite this.

Since I made some of the low cost repairs mentioned, my Eagle does not have any leaks and burns no oil. The idle is extremely smooth and quiet.

Fuel economy is 25 mpg on the highway driving at 110km/h (67mph).

Interior noise levels on the highway are as low as or lower than most cars made in the 1980's and there is no wind noise at speed.

Road handling is very good. It will out corner and out slalom any modern SUV and is not prone to roll over. On icy snow or slush, my Eagle is the king. I have not ridden in or driven any vehicle that performs better under those conditions. Surprisingly, my Eagle does very well off road too even though it was not intended for off road use such as one would subject a Jeep to. I have plowed through a field of snow that was higher than the front bumper and never got stuck - bystanders were amazed! Apparently the viscous coupling transfer case is engineered to 'read' which wheels need the torque so that the optimum traction is achieved.

The one drawback I found, for a person my size, is comfort. Since I am 6'2", the leg room in the driver's seat is less that I would like. For example in my FSJ Cherokee Laredo I have a lot more room in all aspects; this is a real comfort asset on long trips. The limited leg room in the Eagle only becomes an issue on trips extending beyond 2 hours in length and never causes any problem in day to day driving. For someone shorter I'm sure it would be a completely comfortable ride on long or short trips.

Generally the Eagle has been a superb vehicle for summer and winter driving. It has exceeded my expectations in performance, handling, reliability, ease of maintenance and economy. The only modern vehicle that comes close in performance the Subaru Forester. However, the Eagle appears to be more ruggedly built and able to take on any task I throw it's way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th October, 2002

21st Dec 2002, 20:53

I loved your article! My Eagle is an '84 I bought as a first car over the summer. Its not quite done yet, and mine had some pretty decent rust, but after replacing the brakes and transmission lines, and doing some very amateur bodywork, all she needs now is a tranny seal replaced and shes roadworthy!! One thing I noticed in your article was that you were disappointed with the front seat room. I am 6'3, and I was actually impressed with the room it has (in the front). Do you have power seats? I have noticed that my drivers seat (power) has a lot more travel than my passenger seat (nonpower).

1980 AMC Eagle 4 x 4 253 cu six from North America


If AMC was still in business I would buy one new


Rear Main seal leaks like a sive. Steering linkage rusting and splitting.

General Comments:

The four wheel drive is flawless. The six cylinder engine is very strong. The major problem is the undercarriage rusting out, while the body stays solid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 27th June, 2002

27th Jan 2005, 17:13

I have a 1980 Eagle wagon. Phenomenal car. No computer, cruise control, power windows, locks, just plain and simple engine and four wheel drive. Only options I had were rear wiper and defroster. Very easy to work on. Full time four. It would go anywhere reliably. Love that car. Currently out of commission for the second time because idiots love to run into it. Trying to get it back on the road. Would love to have it back in drivable condition.

6th Nov 2005, 03:31

I agree with the other person with the 1980 wagon easy to work on no computer junk. I have a 1980 2dr sport and its been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. Good luck with all of your eagles out there.