1985 AMC Eagle Wagon 4.2L from North America


Totally Awesome


I bought this AMC wagon as a fixer upper and knowing it had a tranny issue, but with the looks, safety and reliability of the little wagon, it makes an excellent first vehicle, and will outlast any of the newer vehicles.

The tranny issues came from the original owner towing on a regular basis rather than limited.

All my children who cannot drive fit nicely into the car, and my grand-daughter sits just fine in the middle where she scopes out everything.

This vehicle does wonderful on the rugged dirt roads in Arizona where I live, and I didn't pay much for the car, and am looking for at least two more so my two older daughters quit fighting over mine...

General Comments:

My wagon is over 20 years old, and runs and handles as good as my full size Buick estate wagon, which is the family car due to it seating 8.

My friend still owns his; he bought brand new and refuses to get a new car, and I tend to agree, my newer car has nothing but issues with the tranny, motor, electricals, and my Eagle may have issues as does my Buick, but honestly the fixes on the two 1985 vehicles are expected and never leave me stranded in no mans land, and they are sturdy solid vehicles made to handle the terrain I live in.

Parts are easy to locate and easy to install for the most part for a back yard mechanic, and the other parts don't cost much to have a mechanic toss on. I need two more Eagles though...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd June, 2016

24th Jun 2016, 14:29

My parents had an '87 Eagle wagon they bought new when we were kids.

No one ever fought to ride in it, though. Actually preferred the old '73 Ambassador wagon -- even back then the old stuff somehow seemed better!

27th Nov 2016, 04:16

Both the Eagle and Ambassador were standouts for different reasons.

The Ambassador was a highly underrated vehicle - a bit stodgy looking (I liked it, actually). Very competent in its day.

The Eagle was an outdated (but basically good) design that was a vanguard of the AWD security blanket that people crave so much today. If the car was based on a more modern platform, it would have (likely) been a different story. Without the prodding of outdated fuel economy/performance and the dated look/feel/functionality as reminders to the vintage of the underlying vehicle, AMC's history might have been happier. Few people could see through to the underlying goodness of the vehicle as a whole.

1985 AMC Eagle 4.2 Liter 6 cylinder from North America


Great car, plenty of quirks, not bad 4x4


Front wheel bearings and half-shafts needed to be replaced.

Door latches do not close when cold- driver's door rear passenger doors, needed to be greased once a year...

HORRIBLE acceleration, underpowered.

Carburetor/choke tricky, needed adjustment, overhaul.

Oil seepage from PLASTIC valve cover (to be expected)

Poorly adjusted carb resulting in poor fuel efficiency.

General Comments:

Only 16 mpg or worse.

All metal doors and latches freeze in cold icy conditions.

Overall- wonderful little car with lots of character and incredibly reliable! Recently started right up in -12 F weather and ran great as always. Four wheel drive Select Drive works excellent, vacuum engagement still works well after 20 years!!!. Goes through snow and slush like a tank! Very bad acceleration, but once up to speed this car cruises comfortably at 60-65mpg all day. Really funky AMC wagon- gets lots of attention, but still holds its own on the highway. I have used this car as a daily driver since December 2003, it's the best car I've ever owned. You have to get used to or crave the attention for the funky style, but the reliability and build quality is unbeatable- for the prices these go for, its worth far more for the money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st January, 2005

24th Jan 2005, 09:06

You say the car has "horrible exceleration" but you rated performance a 9/10?

Slow acceleration + 16 mpg or less. Sounds like a great car alright.

7th May 2005, 14:45

I have a 1982 Eagle wagon. It is under powered has mediocre fuel economy. To spite these traits I love this car. It is comfortable to drive reliable at least half of the time and fun to drive all of the time. That said... its not for everyone. This is the last real Rambler. Everything AMC learned from decades of making cars went into its design and production. No matter what Subaru says the Eagle was the first of that class of vehicle. every other 4wd car made since has borrowed much from the Eagles design.