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Coupe Scoop - guestbook

The following is a sample of messages from visitors who have emailed me. I hope you enjoy their comments.
Do you have something Coupe-related or AMC-related that you want to share? Just CLICK HERE and your own bit of wisdom just might show up if I like it enough.

Updated June 2005

Click here for PAGE TWO of the Coupe Scoop.
VISITOR MESSAGES
Hi Craig. How's things? I thought I would send along an update of a car that is/was listed on your website, in both the For Sale section and the 1974 section, so you can see what's happening to some of the cars listed on your site.

Quite a while ago, I saw the following ad:

(01/14/02) 74 304 2bbl, auto Red, white vinyl roof; black interior, buckets, AC, cruise, PS, PB, CD Player (i have the orginal radio), ONLY 84K miles. ORIGINAL OWNER & orginal parts. Garage kept for 20 years. Passed inspection one year ago this month. Brand new white landau roof - New BF Goodrich racing tires (have original hubcaps) Wide tires in the back. Under 2000 miles wear. New chrome American Racing rims also. - Brand new brakes, brake cylinders, gas pump, radiator, carburetor, new hoses, 2 6.25 inch 3-Way sony explod speakers on each door. Get in and drive away condition. Needs some body work. - Includes CD Player and Speakers - The four original tires and rims will be included in the price. Price reduced to $800 OBO

At the time it was listed, I was interested and received some pictures of it. Because the car was located in NJ and I'm in MA, I decided to hold off. I later saw the car on eBay, but again, didn't do anything about it. A little while after it was on eBay, I went to a club cookout at the home of one of our club members' here in MA. As I was getting close to his house, I saw the front of a Matador coupe. As I got closer, I realized it was the SAME car that I saw on your site and on eBay! He said he saw it on eBay and had an impulse buy to get it. He had it trailered up from NJ, but wasn't sure what he was going to do with it. I told him if he ever wanted to sell, I was interested. To make an even longer story short, he decided he didn't want the project after all, so I bought it. He hadn't driven the car at all, so he said I should trailer it. I brought my trailer with me, but drove it to the gas station to get some fresh gas in it. It drove so well, I drove it the 60 miles or so home without any problems! I did notice the front suspension was in tough shape, so I decided that was first on the list.

Once I had the car home, I started to pull the front suspension for a complete rebuild and front disc brake swap. One day, while working under the front end, I glanced rearward and noticed some rust on the driver's side framerail. I started poking and prodding, and the little rust turned into a good sized hole. UGH! For a while I didn't know how I'd proceed. But after thinking about it, and seeing as the body is in overall good shape (except for the gas filler door which is rusted), I've decided I'm going to try to resurrect the car. I found a place that is somewhat local who specializes in rust repair. If I don't try to fix it myself, I'm going to give them a shot. They're supposed to do really great work. I'm planning on swapping in a 360, but I may end up going with the dream: a pro-touring build with a 390 (since I already have one), a Tremac 5 speed, 3.54s, and some 17" rims. It all depends on the money.

It may sound strange, but I feel I was meant to have this car. I know, weird, but how else can you explain the coincidence of finding the car I was interested in from NJ winding up in MA at a fellow club member's house and for sale?

Anyway, just wanted to give you an update. I hope all is well with you. If there's anything I can do to help you with the website (a series on the buildup of my coupe perhaps?), please let me know.

Talk to ya...

Brian S.

Hello Craig,

I like your website. I have owned about 60 cars over the years. I only bought one new car and it was a '74 Matador Coupe. I wish I had kept that car. Anyway, I'm always looking for another project and who knows, maybe it'll be another '74 Matador. This site of yours has me thinking again.

Just for interest, I paid $3997 for mine in Napa California in June of 1974. I was 20 years old and in the Air Force. It was bright red and I loved that car. My memory is pretty good when it comes to cars, so if you have any questions, feel free.

By the way, I defeated the seat belt interlocks by unplugging the plugs under the seat. They never gave me any trouble again.

Thanks for the great site.

Guy Truex

Craig,

I just visited your site. My Fathers name "Bobby Whiten" is on the pace car and the "75 Dixie 500 Scoreboard in the batch you have now. My Father also had his name on the Matador for many Atlanta races in the mid 70's. He was aan AMC dealer in Doraville, GA. We have many pic's, I'll get them to you.

Enjoyed the site.

Robert E. Whiten, II

Cool site! I do not own a Matador Coupe or any classic car and I probably never will (flat broke) but i love them so I check out your site from time to time. Keep up the good work!

Sean C., Stratford CT

p.s. Some people think the Matador Coupe is ugly, but it stands out. I drive a 1989 Oldsmobile Ciera wagon - want to trade cars?

Hi Craig,

My very first car was a 1977 AMC Matador Coupe. I bought it in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada in the spring of 1985 for only $550.00. I replaced the exhaust, got new tires, got a tune up and that car ran problem free until December of 87 when I was rear-ended and the car was written off by the insurance company. I got a cheque for $1100.

My Dad and my brother helped me pull the rear end out, and I drove the car for another couple of years! When I first bought the car, I thought it was damn ugly...but I really fell in love with that beast, and looking at your site really brought back some memories.

Thanks again.
Ted

To Craig Bond-

First, thankyou for advertizing my 2 coupes (a '75 and '78). I live in Reno, and within two weeks received a reply of interest in the '78 for sale- from a local guy about 30 miles from here!! And I thought I was the only local diehard fan... Anyway , he and I had a nice long (typical) AMC conversation, but he is unsure whether to go back to owning an older 2nd car and was curious about parts availability, etc- understandable. It is just wonderful, though, speaking to an 'AMC kindred spirit'... Just wanted to express my appreciation to you and for those of us who would be lost without this wonderful website full of information and pics!!

P.S. Those crash test photos are the best and most fascinating thing I've seen yet- incredible doesn't begin to describe them! I have had some pretty hairy experiences and decent collisions in both my Mat's (most actually inflicted by others) but have always felt safe- these prove it!! THE WINDSHIELD DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE CRACKED!!! Incredible- if you ever decide to sell these pictures, let me know!!

Rebecca Mihm, Reno, NV

(webmaster's note - I will not be selling the original crash test photos, but I may be having some sets done by a professional photo shop. If interested, email me!)

Hi Craig,

First off, I just want to say that your website is kickass, I'm sure you know as well as I do that it is almost impossible to find AMC information on the internet, and this website just totally impresses me with all of the information. I learn something new everytime I'm on it.

Second, I have a 1977 Matador Coupe. My mother was the original owner, and it only has 91,000 miles on it. After 3 months of painstaiking body restoration, and alot of welding, I finally have it looking just like new. I consider this a major accomplishment, considering I am only 17 years old. Now I find myself wanting more horsepower and torque out of it. I want to build an engine for it, probably re-using the 360 that is in it now. My goal is 350-400 hp. on pump gas. I was hoping you could give me some advice on where to buy AMC engine parts, and which brands to buy. I am working on a somewhat limited budget, I am trying to stay under $1500. I am keeping the stock 727 Torque Flite Tranny, but will probably change the 2.73's in the rear. I don't want to do anything too severe to the engine, like a super or turbo charger (can't afford it).

My plan is to send the block and heads out to have them cleaned up and machined (if needed) and shave the heads to raise the compression, with a big Holley Carb on top, 750 cfm, or maybe a double pumper. New rings and gaskets of coarse, and paint everything. I would like to hear any advice you have for building up an AMC engine.

Please reply to classic_clunkers@yahoo.com

Thanks, Chris

P.S. you can see pics of my Matador at: http://classic_clunkers.tripod.com

Craig -

My wife and I love your website! We bought our coupes in 1995 and 1996 when the prices were cheaper, and we have really enjoyed driving them. They get a lot of attention at the car shows here in Detroit. Each Matador has been on a vacation...the '75 went to Niagara Falls, and the '76 went to Mammoth Cave, KY. No problems with either. Keep up the good work!

Joe Ellis (webmaster's note: Joe has both of his Coupes registered on this site)

You have an excellent web site. I am a Mopar enthusiast, but for some reason I really like the mid-70's Matador coupes. You have done a great job. Keep it up.

John Belbas

Craig,

I don't own a Matador coupe, but I think what you're doing rocks because the coupe was a sweet car and a worthy replacement for my favorite AMCs, the Rebel/Matador hardtop. I saw your site some time ago and gave it a thumb's up.

A longterm goal of mine is to own a Matador coupe (I prefer the 304 or 360-2v because the carbs are easy) but I'm focusing right now on getting either another Reb/Mat hardtop or a Marlin. When the time comes, I'll shop your classifieds first and whatever I buy will be registered with you before I register it with my home state.

Thanks for doing what you do.

Stephen

Hi,
Just had to get this out I never been the same since my sister (without a license) crashed my 1976 AMC Matador Brougham in front of Rosie O'Gradies in Orlando, FL.

The CAR, got it for Christmas 1976 took it out that night with 4 other freinds to cruise around and found flaw number one with the car, watch out for drops in the road with a full passanger load, put a huge dent in the fuel tank. The AMC dealers only option was to put the police style coil springs in the rear. This didn't help much so I had a set of air shocks put in the rear.

That was the start after the shocks were put in I couldnt go with the standard 30lbs to keep the car level had to put in a full 120 and raise it to the hilt. New problem now the front end was low and had to be carefull where I pulled into not to scrape the radiator or bumper on the ground. Fixed that with some coil spacers.

Now the car was missing something and that was cool wheels got a set of ET mags and Dunlop Elderado raised white letter tires. Ok getting there to really do it I had a set of custom chrome exhaust put on, goodbye cat coverter and took a chisel to the fuel filler to change the openning so I could use regular good old fuel not the unlead crap. My father thought is was stupid to do this the car was so loud. If I went out late at night on the return home I would put the car in nuteral and shut the engine of and roll to a stop at my house. He always had something to say about the noise thats until he drove it for a day while his car was being worked on. I was umpireing a baseball game and he was driving around the field putting the car in nutural and reving the engine. He never said another word about the noise. The only bad thing about the side pipes living in FL is the heat would rise on either side and make like a rolling grill, man was it hot in that car.

Well the noise caught up to me the Florida Highway Patrol issued me a warning about noise and had to put dual "vette style" exhaust on. I left the side pipes on I loved them so much.

I could never get the car high enough in the air to suit me. I removed the air shock from the regular mounting spot and found a hole next to the frame and mount the shock there. That added a few inches then I got real daring and added stud extenison for another 2 inches. Now could put huge tires in the rear. That didnt last to long the car now was way to unstable to drive so I lowered it and used shocks with coils to give a little lift.

I moved to Boston, MA in 1979 and left my car behind with my parents. I should have drove it up but that history. Thanks for a great web site to visit old memories ones that will never die. That car had something, I don't know what but they were special.

David Roberts

Craig,

My name is Lance Waldrop. I have been a lifelong AMC'er and have finally gotten hold of a Matador coupe. It was 1989 when I saw one up close; a 74' X 401 that was plum metallic. I was at a salvage yard collecting some Concord parts when I saw it, but was still only a teen and didn't have the wherewithall to save it...within an hour it was shredded, 401 and all. Since then I've gathered many AM's and only kept a few like my 69 AMX 390 or my real love, a 73 plum Hornet X 360 hatchback.

The "new" Mat belonged to Ben Franklin(he had it on your classified page) and is more than I had expected . 304 auto, Cassini white/copper and pretty much 100% functional, including emissions gear and starter interlock....good stuf!!!!!

I wish you and the site continued success, and if anyone in the Hampton Roads area needs AMC support, just let me know.

Craig:

Just thought I would pass this along so others won't go thru the same things I am. First, I'm building a 74 coupe for next years Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, so we are starting from the suspension up. Was lucky to find a full (I thought) set of front and rear Prothayne bushings from "AJ" at South Texas AMC 1-830-9803165. Unknown to both of us was there is no lower spring seat piviot bushings in the kits. We found this out after having the old ones pressed out. The AMC part # for the bushing is J3197016, but not available at local Jeep dealer. The entire lower spring seat with bushing is available, but about $95 each.

AJ put me in touch with ESPO springs 1-800-903-9019. They had the bushings, plus a new set of 1 1/2" lower front springs for about $155 total, incl. shipping. Next problem: The machine shop pressed my upper and lower control arm bushings out, shell and all, even after I told the counter man "just the bushings" because the urthane bushings have no shell. Not sure we can salvage the old shells, but if not, ESPO has stock upper bushings with shells for about $20 each and lowers for about $10 each. AJ also found me a used rear anti sway bar. I'm having the swar bars and the upper and lower control arms powder coated. My local parts store had the tie rod ends, ball joints, etc. to finish the front suspension completly with new parts. We bought a really super pair of TRW boxed heavy duty rear lower control arms from the AMC Parts Depot for $89.

Still looking for a 401 motor to build with Indy heads. Does anyone out there know how far you can bore and stroke a 401. If I can't find a 401 soon I am going to go with a 502 crate motor or a 500 cid Cadilic motor. That would make the transmission selection much easier because The Real Art Carr (he's back) is going to build a GM 200 automatic OD for me. Also wondering if anyone out there has experience in installing a Cad or big block Chevy in a coupe or does anyone have or know of a good AMC to GM adaptor. Will a Dana 20 with Currey axles withstand 500+ ft.lbs of torque?

John Beddow beddow@futureone.com

Hello Craig

I was looking at the updates to your web site, and wanted to give you a bit of advice from experience from my AMC's. Your Project Dolly is an interesting one, and I like what you are doing. I see you are using the Comp Cams 280, which is the same cam I used in my 401 in my Javelin, which by the way has a 3.54 axle, 2500 stall converter and is now a high 12 second car that acts like it is on ice when you stab the throttle. I used the Edelbrock 750 carb, and after using many Holleys, some out of the box, the Edelbrock is the choice by far. It is by far more tuneable and holds a setting. My Matador is going to see a 401 built for more street oriented use, but as I see what you are doing with your other Coupe, I wanted to give you my two cents. My recommendation for a 12-second Coupe: Edelbrock 800 (new offering from them) Edelbrock Torker ( as long as stall speed on converter is at least 2800 RPM), Or Performer ( if stall speed is closer to 2500 RPM), block the heat off to the intake, use a 160 thermostat, a big tranny cooler (I used a 19,000 lb GVW RV cooler) a MSD blaster coil and an ignition system tailored to the cam. I found that mine does not like vacuum advance too much, and had a low-speed and cruise miss directly related to vacuum advance. I started with an adjustable advance, and finally went with no vacuum advance at all when I changed from points to the Motorcraft system. The 280 does like a significant amount of centrifugal advance, so take a look at that. I noticed a MAJOR difference when giving the engine more centrifugal advance. Initial timing with the 280 is good at about 10 to 12 degrees.

With the Matador's weight at about 3800 lbs, you should be close to my Javelin's weight of 3310 if you are lightening it. My first Coupe was a mid-14 second car with a 360 using the old Crane Cams 'Gripper' cam and 3.15 open gears and a Holley 600. I have learned some things the hard way since then. Oh, by the way, when you install your cam, advance it 4 degrees. It will increase your engine's dynamic compression a bit, and give you a bit more low to mid range torque. I milled my heads .020 and used stock replacement .030 over pistons on a '72 401 giving me just over 8.8 to 1 compression. My 401 runs fine on 89 octane, but kind of complains with the 87 (I tried it once just to see). I usually run a blend of 89 and premium when I have some money. The last thing you will be looking for is a set of drag slicks, as I am in search of a set. The 401 built like this just blows away the tires. At the starting line, I have to be careful, or I go nowhere when the green light comes on. I am using the Performer, but plan on trying the Torker in a couple of months.

When I had my heads milled, I did not have to mill my intake. Everything went together fine. There is enough room to play with as far as that goes with the intake gasket, but I would think that much more than that would make it something you may have to do. I used the material from the old intake valley pan gasket to make the blocker pieces for the heat crossover. I cut them so they just fit inside the opening of the gasket, but fit over the crossover port. I used Permatex Red in that area to assure high temperature sealing there. The material that that valley pan is made up is thin enough and will give enough so there is a good seal, they don't rust or pit out on you, and the material is easy to cut. I tried a piece of thin steel once, and it rusted through in less than a year. There is a lot of corrosive properties in the exhaust, moisture gets in there, and steel just cannot live in that environment. That valley pan material is some type of aluminum alloy that works great there. If you cannot come up with a piece of that material, try to use as thin a piece of aluminum as you can find. Maybe a piece cut from an aluminum pop can will work.

Go for the sleeper look with stock rims and put the bumpers back on! You could probably go the cheap route on the bumpers if they are pitted up and just paint them body color. Use OEM steel wheels, and when you get the slicks, you will have to drill the edges of the rims to screw the beads of the slicks to the rims to prevent the rims from spinning on the beads of the tires. Not that many tire shops mount slicks, so you may have to do a little shopping around. The steel wheels are easier to work with anyway. For even more of a sleeper look, find a set of those dog-dish AMC hub caps and put them on the car! Put 304 emblems on the front! At our local track, someone did that with their car. You have to have a screw to secure the hubcap to keep it from flying off. The guy here did a Chevy Caprice all done as a sleeper and it runs 11's. I want to get this guy! It looks very sedate. Oh, get a set of drag shocks for the front too. They do make them for AMC's. I got a price of about $80 for a set of them. They let the front end rise easier for better weight transfer and traction. You will get that car in the 12's! Get the power to the pavement and you will! You will like that 280 cam! It has a neat idle!

My Coupe is coming along. My web page has a few new pics of the new Coupe as it comes alive! It is now a reliable car and drives great. The 22 years it sat were pretty good to it. I am deep in the body work on my coupe. After 22 years in a garage, the body was spared a lot of damage. There were some dings, scratches and a close call with the frame of a garage door, but all in all, a nice body to work with. It took an afternoon to get the old stripe off the body! I am going to order a new stripe from Kennedy American.

I should be back at the drag strip with the Javelin by the middle to end of July. I want to have the Matador painted by September. I will have a bunch of the original parts under the hood chrome plated over winter. I did that to the Javelin, and it looks good. I had the original valve vovers, the underhood support bars, and several other pieces plated rather than just painted black. It's easier to keep clean too. Next year the car should be ready for the hitch. I love driving my coupe and enjoy it's ride, smoothness and the fact that it is the only one anywhere near here.

Take care and I hope I have not bored you too much with all this! Oh, the trailer hitch you have is going to be the hot tip to a lot of Coupe owners. The photos you sent me a couple of months ago were helpful. I do want to order one in a few months if there is a vendor or part number available.

Thanks!

Bill Dettman javelinman@hotmail.com

(webmaster's note: see Bill Dettman's Coupe go from rough to finished HERE.)

It was amazing to me to read that there were only 93 base coupes made in 1974 with the 401 engine. I may me the only person on earth who owned 2 of them at once. Got 'em both brand new, drag raced one of them, towed with the other. I always loved the styling, and assumed everyone else did, until an announcer once said over the P.A. system, "That Matador looks like a big blue tuna sucking on a carp." I ran the car with some success in the brackets for 2 years and always loved it, but I never quite recovered from the announcer's comment and never quite felt the same about the styling. Thanks for some wonderful memories.

Ronnie Maahs

Craig, I just took a look at your coupe web site, nice job. There is a lot of very good information on there. I have booked marked it. In any case, I no longer own my Matador Coupe, but I thought I would pass on the story anyway.

I accumulated mine as a function of the job I had at the time. There was an edict passed that no longer did people as myself need a company car so I cast around and found a 1977 Coupe that had been parked for about 2 years under a tree. It has been used as a Kodak Company copier repair man's car and he had bought it from the company when it was replaced. Drove it home and parked it in the driveway and due to family problems it was never moved. I approched Toni about buying it and he agreed. We then emptied out the rest of the trunk. Swept out the cob webs from the passenger compartment and about 3 hours later got it started and drove it home. It was a Silver car that had been painted international orange and had a basic checked cloth interior in shades of grey or black. I can not remember now as this was in about 1981 or so. It was a 304 Auto, A/C, with AM radio.

I drove the car about 4 years. Repainted the butt ugly orange with a white and black out around the windows and the grill and installed aluminum slot mags . I thought it was a pretty good looking car. It ran fairly well with the EGR line plugged. But it never got over 11 mpg. With a 26 gallon gas tank that did not bother me too much. This was in southern California at the time so I was putting on the milage fairly fast. I bought it with about 60,000 miles on it. There were air shocks on the back but one of the shocks was not good, however the air part functioned and I would keep anywhere from 15 to 35 lbs of air in them to level out the ride depending on how much load I was gonna carry at any given time. I also installed an AM/FM cassette radio which was removed when I sold the car and is now in my Javelin.

Some where around 100,000 miles I had the front end rebuilt. I let it get bad enough so that when you changed lanes on a cement freeway and the tire caught in the divider lines the thing would jump about 1/2 lane before I could catch it. Yupper it was dangerous to drive at that time. Once I felt that I could cost justify the rebuild (fix it or junk it) it turned once more into a real nice car that just sucked a lot of gas.

As time passed I was working for another company and they offered me a 1987 Old Cutless Sierra as a company car and I then sold my Coupe to a young family that needed a second car. I did keep the car in generally good shape except for letting the front end get that bad so they were quite happy with it. As one might expect with a decent AMC car they turn out kinda nice and I found out about a year later that the family had decided to move back to Texas and they sold there Ford Torres and kept the Matador and drove it back. Never heard from them again.

The only thing that prevailed as a mystery was the A/C clutch would drop out and I would lose the A/C. After a little sluething I discovered that there was about 9 or so volts at the clutch. There was a voltage drop through the system that included the ambient temperature sensor at the front of the car. (If it was below 32 degrees the A/C would not kick on, not a big problem in Southern California), the sensor on the unit under the dash that was used to control the temperature and a sensor on the inside of the car that monitored passenger cabin temperature. At least I think that is what it was. The memory is a little foggy there. Between the 3 sensors in series from the battery to the A/C clutch, the voltage drop was more than the clutch could deal with so it would just drop out. I solved that by having the A/C line drive a relay ( in fact I used a heater motor drive relay) and in turn wired the contacts straight to 12vdc with a fuse and then to the A/C clutch. Never had another problem with it after that. I did find out somewhat after the fact that apparently that was a fault in those years for A/C and there was a wiring kit that was a dealer upgrade. Never did find out just exactly the dealer up grade was but my home brew thing worked.

I always liked my Coupe, never really had any kind of a complaint about it. It treated me well and I treated it well. Don't know if I ever will have another one as I am well stocked with AMC cars now. A '70 Donohue 390 5 spd Javelin. A fuel Injected 1981 Spirit custom car (this one has given me more personal satisfaction for the dollar spent than any car I have ever owned) a 1974 Hornet Levi Hatch back, 304 V-8, Auto and A/C which is a round tuit project and a Spirit AMX that I am working on for my lady friend. Add to that my Eagle Summit wagon with 1/4 million miles on it and my Lady friends Saturn I have more than enough cars to deal with at the present. You have done a hell of a nice job on your web site and I envy it.

Have a good AMC day.

John T Elle

Craig, I absolutely love what you do with this site. You can't imagine the memories I have (actually, maybe you can) of the first car I bought with my own money: a beautiful metallic blue '78 Matador coupe, 360, and perfect! As my name is Patrick, that car was dubbed "the Patador" by my friends. Truly, I associate some of the best times ever with that car.

Sadly, I only had it for two years. Sold the car to pay for a semester of college....life is tough. Have picked up a few AMC's over the years but have never found another coupe. So, maybe you can help me. If there is anybody out there who would like to do some swapping for all the Eagle stuff I have accumulated, please give them my address and maybe I can make a deal. Eagles would have to go to make room for a Matador anyway. Engine/transmission options don't matter, nor would the year. Doesn't have to be perfect, just not rusted beyond repair.

Thanks again for the time you put into this great site!

Patrick Bridge
Kilmarnock, VA
patandlaura@rivnet.net

Hello!

I am very impressed with your site on the Matador Coupe. I am in the process of purchasing my second '74 Matador X and also have a '70 Javelin 401. Attached are pictures of my first Matador that also was my first car I had in High School. My Dad bought it new in Jan. '75. The one I am buying is also blue and has been in storage on blocks since 1979. Keep up the good work on this site and if I have anything else for you or parts sources, I will pass them on! Also, I have attached a pic of my Javelin. It will be a 12 second car this year after I get the 3.54 twin-Grip in it and shelve the 3.15 open axle assy. I did a 13.30 last summer, losing much needed traction. I have a 401 in the works for my new Matador. I am thinking about trying a set of '69 390 heads on it to bump compression. I am going to be using the Comp Cams 280 in it also. I like that cam in my Javelin. I have an EFI setup in it's future as well.

Thanks again for the great site and info!

Bill Dettman
South Bend IN

Hello,

This is truly a great site. I have always admired and respected the whole "AMC" thing, I guess I always root for the under dogs. I was fortunate enough to have been born in Mechanicsburg Pa. where we were just miles from Carlisle, the holy Mecca of any car enthusiast, and Williams Grove speedway - home of the Outlaws, and enduro races. This is were my history with AMC all started.

My dad was always a racer and when my uncle was going to sentence his ' 75 Matador to the junk yard my dad decided to try his luck at an enduro. This was in 1987, and I was 16 at the time. His pit crew consisted of myself and a few of my friends. On race day they tried to turn us away due to the fact that the official thought the car was a Camaro!? Can you believe it? Anyway, after a closer look the agreed it was an AMC product, but they still weren't happy with us and they checked wheelbase, shocks, motor, everything with a fine tooth comb. After a grueling Tec inspection we were in. At the drop of the flag we were 87th of close to 150 cars. all this on a half mile dirt track!

If you're not familiar with an enduro race, it's basically a 200 lap race where they only stop the race if the track is completely blocked. You can imagine the carnage that builds up after so many laps. A lot of crashing and banging goes on between drivers, and the only prerequisite is that you be 18 with a "valid" drivers license. The Matador's spacious wheel well openings proved to be very helpful. You couldn't get a cut sidewall if you tried to! This was only to be the first of a 3 year tradition. The original car lasted 3 or 4 races, and 3 more Matadors later we had a multi car race team. The over all handling and agility of the cars contributed to their long life in a very harsh racing environment. Most cars, like Monte Carlos, Chevelles, Le Mans, etc. don't last one race let alone have a career in it! Unibody magic I say.

Please don't get mad about the abuse of these great cars, they were all on there way to be crushed, we helped slow the process down. Although we never recorded a win, we did come in at 13th once. That's out of over a hundred Fords, Chevys, Dodges, and Ponchos. We were the only AMC products out there, and just like in Nascar years before, we were a force to be reckoned with. The big block Chevys could haul a$$ down the straightaways, but the Matadors were the only ones getting through the corners. Hi or low it didn't matter, they were truly great cars.

After a stint in Fla. I reside in SC. the home of little to no winter, and good steel. My dad has a ' 72 Jav., also a great handling car, and two Marlins, along with a Henry J, another independent, and a ' 66 classic. I am always looking for a Matador for myself, strictly for the street, there's not enough left to be cutting them up for the track. I saw the red custom Matador at Carlisle also, and it was a beautiful job! I drooled. If I get a chance I will scan some old race car photos and send them in. Thanks for the great site and if I get the opportunity to own another of these great cars I will register with you ASAP!!!

thanks again
Dustin Stouffer

webmaster's note: What a great story! That's why I love having this site. An enduro racer Matador - who would have guessed?

No name given.

I have a 1974 Matador sedan 4dr with 117,000 original miles, 304 V8 runs perfect. It was my grandmothers car. I have owned it for about 14 years. Please send me any information about parts, pictures, owners, etc. Please note I take alot of ridicule and joking about this car, but i hold my head high and it keeps running along just fine. Knowing there are AMC enthusiasts out there I feel much better.

From Brad-

My Dad had a 75 Model at the time of his death. The car sat for about a year, when I started it up, and gave it a quick clean up job. It was a nifty car, lots of power. Only problem, it pinged on just about any kind of fuel! But it was fun to drive and had an excellent AC system. AMC cars were really better than the public believed.

webmaster's note: Sounds like the timing needed adjustment, or the ignition system needed some maintenance. A slack timing chain could also produce the same symptoms.

Craig, I have really enjoyed your Matador site. I've always loved the AMC products and to back it up just bought a 75 Gremlin X which had been sitting for 12 years in the Alabama sun. It's light blue OE paint is actually shining after 2 car washes! Anyway, I never had a Matador, tried to get my dad to buy one in 1978 because I loved our 69 Rebel Wagon (postal surplus), very spartan! I had a model of a 74 X coupe. It was a Monogram I think with a 304. Do you have any idea what it would be worth today? I did assemble it perfectely. Sadly , it didn't live thru my dad's remarriage.

Otherwise, are you guys aware of the miracle of the GM turbohydramatic 700 overdrive transmission? I run one in my Pontiac 71 GTO. It gives a first gear ratioof 3.06:1 which gives awesome takeoff power (just like bolting a high 3.73 rearend in) and goes thru 3 other gears to include a 4th gear which is overdrive. .70:1. The AMC motors with their torque would respond dramatically to this trransmission. Mileage and performance increase. I will be using this trans in my 258 Gremlin in the future.

Best- Rick Cain Bham, Alabama

From Carl

First I was glad to finally find (not only an AMC web site), but a Matador web site! My name is Carl. My father had bought a black Matador X with black interior, for my mother on Mother's Day in 1974. The car has a 360 4bbl with the 727 transmission. Power steering, power brakes, bucket seats with the floor shifter. The car has been sold to a few members of our family but has finally been given to me. I plan on a ground up restoration, no matter how many years it takes. I had taken my driver's exam in this car. One thing that i have found is that parts are hard to find. What I would like to find is a parts car to purchase. So if there is anyone out there that might be able to help me, i would appreciate it. Please E-mail me with any information. My E-mail address is : countrylt@hotmail.com or c.davis7@home.net also hope to have some beginning, during, and finished pictures to share with everyone. Thanks for the help.

webmaster's note: If you can help Carl, send him an email. It would be great for another Coupe to be saved and restored.

Hello! My name is Tom and I live in Santee, Ca; just near San Diego. I used to have a 1974 Oleg Cassini Matador coupe. I bought it after the Superbowl in 1974, when I was living in Houston, Texas. I LOVED the way that car looked....and part of the draw to me was that it was unique...and everyone else had "clunkmobiles" and "Japanese beer cans." Unfortunately, it was the gas crunch of the time and some mechanical problems which caused me to trade it in after I owned it for a period of 8 months.

However, I enjoyed it enough to take a trip to California and a trip to Ohio in it. I never got burned from the buttons on the upholstery, but I might have snagged a pair or two of pants....I don't remember! Unfortunately, the left front spring was never seated properly at the factory and so when I went over bumps or railroad tracks, there was a sort of "gitty-up" motion and a clunk-thunk noise. Also, the mounting bolts for the air-conditioning unit would continually come loose. The resulting vibrations made a sound rather like a fog horn. I remember the car did not have power windows. The window cranks broke off, first on passenger side and then on the driver's side. I have to admit, that was a rather disgusting feeling. And all of this was right at the time when Japanese cars were beginning to make such inroads because of their better quality and gas mileage. However, when it was washed and shined, Man what a Car!!!! It really stood out and I loved its lines! Being white with a copper vinyl top and having copper headlight bezzels, the car impressed people. Ladies loved it and it was elegant. It was very comfortable and a great road car with a wonderful ride. It had a huge trunk and no funny skinny spare in those days! It had the 304 v8 and I chose that engine because I wanted "economical power." Now that I think about it, it was the only V8 I ever owned. Now I look back on it with sentimentality and wish I had it again.

You may or may not believe me, but I also had a 1976 Pacer. It was a cool car to me, but it only got 12 miles to the gallon. OK in flat Texas with cheap gasoline, but lousy in hilly California with gas on the average 10 to 15 cents more a gallon. My Pacer was cool, but not as elegant as my Matador. I shall see, in the next few months I may try to buy a Matador coupe. I need a new hobby! Oh yes, did I mention I also took a trip to New Orleans in mine?.......I did love that car! But at the time, I did not realize it as much as I do now!

Take care! Your site is great and thanks for saving this wonderful part of American Motoring!!!

Tom in San Diego California

From Maurice Kemp

I am very happy that I found this site. It has been a long time since I've seen an AMC car. What a shame that they had to merge with Chrysler (mostly because they wanted Jeep). When I was born, my step-dad was driving an Ambassador coupe (I don't remember the year it came out). A friend of my grandparents drove an AMC American. My grandparents bought a '76 Hornet station wagon, which turned out to be my most favorite. We did a lot of traveling in that car. Due to engine problems, the car was traded in for a 1/4-ton van. I really miss that car. It was watching an episode of "My Classic Car" during an AMO convention that got me back into AMC cars. Right now, my two most favorite are the Eagle and the Matador coupe. I honestly never knew that there was a club for AMC cars. Providing I get pictures, I'll post them on the web. Thanks.

From Steve Green

I think your web site is great! I always loved the Matador Coupes and now, as an adult, I've begun to collect them (along with other AMCs of the 70s).

My favotite car (of all the AMCs) is my 1978 Matador Coupe. This was the last Matador built and it came to me complete with the photo album of it being built on the line.....and delivery was to designer Dick Teaugue himself. Teague was in love with the styling cues that are prevalent on the Matador Coupe (tunneled headlights, long nose-short deck, etc.) so it makes sense that he would want the last one for himself. This particular car has less than 7,000 miles on it since new; it's a Barcelona - but specially finished for Teague in white with a white top (and the cranberry velour Barcelona interior).

My other car is a Cassini Matador. As I was told at a recent meet, Cassini himself had little to do with the finished product, but all desighers were getting into lending their names to cars, for the exposure, fees and/or royalties. AMC historian/author Patrick Foster (I was told) gained all of the material from Cassini's studio in Paris after a successful letter-writing campaign to the designer. Authentic Cassini or not, it's another unique version of this unique car.

webmaster's note: I personally saw this car at the 1999 St. Louis AMO Nationals. It is a beautiful car, and the photo album is truly incredible.

From HARRYKINGPIN@aol.com

I remember seing my first Matador Coupe walking to high school around 1974, a green Broughm model I thought what an odd looking car! Every day I walked by that car I studied its lines and loved it. My stepfather was an SCCA racer and I was raised around exotic cars (he raced a Lotus) and thats what first brought AMC's to my attention.

I remember seeing Javelins racing the road courses and noticed I started pulling for the underdog Ramblers. I later learned to drive in a Gremlin and although my first car was a '69 Chevelle every car since has been an AMC. I have endured countless jokes at the expense of these grand cars, but I have never been one to run with the crowd anyway, and suspect all AMC owners share this same trait.

I now own a '76 Coupe with a 360 loaded with just about every option, a'72 Matador 401 unmarked cop car,a '80 Spirit with a 401 that loves to pick on those silly Mustangs, Camaros, and 'Vettes(for under $4000 total investment ha ha ha) an '84 Eagle wagon and lastly a '72 401 Javelin SST. I will always own an AMC and lately I notice while driving my cars people have begun to admire these cars that before had been laughed at. I wonder if it is because they are finally fed up with the cookie cutter cars being produced now, or could it be they are jealous at how we have dared to be different!

Craig,

My name is Dean Reitan and I'm from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I have just spent the last hour or so touring your Matador coupe site, and I think it's great that somebody out there is giving this car the praise and recognition it deserves.

I have been an AMC fan for quite some time now, and even though I like all of their cars (even the Pacer) the Matador Coupe is my favorite. Hopefully I'll be able to find one someday, but for now I'll relate to you the story of one I could have had if I weren't 15 years old at the time. This could be lengthy, so be prepared.

The year was 1990, and I was in grade 10 at James Fowler High School here in Calgary. One sunny afternoon I spent my lunch hour walking around the perimeter of the school, and during this walk I passed the outdoor storage area containing some cars which the mechanics department had for their students to work on. One of them was a Matador coupe. For me it was love at first sight, even though the car needed some serious mechanical work. The engine and transmission had been removed, disassembled, and tossed into the trunk. I don't know what displacement the engine was, but I know it was a V8 block. The hood was sitting on the roof of the car. The body looked to be in good condition, with no signs of collision repair and very little rust.

It was a 1977 or 1978, because it had the semi-rectangular lights on the grille. The exterior was orange, with a black and yellow pinstripe. It had a gold medallion hood ornament, with similar medallions on the fenders below the Matador emblems. There was a Barcelona emblem on the trunk, but this car didn't have opera windows. There were mirrors on both sides, and five-spoke aluminum wheels as well. The interior was tan and looked to be quite luxurious. It had the sportier looking three-spoke steering wheel, and a column mounted automatic.

Even though I was in mechanics later that semester, I didn't get to work on the Matador. Juniors didn't get to work on complete cars, just engines. Now, here's where the story gets depressing. One day the Matador was pushed into the shop and placed on jackstands. The aluminum wheels were removed and sold, and the car just sat there on stands for the remainder of the semester. Unfortunately it took its share of abuse during that time. Somebody claimed the hood ornament, and the driver's side mirror was removed by means of unscrewing it and cutting the cables with a hacksaw. Later on, somebody threw a starter motor through the left rear window. Fortunately for the perpetrators, I never witnessed any of these events.

At the beginning of the following school year I saw the Matador back outside again. It had plain black steel wheels on the back, and no wheels on the front end which was resting on cinderblocks. It sat there like that for quite some time, with the interior exposed to the winter conditions due to the smashed window. A few months later, as I was passing by I noticed that the hood had been put back on. I also saw that somebody had broken all of the lights. I assumed that because the hood was replaced the car was about to be moved, and that the school was disposing of it. I was right. The next day it was gone, and I never saw it again.

Like I said before, it's too bad I was only 15 at the time or else I would have bought the car in a heartbeat. Besides, I knew that there was no way I could have convinced my dad to keep it in the yard. Now that I'm 25 and not as strapped for cash and storage space as I was 10 years ago, I wish I could track that Matador down. Hopefully it was sold to somebody who intended to restore it, and not to a salvage yard. It was obviously a rare one, being a 1977 or 1978. How many Barcelonas do you know of that didn't have opera windows? How many coupes were equipped with aluminum wheels? In restored condition it would easily be among the nicest featured on your site.

Sorry to have taken so much of your time, but I figured that any story involving one of these fine automobiles is worth telling... even if it has a potentially unhappy ending.

Thanks again for the fantastic site.

Dean Reitan

Hi, my name is Bob Layman.

I have enjoyed your site many times. I owned a 1974 sports Coupe with the 258 straight six cylinder in it. Not only did it get 22 mpg, it had a lot of power to spare. I miss it, as it was totalled out in a wreck where I was hit at a stop sign. The bumper protected all my passengers. I hope to be able some day to buy another one. Even though everyone I know says it's a funny looking car, to me it's a beauty.

Hi,

My name is Brandon. I live in Kenosha, WI and I own a 1978 Matador Barcelona coupe with 73,000 miles, a 360 2 barrel and 727. It has the half vinyl top and opera windows and pretty much every option. Its maroon/burgundy in color, and has a little rust, but it still pretty good. Its been my favorite AMC I've had, and I've had a 1975 Gremlin X, a 1982 Concord and a 1980 Concord D/L which I still have. I traded my 1982 Concord for the Matador. The guy who previously had it wanted a car that got better gas mileage, so we traded since I like Matadors a lot.

My dad thinks I'm nuts (I'm 16 years old) for liking my Matador (and AMC to a lesser extent) and he thinks it's one of the ugliest cars ever made and asked me why I don't get some Camaro or Mustang or something like most teenagers would want. Now that I got a new job I'm saving up for a nicer Matador, preferably yellow in color.

Since I was little I remember being interested in AMC's and begged my dad to buy one but he never would. I remember them tearing down the lakefront plant and blowing up the smokestack in 1989 even though I was only 5, and driving under the walkway on 52nd St. that said American Motors and had the logo painted on it. It's sad that we lost the only independent company and the only one that really dared to be different from the rest of the crowd.

Well anyways, I've been looking for a site about Matador coupes and I finally found yours on epage classifieds. This is a great site you have made. It's cool hearing some of the stories of these matadors and other various information on them. I like your site so much I've set it to my homepage, it's a very interesting page. Well just thought I'd tell you my story and what a good page you have, and your Matadors are really cool. Hope you have good luck getting your Matador ready to race in time! Talk to you later.

Brandon - 1978 Matador Barcelona Coupe - 1980 Concord D/L 2dr.
bheather@kusd.kusd.edu

webmaster's note: This is Dave's letter that he sent with pictures of his car. It is only slightly edited for length.

6/30/2000

Hey Craig! This is Dave Shapiro, a completely "lost-his-mind" AMC guy. I am sending you this letter to inform you of how awesome the Coupe Coop is, and I check the site every few weeks for any interesting addition.

My story is one that began back in 1994, when I was aimlessly driving around Orlando in my 1979 Datsun 280ZX. I loved my Datsun. I redid the paint and interior, added a $2000 stereo system, and drove it to recycling yards whenever the urge to find parts hit me.

Well, one day I saw a rusting red beast sitting in the back of one particular junk pile. I had no idea what it was. All of the badges were gone from the car, and the interior had no markings, such as the familiar Chevy Bowtie or the Ford oval, to give away the identity of the car. Now, I thought this was the ugliest, most boring looking car I had ever laid eyes on, but for some reason I had to know what this thing was.

The car, the yard man told me, was a "piece of sh!&" AMC Matador, a '75 he thought. The dash had an odometer with no trip meter (I love that), and a big clock with big hands on it. I shook my head and wondered how anyone could like such a car.

After 2 years passed, I saw something else. It was an Eagle. Once again, I had a car to wonder about. When I found out that this was also an AMC, I decided that a little research was in order. I went to the library and found all about Ramblers, Pacers, Gremlins, Eagles, etc., and lo and behold, the story of "The little automaker that could" stole my heart and made me cry. It reminded me so much of how the Big 3 automakers tried and then succeeded in putting the man who brought us the wonderful Tucker out of business. AMC was the story of Americans working hard to survive in a sea of sharks. It impressed me, and I gained a new respect for that "P.O.S" Matador I had seen 2 years earlier, and the search was on!

I looked all over Florida for a decent Matador Coupe, but to no avail. I saw one, but it was falling apart. I saw another that was perfect, but I couldn't afford perfection. Then I got WebTV.

It was 1998 by now, and my affection turned toward a 1978 Pacer with only 21K miles which I found in Miami. I had to have it. The owner kept it for me while I made payments to him for 6 months, but I still wanted a Matador. I loved my Pacer and brought it to many car shows, but I still sought a Matador. Then I discovered that I could find one over the Internet on an AMC website.

The car was in Ringgold, GA, a suburb of Chatanooga, TN. The man who owned it was 77 years old. The car was a 1977 Matador Barcelona. Road Trip!!! I convinced a couple of friends to make the 9 hour drive to see the car. When we got there, the car was a little less glamorous than I was led to believe. It needed work - a lot of work. After haggling, I still got ripped off, but I didn't care. I finally had my Matador. But it didn't make it home yet, as the engine gave out around Tifton, GA, halfway home.

I was distraught. Upset. How could I finally get my car, only to see it blow up? Well, I decided to start from scratch. M&M Auto in Tifton rebuilt my Matador's 360, put in a 4 barrel, new battery, new starter. Then I did the paint and headliner. The results are in the pictures.

The transmission still slips a little, and will be rebuilt soon. The interior is old and dirty, but for now, I am gonna finally enjoy my car, because it took me almost a year to pay everyone who fixed it up, and I've only driven it around 500 miles. The Matador is ready to roar!

From Tony

Eight years ago, when I first entered college, I bought a '77 Matador Barcelona Coupe with a 360 for $600. After a Honda and a Mitsu. I was amazed at the sheer comfort, power, and derivability of a car I bought, "until I can get another Honda." Sure, the gas mileage wasn't that great but it was something I learned to live with. Then after a bit a older mechanic took pity on me and taught me how to tune, and rebuild, the engine in the Matador. What a surprise! The Matador did get good gas milage, as long as I kept my foot out of the 4-bbl (grin), I didn't have to hook it up to my lap-top just to tune it up!

Eight years later I have a Honda Accord I use just to drive to work and back, the rest of my driving is done in my Matador.

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