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Coupe Scoop - guestbook

PAGE TWO
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.
VISITOR MESSAGES PAGE TWO
From Dom Silvestri, San Diego
dominicsilvestri@mail.com

Thanks so much for your effort to start and maintain this site. I paged through the whole thing and honestly it brought back so many memories.

In1975, at age 13 growing up in the working class (Chevy-rules) suburbs of Cleveland, I remember one day announcing to a classmate that I liked the Pacer. The predictable ridicule ensued, but from that day on I was like a fiend to know what I could about this underdog make of a car.

I became a veritable American Motors Corporation (always preferring to say the elegant full name to just "AMC") fanatic. For hours I would pour over old issues of Motor Trend and the like at the library, often with my twin brother at my side just shaking his head.

I became versed in all the company's history, particularly from 1963 on. My favorites became, in somewhat descending order, the '67 Ambassador (Covertible, 4-speed as seen in the sales brochure), the Rebel of the same years, of course the AMX//Javelins ('71 up especially), and the Matador, which at the time were actually quite common around town.

That summer came, and by then my obsession was in full swing. I became privileged to wash the car of one Ms. Mia Diatolevi, a single lady who owned a '74 bronze base model coupe with tan buckets and a vinyl top. For $3.00, I was only too happy to completely detail and paste wax the car...because the real reward came in the simple fact that at 15 years of age, pulling her car out and back was the closest I was gonna get to driving for another year or so. I also washed her friend's '75 Cutlass Supreme, in the then-fashionable silver with red velour. A very nice car...and even Mia used to look at me cross-eyed when I told her I liked her car better. The style of the day overtook her, and I was later to be resigned to having to wash her triple-dove grey '77 Cougar XR7. Processed cheese food with four wheels.

Another fun activity used to be to pedal my bike to Bob Kay Amercan on the Bedford Auto Mile. The lot was full of new cars, including some very sharp coupes. I would try those wonderful "flipper" door handles until I hit paydirt--an unlocked car. Then I would explore the interiors, checking out the infinitely reclining airliner seats, reading the crisp new owner's manuals and just generally poking my head and fingers where they didn't belong.

On one such mission, I lay down on the split bench "Brampton Plaid" front seat and investigated the claim I'd seen in some sales promotion or ad that AMC front ashtrays glided on real ball bearings, When I arose, satisfied with all things truthful, I caught a glimpse in the car's rearview mirror of one very intent looking City of Bedford cop. Somehow I was able to convince him that I was indeed NOT trying to hot-wire the car, and was sent pedalling away, shaking but cured of on any additional need to question the company's marketing tactics.

The next year, my brother and I got our first car to share, a '67 Oldsmobile 98 convertible, a true $300 dollar bomb. But the top went up and down, and I probably don't have to mention that just having a car was good enough...but a convertible? Suddenly I had friends who never had previously bothered to even wave.

That car, with well over 100,000 on the clock, was an excersise in economic futility. The frame broke over the differential soon after we got it. We rebuilt the 425 Rocket, and I would scrape to get $2.00 together to put some more Ethyl in the tank. One day, when my brother, dad and I were particularly frustrated with the car and all the money we had seemed to fruitlessly spend on it, I found dad with the phone book out and dialing Bob Kay American..."what do you have in the way of Matador 2-doors...oh, I suppose a 6 cylinder, 3 on the tree." He got off the phone and announced that maybe we should go consider the kelly green base (green plaid bench) coupe that he had priced. My brother squacked loudly, and even I tried to imagine myself in such a mundane car. The inquiry was short lived and I would later go on to replace the 98 with a very nice 30,000 mile '66 Toronado, which I drove all through college.

Which brings me to a point that I observed others make in their e-mails. The Matador, properly outfitted as I would have preferred to see all of them built, really came together well with the right trim--namely, a black '75 X (with its beautiful thinner-than-'74's stripe in metallic gold) and an ultra-cool black interior with white buckets. It was a big mistake to flood the market with versions with whose detractors' opinions I would have to agree. The car's lines did not lend itself to a vinyl roof treatment, and the opera window D/L was even more clumsy looking, although I would later take a shine to the two tone Barcelona. I did see some very classy Oleg Cassini models, a black one used to park the next street over. I always marvelled at how much better the car's lines were if the vinyl top were at least similar to the car's paint color.

But those steel roofed X's were the best. Is memory serving me correctly that one could still get the 401 in '75? (webmaster's note: There are reports that 4 Matador Coupes were produced with a 401 in 1975. I have not seen one, or heard of one, so if you have one, or know of one, let me know!) I know it was dropped except for Jeep models at some point but don't remember when that was. Anyhow, that's my dream car (along with many others).

I have been called for dinner, so time to sign off. Please post my ad if you will to land me a '75 X. And thanks again for all your effort.

webmaster's note: Kids, don't try to get into cars in a dealer's lot, please! What used to be tolerated as kid's simple pranks is now usually classified as reason for juvenile detention. If you know of a 1974-1975 X Coupe for sale, you can email Don at DJS343@aol.com.

From Jim Grey

Enjoyed your Matador Coupe pages this morning. My dad owned a white '74 Oleg Cassini model from about '76 to '80 or '81. It was our family car and we all really loved it. It was comfortable and much more distinctive than the Impala coupe it replaced. We got noticed in that car, especially the first year or two we owned it.

Rust was the car's greatest problem, exacerbated by our South Bend, Indiana, snow-belt location. The worst rust was the panel just behind the driver's door -- it rusted completely through. In probably '79, Dad, my brother and I sanded all the rust spots out, Dad affixed new sheet metal to that rusted-out panel and blended it in with the rest of the body, and then Dad had it repainted. By the time he sold it, rust was reappearing!

The Oleg Cassini interior, black with brass buttons, was hot in the summertime, and murder on your legs when you wore shorts -- those brass buttons, hot from the direct sunshine, would burn you!
webmaster's note: The Levi's Gremlin had the same problem. The denim and brass buttons looked neat, in a cheesy sort of way, but hot buttons on any exposed skin was definitely painful and could leave a mark!

Despite these woes, the whole family was sad when Dad had to trade our Matador in to buy a van for lugging around materials for his cabinetmaking business. A few years later, Dad returned to the AMC fold, sort of, by buying an '83 Renault Alliance, Motor Trend Car of the Year edition. But that's another story.

From Ross Peterson

Craig,

Saw your ad in the AMX files. Thought you might be interested in some info. I own the 74 prototype car, it was hand built on the production tooling. It was actually used to set up the jigs for assembly then completed across the street in the engineering shop. It was used to trial fit all the new parts that were unique to the coupe. All the window mouldings are hand made by the AMC prototype shop. It is a 401,4V, Auto, air 8 slot wheels, disc brakes 3.15 posi rear, color is Trans Am Red with Black Interior and a White stripe, of course it is an "X". It has the wide stripes. The car was used as the "Show Car" through out the US circuit to introduce the new models, then sold as a "dealer demo" for the factory didn't want to take it back to Kenosha. A lady bought it from a Texas dealer and only drove it for 5 years and the mileage didn't change but a few hundred miles since Sept 79. The car is a little rough around the edges and would probably be parted if it were not for the history. It is not rusty, just sun cooked and the original 401 was removed for a racing Jeep. Not problem for I have a correct dated 401 with all the accessories. There are a lot of things different such as the instrument are pewter in color background not black like the production cars. The car was built in June 73 and it does not have the seat belt interlock system. Just neat weird stuff.

My folks also bought a X Coupe new in 74 which is White with Black stripes, 360, 2V and loaded with every option but a space saver spare. We had it at the Kenosha meet in 1998.

I also have 3 coupe parts cars, 1 74 X, 1 74 Base and 1 76 Brougham. If you know of anyone needing parts let me know. I also have 6 @ 4 door sedans for parts.

From Dave Van

Great site!!! Its neat to have someone else who likes these old cars!!

I have 3 AMC's in the drive right now. A '73 Javelin 304/auto BBO with a factory AMX spoiler. I am the 2nd owner and the first owner did a wonderful job keeping the car perfect. The interior is all original and mint. It's a great car, I enjoy it much but its not my favorite!! That's my Matador! Its another 2nd owner, 1974 304/auto Brougham. A little old lady car, 34,000 original miles, all original when I bought it from the owner. The car had been used but never abused. It was bought at the AMC dealership in town and has never left north or south Carolina! No real rust, very little wear of any kind. I tried to buy this car for two years. The owner's son ran an ad when they first tried to sell it. He knew it was in good shape but wanted $4500. I told him it was nice but just not worth that much. He held his ground and we never made a deal. I gave him my card and told him to call if he changed his mind. I saw the car sitting on street corners with for sale sign but he still wanted too much. After almost two years I saw the car in the local auto trader in a small town near here but not were the car was. When I called it was the same car and he had dropped the price into the range I thought I would buy. After a short discussion about the cars demand in the collector market and the fact I was the only one to look at it in two years we made a deal. $1300 later I was on the way home with my Matador.

I am now in the process of turning this car into a faux AMC special edition. I am making a 'GRAND NATIONAL MATADOR' in the same style as the Trans Am Javelin. I have put NASCAR style wheels on it, side dump dual exhaust and a little NASCAR rake to the suspension. It will get a red/white/blue paint job with custom made 'GRAND NATIONAL MATADOR' emblems. I would like to change the bench seat out with stock buckets but may have to go with aftermarket seats. I am having a period correct rear spoiler made for the rear deck and a chin spoiler made for under the front bumper.

I'm sorry to go on so long its just neat to find your site with others who love this car. I will send in the registry info later, some photo's if you would like. Right now its not much of a looker.

If I can do anything to help let me know. My area of expertise is AMC models. What was made, what was not, etc. Many thanks for reading so far, keep up the good work, I will check back often.

P.S. I found your site via AMXfiles; and my 3rd AMC is a TV star 1977 AMX, but thats another story...

From G.Z.

Hey man this site is a really cool idea. I remember those wild Matadors from the 70's while I was growing up in the Maryland 'burbs. A friend who lived down the street car-pooled with me and my brother to high school in the fall of '79. His ride was a '75 Matador coupe. It was a very plain jane version, tan with a standard black interior. It had a V-8 and an automatic, and the deluxe wheel covers. It was always kept in immaculate condition and was never, ever allowed to get dirty. I enjoyed the fact that I could roll down the rear quarter windows, which was falling out of vogue with most cars starting in the 70's. The carpooling stopped because my friend insisted on listening to country music while riding in the Matador, and my brother couldn't stand country music. The Matador was put up for sale in the summer of ' 87, and hasn't been seen around here again. Our friend went on to finish school and then went on to become a lawyer.

It's funny, but that car became a source of inspiration for me years later. I had attended a local computer trade school, and had managed to muddle through the program and finish. I was very depressed and confused, because I had just finished this stage of my life but I had no clue what my next move was going to be. As I drove away from the school for the last time, with my freshly minted diploma laying next to me on the passenger seat, a funny thing happened. The stoplight ahead turned red, and I slowed to a stop at the next intersection. Directly in front of me was a '78 Barcelona coupe! It had the two-tone tan and gold paint scheme, which reminded me of my friend's old car. As I stared at this rare automobile, I was inspired.

My friend had driven his Matador to high school for years and was teased about it by his classmates, but he didn't let that break his stride. I realized that it's what you do with the tools that you've been given that really matters in life. Although I didn't become a computer operator (I'm now an auto mechanic with 10 years in the biz), I was determined to keep on trying to improve myself and always keep striving to reach for the next level. That's a unique Matador story, wouldn't you say?

P.S. If anyone wants to see a Matador coupe in action, try renting the James Bond movie "The Man With the Golden Gun" from 1974. It even gets some daylight under the wheels-ha ha!

webmaster's note: While I can't say that the Matador will give everyone a metaphysical revalation, it can be a source of powerful memory or emotional recall. As for the Bond movie, it isn't my favorite (I own them all), but the all-AMC chase scene between the Hornet and the Matdor Coupe (check out the Matador sedan cop cars, too) is pretty cool, and featured the only full-twisting car jump ever filmed, at the time. It also features the dumbest Bond girl of all time. If you've seen it, you know.

My name is Saverio. I'm using my brother's computer so you won't be able to contact me. I can't tell you how happy I am that there is a web site dedicated to the 74-78 Matador coupe. It is clearly my favorite car of the 70's. Like yourself,I am attracted to cars that have unique and controversial styling. I first saw the Matador in a muscle car book in high school. All I did in class was stare at it's picture in the book which I kept open, hidden under my biology book. They are rare now. Never the less I hope to own a nice Matador X some day, along with a 1961 Plymouth,1959 Lincoln. All of them unique, and controversial.
From Tom Flood

Hey Craig, it's official !!! The sale of my grandmother's car is complete. A really nice guy from Missouri came out and picked it up last Sunday. He and his family are collectors and he plans to do some top end performance enhancements and cherry out the rest. Look for it at the shows. Our connection wouldn't have been possible without you and your fantastic site. THANKS A BUNDLE. I wish you all the best. Keep up the great work. I've told everyone I've talked to about your site. It is the definitive site for Matador enthusiasts. Cheers, Tom Flood.

webmasters note: Tom contacted me about selling his car shortly after this site was up and running (Sept. 1999). I added pictures of his car to the Coupe Classifieds, which is a totally FREE service I provide. I just want to help good Coupes find good homes.

From C.T.

I can't believe the "lemming robotic" reactions from so many stupid narrow minded people that say these cars are ugly. Same for Pacer. So many styling cues from these two cars are now being used in new cars. Note the tunneled headlamps (round even!) on the new Chryslers as an example. The highly functional bumpers without the foolish "modesty" panel stuck in between on other cars of the era was styling genius. Look at some of those GM and Ford cars where the bumpers look like a park bench to sit down on. The Monte Carlo of the same era was horrible especially compared to the smooth, clean and sleek Matador. I could go on and on, but I get irritated at the lets's-follow-the-leader-and-not-think-for-ourselves people and their stupid, baseless, remarks about a beautiful design. This "follow the crowd" mentality we have in the country is sickening. They drive some of these horribly ugly new cars and have the balls to call AMC's ugly. Its like dealing with Martians.

What I think AMC did wrong with the Coupe, however, was to make it available as a base model which I do agree looked bad--as most base models of any car do--but especially for a highly styled car. Skinny black-wall tires, hub caps, and bench seat didn't do much for the "sport luxury" image they were trying to convey. An individual could easily add cool wheels and a few other things however to spruce up even the most mundane base model. The other thing the Coupe needs is husky meats (fat tires) and good looking wheels either factory or aftermarket. And the last thing is that the old cars that they are, now, have saggy rear ends. And a fast back with saggy rear end is awful no matter what brand or model. Use new springs or spring spacers and get it back up where it belongs and what a world of difference that makes. The only real design flaw in my opinion, was the slightly too narrow track (left over the from the 67-73 Rebel/Matador chassis. That is easily corrected by offset wheels or spacers behind the wheels (and longer lugs). The Barcelona with the larger 15" wheels looked better proportioned. That can be done to any coupe too. Or at least put on larger 14" tires than the factory specs. You can get nice Michelin X tires in 215-70 or 75 and there are a couple (at least) 225 14" tires available today. Thanks again for the site. Hope you get a good response.

Hey Craig just checking in to say Hi. My name is Al Dio and I snagged your post off of the AMC-List regarding your Matador Coupe Registry & today I finally had the time to investigate your site. Most Awesome Guy, good job, we just need more juicey pictures to entice more devotees (I think). I myself have been exclusively an AMC Javelin man since the mid-90's but I have always admired the the 74 to 78 Matador Coupe models. I've searched the salvage yards in S.E.PA and no luck in finding a Mat Coupe at all. My ultimate project is to restore a 78 model (the one with the small rear side window) w/ a HiPro AMC 401 or I often had thoughts of dropping a Mopar 500 BB crate motor into a Mat Coupe but we'd all like to maintain our AMC integrity but those 401's are getting scarce.

Lastly I have an 1974 JavelinAMX w/ 1972 rebuilt 401 high cc heads that I would be willing to trade for a 74-78 Matador Coupe w/ 360 or 401 if possible. My Javelin needs body work but the Engine & drive train is so ready to roar. It's a restoration Project, but is one of the most collectable Javelins out there & its an AMX to boot. So if any of your Matador Coupe registrants want to trade, well I'm up for it. Otherwise I keep searching down in this area & sooner or later we'll all have a Mat Coupe. Till next time I catch up w/ you, see you on the AMC-List & on your Mat Coupe site, thanks.

webmaster's note: If you are interested in Al's trade offer, see his ad on my Coupe Classifieds page. Also, the AMC-List he refers to is an excellent resource for any AMC owner. You can check it out and sign up for it on the ever-helpful amxfiles.com website.

From B.N.

I managed to stumble on your page after months and hours of searches. It is by far the most informative matador site on the web. I managed to spend over two and a half hours reading all of the info you have gathered. I found everything I was looking for and beyond. Thanks to this site I now understand the value as well as the specs of my car. I currently own a 74 Cassini Matador, during the newyear I will make a trip to Aberta to pick up my late grandmothers car. It is a 76 with buckets and a console.

From J.D.

Thanks for your E-mail address. It's nice to know someone else in this world loves the Matador as much as I do. I did find a sweet possibility in the state of Washington. A Matador X for only $2,000! I'm currently working on getting pictures and also working out "kinks" on getting it here to Minnesota. Shouldn't be a problem.

I don't know if I told you my story but if anyone can beat mine I'd like to hear it. In 1974, I purchased my first new car . . . a dark blue Matador X. This car really turned heads in my hometown. It had white interior and came with a specially ordered 360 4bbl engine. I added Keystone Custom Classics, Hooker Headers and Walker Contenental Glass Packs (bolted directely behind the headers). When this car came to life, it blew people out of bed. The back end was jacked up about 1 inch to accommodate "G" series Goodyear Tires.

One gorgeous upstate New York late spring day, my girlfriend (now my wife if you can believe it) asked to take my car to school. As she dropped me off to work, I watched as this dark blue beauty, shined and polished to the hilt, drove off into the sunrise. It never came back . . . at least in the condition I had it. You see she smashed head first into a steel pole at about 50 mph! A small dent she said. Thank God she was Ok but my car had over $2,200 in damage. It wasn't quite a total but it never drove the same again. Some small dent! I finally had to get rid of it. Believe me, I swore to myself if I could ever find one like it I would go to the poor house to get it. After many years, I might have found my car.

Again, thanks for the info. I will always be sure to check this site out when I can. If I get the car I will be sure to register. I don't think many people in Minnesota drive a Matador X.

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