Since I have decreed today to be Matador Day, here’s yet another I saw last summer at the weekly Culver’s cruise night in Davenport. It’s burnt orange, it’s a wagon, and it’s a 1973.
Yes, this one was a little bit modified, but it still looked quite nice. With those wheels, though, I don’t think the Bradys just stopped off for burgers and fries on their way to the Grand Canyon.
With the exception of the floor mats and neatly integrated auxiliary gauges, it was still 1973 inside, right down to the thin-rimmed steering wheel and factory AM radio. And is that a vintage radar detector below the light switch?
And dig those seats! Wow, I didn’t realize the Matador wagon was part of the 1973 Montgomery Ward collection. Very Broughamy.
The wagon is my favorite of the 1970-78 Rebel/Matador midsizers, as they did not get the contrived Coke-bottle posterior of the four-door sedan. The 1970-73 coupes, despite getting the same fender update, looked much better with their semi-fastback styling and wide, trapezoidal C-pillar.
Even the later model wagons with the Jimmy Durante nose looked good to me!
Seeing an AMC is always a treat as they were always boring, vanilla cars–with the exception of the SC/Rambler, AMX and Javelin–and thus driven into the ground and disposed of. But even plain vanilla family transportation like this Matador wagon deserves some CC love. They don’t make them anymore, you know!
My goodness, but is that one ugly dashboard. But the exterior design remains sweet.
Those speedometer markings are so small….
I’ve seen worse looking dashboards. But check out that vertical radio. Neat-o!
I agree, it is a really ugly dashboard. I owned a 73 Matador wagon for 3 or 4 years in the late seventies and I do not recall that my dash looked anything like this one. Maybe it was color that made a difference. My wagon was medium green inside and out with a leather like interior that was very attractive and wore like iron. Wish I had a photo of my dash but I do not. Overall my 73 Matador wagon was a terrific car, really fast off the line and a very comfortable cruiser. I ruined the transmission hauling a load of print catalogs from Long Island to Ohio for a customer who was complaining about not getting them quickly. In those days I didn’t know to change transmission fluid – ever. Two or three cars later I figured it out.
The radar detector is a trailer brake controller. C’mon Mr. Klockau, you’re slackin’ !
Trailer brake controller would’ve been my first guess as well. I don’t see a hitch on the back though, so maybe it was removed.
I like the woody,even with the curious front end.
That lower left accessory looks kinda like an electronic trailer brake controller to me. But there’s no hitch, so…?
It’s definitely a trailer brake controller, hitch or not. A radar detector would be on top of the dash, anyhow.
Aha! I’ve never trailered anything in my life, thus my incorrect guess. Thanks for pinning it down!
What’s a Matador?
Not much, whatsamater with you? (Sorry couldn’t resist that.)
Digging the dual exhausts and the wheels although they could stand a little less wheel and a little more sidewall.
Wonder what’s under the hood?
The HVAC sliders are supposed to be in that blank plate to the left of the steering wheel. This car apparently has no heat or defrosters.
And yes, I agree that this is not a particularly attractive dash. It was not attractive when it debuted in 1967.
At this point in time, ANY AMC product still on the road is bucking the odds. Unless you live in Kenosha (like I do).
Mate o mine has a mint 67 2door it runs fine and is registered.
Very nice. Even with the internet it must be a bear to find parts for a 71-73 Matador, I had trouble finding parts for mine by the late 1980’s. Total production of all body styles was only about 40k per year.
I put in many hours looking at that dash, thankfully mine was blue. One of the drawbacks of the dash was the vertical radio. Mine was a radio delete car with a plastic panel same as on the left side. I put oil pressure and ammeter in them and the radio was in the glove box.
1964bler, the heat sliders are to the right of the steering column, below the radio.
You are correct; the Ambassador (basically the same dash) has its HVAC there.
That radio was always a curious thing. No in-dash aftermarket stereos in this car.
Ya gotta do like I did with my Matador, put a quadraphonic 8-track player under the dash! Makes Molly Hatchet really rock out!
I like period-correct aftermarket wheels but those are fugly. Love the rest of the car though.
Even before the Chrysler buyout, I always thought of AMCs as part of the (Misguided) Mopar family. One day there will be a Rebel Machine in my garage.
I was impressed by the earlier Rebels the only reason I contemplated buying a Matador later on.
The brocade upholstery is still available for these my friend with the 67 SST imported a roll to redo his car and its cheap.
Move the wheel to the correct side and this is very familiar I test drove one on a used heap lot in outer Sydney, ended up buying the Holden it was parked next to, I mean where was I going to get matador parts if it broke down in the middle of nowhere?
And people bitched and crabbed about the Citation radio being vertical… look at that one…… Vertical!
Of course, there were many more Citations sold than AMC’s so there were many more people to bitch about the radio, and the brakes, and the reliablity, and….
Lots of Corvettes have the radio mounted vertically. I know that this is true for the 1963-67 ‘vettes, and possibly others as well. It’s only an issue if you want it to be.
AMC had a split bench seat in 1973 and that is why I find fixed bench seats in much newer vehicles quite annoying; I am glaring at you 97-04 F-150 and 97-98 F-250. That front bench sure is interesting to say the least and I am not sure what to make of the instrument cluster.
Fixed bench is OK as long as the driver is taller than the passenger. Me being 5’11” and my wife being 5’3″, I’ve got no problem with my 2004 Heritage model.
Personally I like the throwback of a basic interior in something like a truck.
My coworker was 4′ 11″ and I am 5′ 11″ and then we had a person who liked the seat moved up and then we had a person who liked the seat way back and reclined. As the vehicle technician I just asked the fleet manager for an Econoline with buckets.
I have to say that this would be one of my favorite AMC cars of the 70s. I have to admit that the interior is far from the best I have ever seen, though. I had forgotten about the way AMC did headrests – the company made it so easy for them to be pushed down flush with the top of the seatback where they would do absolutely no good at all. Possibly the best job I have ever seen of complying with and thumbing their noses at a safety regulation, all at the same time.
I once thought of this car as the early 70s analog to my Kia Sedona minivan, and I think the comparison still holds. A competent, underrated and poor seller of a wagon that is decently attractive and has a great warranty. But the interior of my Kia is MUCH nicer.
The wagon really brings out the negatives in the 1970 sedan refresh that gave it the more coke bottle rear door. It did not fully click with me until now that the wagon retained the ’67 – 69 rear door, and the side profile retains a pleasant if conservative look through its run through ’78.
The ’73 sedan, not so much……
The comments here remind me why AMC struggled so much – oddness for the sake of being different. A high school friend had a mint black over blue early ’70s Ambassador sedan that had belonged to his grandparents. Those AMC exterior door pulls are a pain to use. You grab the back edge of the paddle and pull out. There just isn’t any natural grip you use to open the door. Add things like the vertical radio, and you have irritants piled on to a car that is struggling with plenty of other issues.
I learned to drive in my Aunt’s 70 Ambassador wagon. Same dash except the Ambassaor had fake woodgrain. Agree on the split bench seat, and AMC had particularly nice seats compared to the big three at that time. Their textured vinyl was also more comfortable than big three flat vinyl. Their power steering was from Saginaw Steering Gear, faster and better feel than Ford power steering. Big non-feature was AMC’s attempt to copy Ford’s “magic door-gate”. The dealer could never get my Aunt’s tailgate adjusted so it would work reliably both ways. She ended up getting it set to work correctly one way, and took the other release handle off so noone would attempt to work it the other way.
In the summer of 75, I was working in a foundry that had two company cars: a 74 Ford LTD and a 74 Ambassador wagon, that I drove frequently. Hated the Ford. Loved the Ambassador. Better ride, better steering, better handling.
If people had just tried a senior AMC in the 70s, instead of just heading for the big three, they would have made a pleasant discovery. The AMCs drove better.
Nice. One of the better looking intermediates. We got these CKD in oz so they’re almost as common as any other US steel from that period over here.
I seem to recall that Consumer Reports reported that the Matador was exported to Spain where Matador translates to “killer”
What is that thing that looks like a digital clock above the left blanking plate?
It’s another blanking plate! That is where the optional clock would go.
was it digital if fitted?
It was an analog clock.
Nice find, Tom! Those wheels should look WAY worse, but for some reason the color keyed sections tie it in so its at least not at total dumpster fire. That said, Id either go with grey Torq Thrusts, or try to locate a set of AMC rallyes….they had a nice design, widened to 8″ with a little more offset and theyd look pretty mean.
I find the taillights particularly attractive on this car: they have a “cathedral” look when viewed from the side. The color & wheels, ugh: not so much. It’s nice to see someone preserving this thing.
I know; it would look much more period-correct with whitewalls and full wheel covers. At least wheels can be easily changed back, which is more than you can say for some of those ’70s cars with butchered chassis and suspension systems to accommodate gigantic chrome wheels.
A 1966 Cadillac Eldorado? Turn it into a hot rod! A 1935 Mercedes-Benz 540K? Turn it into a hot rod! A 1963 Saab 96? Turn it into a hot rod!
No, I’m not much of a fan of modified cars 😉
Sure AMC cars have character and are different. But compared to the all new GM B body wagons in 1977, the Matador is a Conastoga Buggy!
If any one wants to own a Matador wagon for under $10K this just pooped up on eBay not sure it that counts as a CC effect or not.?
Yeah and it’s SOLD, quick – nice color combo, RED, WHITE and well you can get some blue on it for the 4th of July parade.