Craigslist Find: 1971 AMC Matador Wagon – Vacay Catch Of The Day


For those readers wondering where I’ve been the past week, I took a much-needed trip to visit a very good friend in Maine.  As it turns out, there was a good deal of car shopping involved during my stay as the 1985 300D which served as her daily was rear ended a week before my arrival by a motorist intoxicated enough to pass out (twice) at the scene of the accident.  With $12,000 worth of damage, the Benz is obviously a total loss, so we took to searching for a replacement with an equivalent degree of character–I think this Craigslist find outdoes the Mercedes handily.  So while I ready posts of the few cars I found in between time spent swimming, hiking and kayaking, enjoy Ol’ Yeller here.


I realize I’m supposed to find these cars dowdy and uncool, but I prefer the sporty, more macho look of sedans from the mid-to-late ’60s over the more effete styling which followed.  In yellow, with dog dishes and no wood panelling, this checks the right boxes (though a grille would be necessary).  It’s a sporty, purposeful look for an American intermediate.


The 360 call-out is in keeping with this wagon’s muscle car era Rambler Rebel roots, as is the original C-pillar.  Uninteresting pictures taken underneath the doors show some minor rust, but this appears to be a largely intact survivor, something Maine is surprisingly full of.  Used cars are also cheaper (in general) than they are in the midwest, so if you’re on the lookout for something old and interesting, don’t forget this remote corner of New England.


Maybe this was someone’s summer car, with a yellow-on-green color scheme which coincidentally matches that of many coastal summer homes, or perhaps it belonged to someone who went up north to retire.  It’s a very interesting car in any case; that footwell lighting is a nice feature for a more utilitarian 1971, and along with the upholstery suggests not-quite-basic specification.


Split benches with adjustable headrests–not too shabby.  Buttons on the fabric section suggest the slow creeping in of brougham influence, and this car must’ve seemed quite underdressed next to the equivalent Ford when new, but the restraint means it’s aged better.


But really, it’s the yellow-on-green which helps this car to stand out.  The front seats were reupholstered as stated in the ad and some wear on the rear seats corroborates this account, but otherwise the interior is said to be original.


If not all original, someone must’ve gone on an exhaustive search to find all the right trim pieces.  That is fitting for such an intriguing car; plain on the outside, nicely outfitted on the inside, with a four-barrel 360 and optional 3.15 rear axle ratio.  Someone really knew what they wanted when ordering this forty-two years ago, and obviously loved it for quite some time afterward.  If I were my friend living up in Rockland, Maine, I’d give this car serious consideration, but I would never dare to drive it on the salt.  I’m posting this here in hopes of more people seeing it; I feel the price is right and a car like this deserves to be preserved.