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Street Parked: Early 80s AMC Concord


Ordinary cars from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s are becoming more rare with each season that passes. This run of the mill in its time AMC caught my eye for being the first one I recall seeing in over a decade. AMC sold a variety of mid sized cars in the 70s and 80s, the most famous perhaps being the AMC Eagle four wheel drive station wagon. Our subject car is nothing special, just a humble sedan. However it has an interesting story with connections to Porsche and the little known VAM Lerma.

It’s surprising to see cars like this still in service due to the complex, convoluted, and compromised contraptions manufacturers conceived in order to comply with emissions and economy regulations. When cars like these develop problems, troubleshooting the miles of vacuum hoses and multiple electromechanical control gizmos is so time consuming as to send many to the crusher rather than be repaired.

This car features the AMC Computerized Engine Control system! It’s not fuel injection. It’s a complex electromechanical control system to manipulate the carburetor into cleaner emissions. I’ve never worked on an AMC like this, but imagine there’s a nightmare of wiring and vacuum lines under the hood.

Since it has that cool “Digital” sticker, denoting the computer controlled engine management system, this car almost certainly has the 4.2 liter AMC straight six, which has a reputation for reliability up through its use in Jeep products ending in 1990 or so. This car could also be had with a carbureted version of the VW/Audi engine used in the Porsche 924! Automatic and manual transmissions were available as well. At points in this car’s run from 1978 to 1983, manual transmissions with 3, 4, and 5 gears were available.

The Concord was available as a sedan, station wagon, coupe, hatchback, and convertible. The car was also made in Mexico where it was sold not as an AMC (American Motors Corporation), but as VAM (Vehiculos Automotres Mexicanos) American. The VAM coupe was called the Lerma.

Another interesting Concord derivative was the AMX reintroduced in 1978, based on the Concord coupe. The AMX is a historic sporty AMC from the 60s with a significant racing and performance pedigree. The smog compliance choked Concord-based AMX presented a sporting package by offering the biggest AMC engines in the smallest Concord body. Eight cylinder engines of 5 liters and 6.6 liters were options and could be had with 4 speed transmissions. The Concord based AMXs aren’t held in the same regard as the AMXs of the 60s and early 70s.

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