Gem Unearthed: Classic 1986 AMC Eagle Sedan

Introduced in 1980, the American Motors Corporation’s Eagle was ahead of its time as the first production car in the United States with a true all-wheel-drive system. While the wagon version dominated sales, a rare four-door sedan model was recently discovered in a self-service junkyard in Colorado. Throughout its run from the 1980 through 1988 model years, the Eagle underwent various changes in its lineup, ultimately leading to a decline in sedan sales and the introduction of a new division under Chrysler. The innovative drivetrain system of the Eagle set it apart from competitors, offering drivers the ability to easily switch between rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive modes for better fuel efficiency and handling.

### The Evolution of the Eagle Lineup
The American Motors Corporation initially based the Eagle on the AMC Concord in 1980, offering sedan, coupe, and wagon options. The following year expanded the lineup with models based on the smaller AMC Spirit. By 1984, only the wagon and sedan remained in the lineup, with sedan sales dwindling in subsequent years.

### Innovative Drivetrain System
Unlike other four-wheel-drive vehicles on the market, the American Motors Corporation’s Eagle featured a unique drivetrain system with a center viscous coupling between the front and rear axles. This allowed for easy switching between rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive modes, providing better fuel efficiency and tire longevity compared to competitors.

### Price and Options
Despite its advanced technology and capabilities, the Eagle sedan was priced competitively, with an MSRP well below other AWD options on the market at the time. Available with a range of optional features including power door locks, air conditioning, and a premium audio system, the Eagle sedan offered a comfortable and connected driving experience for its time.

### Powertrain Options and Transmission Choices
Throughout its run from 1985 to 1988, the Eagle sedan was equipped with the 258-cubic-inch AMC straight-six engine, offering a balance of power and efficiency. While a five-speed manual transmission was standard, buyers also had the option to upgrade to a three-speed automatic transmission for an additional cost.

### The End of an Era
The Eagle sedan, like many American Motors Corporation vehicles, did not receive much advertising attention during its production years. Despite its advanced features, comfortable interior, and reliable performance, the sedan version of the Eagle eventually faced declining sales and was overshadowed by its wagon counterpart. As a result, many Eagle sedans, including the one discovered in the Colorado junkyard, met an unfortunate fate, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and ingenuity in the automotive industry.

In conclusion, the American Motors Corporation’s Eagle sedan may have been overlooked during its time, but its pioneering all-wheel-drive system and advanced features paved the way for modern AWD vehicles. While the sedan variant may not have achieved the same level of success as the wagon models, its impact on the automotive landscape is undeniable. As one of the first true all-wheel-drive cars available in the United States, the Eagle sedan holds a special place in automotive history as a testament to American Motors Corporation’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technology.

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