Ugly Bullfighter – 1978 AMC Matador (plus bonus 1975 Hornet!)

Have you ever wanted to be part of the exclusive club in which you can meet owners of such rare classic automobiles as Lancia Beta sedans and Lloyd Goliaths? Then we have a couple of affordable options for you, my friend! And you need look no further than the first letter of the alphabet to find your ticket into this club, with a couple of products made by AMC. First is the AMC Matador, recognized by several publications as one of the ugliest cars around. Find our lovely, flesh-colored (hey, nude-color shoes are in, why not nude cars?) 1978 example for sale in Sunland, near Los Angeles, CA for a mere $1400.

1978 AMC Matador left front

As you can see, buying ugly means you can get a lot of bang for your buck. The top-end 360 V8, low miles (under 45K), and a tidy exterior mean this beast still has a lot of life left in it. The 360 was shared by such awesome machines as the Bricklin SV-1, but should its breathtaking 140hp and 278 lb.-ft. of torque not be enough for you, you could potentially upgrade to a 401. Since these also came with the AMC inline six, you might actually do better downgrading in size to a late-model Jeep engine.

1978 AMC Matador right rear

Hmm, it’s possible the sun-facing surfaces have a little oxidation, but a little elbow grease is a small price to pay for entry to an exclusive club. The listing suggests the car runs rough, so it may need a little tuning to get it to smooth out. The seller mentions a new carb, starter, and alternator, but not whether any of the (electronic) ignition parts have been replaced.

1978 AMC Matador speedometer

Not only is this the first AMC featured here, it’s also the first to have a square speedometer. You could say that shape is representative of who would have bought this car new. But enough of that, we have yet another flesh-toned car for you, and it’s also an AMC. Find this gorgeous Hornet (you’ll never see those two words together again) for sale in downtown San Jose, CA for a mere $2495. Incidentally, the dealer appears to have a handful of Corvairs for sale as well.

1975 AMC Hornet left front

The Hornet was an attempt at long-hood, short rear deck styling to creat a more sporting appearance. However, by 1975 they’d dorked up the grill enough and added bad vinyl roofing so some of that was obscured. Either way, this car was a best-seller for AMC, and got very favorable reviews when it first came to market.

1975 AMC Hornet right rear

This particular car features a 3-speed column-shifted manual (cool), but without the available Laycock de Normanville overdrive. It has the inline six, so while the seller does not specify which one, you could either lightly modify it for more fun or, like in the Matador, replace it with a late-model Jeep engine. Remarkably, there is competition history for this car, so some of those modifications might be nice to apply to this one.

1975 AMC Hornet interior

What a tidy interior. Since this car has limited market appeal, letting the car sit on the dealer’s lot for a little while might get you a better deal. Since they need to turn some kind of profit, you know they purchased it for quite a bit less than the $2495 they’re asking.

1975 AMC Hornet engine

Cleanest engine ever on a car in this price range. Both the Hornet and the Matador had roles in 1970s Bond films, so there’s that. Reply in the comments if you have experience with these – mine is limited to inhaling the smell of cheap vinyl and fuel in the green on green sportwagon that belonged to my parents’ friends.


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4 Responses to “Ugly Bullfighter – 1978 AMC Matador (plus bonus 1975 Hornet!)”

  1. lance lawton Says:

    1978 amc matador is now in perry n.y. 14530 I bought it a month ago

  2. lance lawton Says:

    yes it is

  3. Gay Car Nut Says:

    The Matador sedan may be a lot of things, but ugly it ain’t. The Hornet, depending on the year, can be either pretty or hideous, depending on who you talk to. I find the 1974-78 Matador to be quite handsome.

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