Historical Footage: Throwing The 1974 AMC Matador X Around The Track!

  • Monday 17th August 2020

The 1974-78 American Motors Matador coupe is a strange thing to us. It’s styling is polarizing, to put it mildly, but only at the nose and tail. In between those two points is a fairly handsome and restrained two-door coupe that cash-strapped AMC came up with to replace the massive brick that the two-door Matador sedan had been previously. It also, by default, filled the niche that would form when the Javelin disappeared at the end of 1974 as well. The Matador coupe managed to be a surprise hit for AMC, as it moved almost 63,000 of them in it’s first year of production. Some of the inputs that Mark Donohue gave Richard Teague must’ve worked, though we’d like to think that one of those hints involved keeping the 401ci V8 in the top-of-the-line Matador X model. It didn’t have the big, bad musclecar persona of the Javelin, but it by no means was a shrinking violet. It certainly didn’t rock nearly as much fluff as the other “personal luxury” coupes of the day did. Oh, you could order it up if you wanted to. A Matador Barcelona had it all. But the Matador X was still clinging to performance dreams.

AMC always tried to fight the Big Three the best it could up until the end, and the Matador coupe was a solid move overall. The machine that Car and Track got their hands on is exactly how we would spec one out: 401, X package, and no extra fluff. How did they do brand new? Well…it’s not like the test crew that ran operations for this show understood what the word “gentle” meant. Click play below to see…

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