Poor old AMC. These are the most comforting words most of us can probably say about the American Motor Corporation. Competition with the “Big Three” was always going to be an uphill battle for a smaller carmaker like the AMC. Yearly model updates meant they needed to spend much more money percentage-wise than their bigger domestic competitors. This, and changes in car industry, are what’s eventually lead to AMC’s downfall. The more they struggled to attract new buyers, the more favor they lost with their regulars. At one point in time, AMC simply entered this vicious circle from which there was no way out.
George W. Mason and George W. Romney knew this, but future AMC executives couldn’t cope with the new market trends. AMC’s “get out of the vicious circle card” came in an unlikely alliance with Renault, in 1980, but that was only temporary. When Renault pulled out from the US market entirely in 1987, AMC was already a shadow of its former self. Chrysler used the opportunity not only to acquire French stake in the company, but to buy out AMC completely. 1988 would be the last year AMC badge was used. Eagle Sports Wagon was the last model adorned by it in 1988, and AMC division was transformed into Chrysler’s Jeep/Eagle division, which in turn would be phased out a decade later.
But there was a time when AMC used to deliver some rare and obscured special edition models. They even powered James Bond’s shenanigans like it was the case in 1974 The Man with the Golden Gun. Here we reminisce some of the rarest, coolest and most obscure special edition and limited run models and packages that came from AMC.
Rebel Wagon 1967 and 1/2 Regional Models
There were three regional Rebel Wagon spring editions which still count as some of the most distinctive special edition AMC cars today. All were offered with either standard 290ci V8 or optional 343ci V8. Moreover, all had the automatic transmission, power steering, power drum brakes, and heavy-duty suspension.
Rebel Wagon Briarcliff
Briarcliff was country and hunt club-themed version of the Rebel Wagon offered in Matador Red paint with black camera grain side panels. It was marketed in various eastern and southern states. Apart from special paint treatment, Briarcliff also offered black antelope grain vinyl on seats and door panels. Only 400 of them were produced.
Rebel Wagon Westerner
As its name suggests, Westerner was marketed in Midwest and Southwest areas. Painted Frost White with complementing natural tan leather grain panels, Westerner was as compelling on the outside as it was on the inside, where it got Stallion Brown vinyl with richly tooled leather treatment. There were 500 of them made.
Rebel Wagon Mariner
Finally, there was the Rebel Mariner produced in 600 units and marketed in West Coast, and the Atlantic and Golf Coasts of Florida. It was arguably the most striking of all three thanks to Barbados Blue paint job and side panels of simulated bleached teak wood planking. Inside, it had dark blue suede and vinyl upholstery with white piping.