Photo: Rebecca Lessner
Eagle FanI’m a big fan of Eagles, but I keep mine close to stock. I pretty much overhauled my ’82 SX/4 and also have an ’86 wagon that was featured in a video on YouTube on the AutoMoments channel. They’re great fun to drive and always turn heads. I don’t use them much in the salty Pennsylvania winters anymore for obvious reasons. I was born in 1988 so I sadly never saw any on the showroom floor. Thanks for the neat article (Firing Order, Apr. ’19).
Love/Hate RelationshipYes, I owned an ’85 Eagle Wagon in the mid-’90s. I bought it at an estate sale with 25K on the clock and it still smelled “new” inside. The car was a very capable all-weather get-you-there vehicle. I’ve driven in snow so deep that the front bumper was hidden from view and it never failed to get me where I was going. In my opinion, the car suffered from two major downfalls. First, it did not have a two-speed transfer case, and second, it was built by AMC (the biggest issue). During the course of my ownership, every cheap plastic part that AMC under-engineered broke. The car literally nickel-and-dimed me to death, but I still loved it. My first long-distance trip shortly after purchase was from Ohio to Florida and back. Surprisingly, the Eagle delivered a consistent 20-21 mpg; who’da thunk it? Unexpected from a boxy, jacked-up station wagon. Anyway, that’s the short and the sweet of it. Truth is, most times I wish I still had it.
Pathfinder BuildThought I would share my build with you. I am not the first to do this swap but here it is—a ’92 Nissan Pathfinder with a D21 Hardbody cab. I bought the Pathfinder in 2017 with a blown engine and body damage for $250. I happened to have a spare cab off a two-wheel-drive ’86.5 Hardbody laying around. A Google search revealed the cab mounts are the same from the B-pillars forward, so the cab dropped right on. The plan is to wire it so it thinks it is still a ’92 WD21 Pathfinder but drop in a VG33ER supercharged V-6 engine and at the same time ditch the four-speed auto for a five-speed manual. The project still has a long way to go but I keep moving forward on it. I have a vlog on the build on YouTube if you search “nissan pathfinder pickup build.” My channel is called “nismo d21.”
The Rarest EagleJust reading the April 2018 issue and saw that nobody mentioned this amazing rig. It’s an Eagle SX/4 Sport, ’83, straight-six, five-speed. Hatchback, front buckets, and the back seats folded to create a flat floor, actually big enough to lay down in. It had excellent ground clearance and one of the shortest turning radiuses of any 4x4 I’ve ever had. This really is the “one that got away.” I had too many projects and this one pretty much sold itself. I never put a sign in it but was constantly being approached with offers. One was finally better than I could refuse and I’ve been whimpering ever since. The orphans, pretty dang cool.
Attention GrabberHello, this is my ’80 Chrysler Newport sitting on a ’79 Dodge 3/4-ton Power Wagon chassis. It has a 413 big-block out of a motorhome. The interior is out of a ’85 New Yorker. It is all Mopar. It was fun to build and even more fun to drive, and it usually gets plenty of attention.
Mudflap Q&AHi, I just read your story about the ’18 Jeep Wrangler JL, that is one nice unit! I noticed in the pictures there is a “flap” mounted to the rear of the front bumper that extends up to the front fender, filling that gap where mud flies through. Not sure if you call it a mudflap or not. I have the ’18 Wrangler JK model and am looking for this exact piece. Is that a factory add-on or aftermarket?
The author of the story, Ali Mansour, says, “That is a factory piece that attaches to the JL bumper. You should be able to purchase it from the dealer, but I’m not sure if it will work on a JK bumper without modification. There are several aftermarket vendors that offer full-width bumpers that come up to the fender.”
Pair of EaglesThe wagon is my wife’s daily driver. It’s a ’87 all-original. Select on-the-fly 4x4, auto transmission, and the 258 inline-six. It is unstoppable in snow and ice and one of the most dependable vehicles I have ever owned. The wagon seemed like too much of a “family” car for me, but the AMC Eagles offer so much off-road awesomeness that I decided an SX/4 was needed. The coupe is a ’81 SX/4 with the 258 inline-six, backed by a four-speed manual transmission. Factory air conditioning on both and great heaters.