Home » Forlorn Four-Doors: 1974 Dodge Monaco vs 1979 AMC Concord

Forlorn Four-Doors: 1974 Dodge Monaco vs 1979 AMC Concord

Sbsd 1 10 2024
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Welcome to another Shitbox Showdown! For day three of our reader suggestions, we’ve got a pair of sad-looking sedans in need of a little love. Which one is more worthy of your affection? You can decide in a minute.

Yesterday, we looked at a little electric car, and a V8-powered coupe with cool doors. As such, I fully expected the Bricklin to walk away with this one, but the vote was much closer than I thought. The Bricklin won, but it was a close match. That little Think City tugged at some heartstrings, I think. It is a plucky-looking thing, sort of like Rudy in car form.

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But I have been enamored with the Bricklin and its power-operated gullwing doors since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and no electric-powered runabout stands a chance. And really, I don’t think it would be as hard as some of you think to bring that one back, if it’s as complete as the ad says it is. And the fact that the shop selling it is willing to get it roadworthy for the new owner for a little more money speaks highly of it, too.

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One thing about this gig that I didn’t expect is how much sympathy I end up having for some of the cars. I feel bad for them, neglected or abused, wasting away in some side yard or gathering dust in a garage. Or, as is the case with one of today’s cars, beaten within an inch of its life and not maintained. I know at least one other writer here has the same sort of sympathy for sad cars. He has turned it into a full-time hobby. These two old sedans are both in need of a loving home; let’s check them out.

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1974 Dodge Monaco – $2,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 400 or 440 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Lakewood, WA

Odometer reading: 49,000 miles

Operational status: Hasn’t run in 10 years, but ran well before that

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Once in a while, I catch a seller in a mistake, and I think this is one of those times. The seller has this car listed as a 1973 Dodge Monaco, but I think it’s a ’74. The ’73 Monaco is a different bodystyle, with swoopier lines and hidden headlights. The ’74 was widely panned when it came out for looking too much like a Buick, and was utterly forgettable – until a movie appearance made it famous.

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This Monaco doesn’t have cop shocks, or cop tires, and it may or may not have a 440 cubic inch engine. Monacos were available with LA-series 360 cubic inch V8s, or B/RB-series 400 or 440 “big block” V8s.  This doesn’t look like a 360 to me, so I’m thinking 400 or 440, but I don’t know the big-blocks well enough to tell them apart. Whichever displacement it is, it hasn’t run in a decade. It’s being sold as part of an estate, and it has been in storage for a long time.

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The pea-green paint and white vinyl top are in nice shape, so I have to imagine it was stored indoors. It shows only 49,000 miles, and I bet it’s original. Getting it running shouldn’t be too hard; these big old cast-iron V8s can withstand a little nap like this. You’ll just need to replace pretty much every piece of rubber that holds back a fluid.

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Plus, it’s got a receiver hitch and a trailer brake controller already installed, so you could use it to tow your classic ’70s trailer.

1979 AMC Concord DL – $1,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 232 or 258 cubic inch inline 6, three-speed automatic, RWD

Location: outside Champaign, IL

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Odometer reading: 146,000 miles

Operational status: Daily-driven, but…

I do love a good underdog. I have to; I’m a Chrysler fan. But there are underdogs, and then there are underdogs. AMC spent most of its existence clinging to life by the skin of its teeth, financing its passenger cars on the sales of Jeeps. There’s a reason why most AMC models looked the same for almost two decades: There was no money for a new design. The Concord was an evolution of the Hornet, which dated all the way back to 1970. The Concord gave way to the Eagle, which was pretty much the same car, only 4WD.

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Not only did the exterior styling remain the same for all those years, so did the engine. AMC’s inline six wasn’t the most technologically advanced thing on the road – not even close, in fact – but it was reliable, and more importantly for AMC’s purposes, already paid for. This one has not led an easy life; the seller says it has a serious oil leak, and – if I’m reading the ad right – occasionally seizes up due to lack of oil. But they’ve been driving it daily like that, and I don’t know whether to be impressed or mortified.

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It also may have a leak in the brakes somewhere; the seller says the brake warning light comes on occasionally. Or maybe the pressure switch for the warning light is just faulty. Either way, it’s sketchy.

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We don’t get any photos of the interior, and something tells me that’s for the best. AMC interiors were always comfy and inviting, but I have a terrible feeling this one is trashed inside. Outside, it’s sure a mess: surface rust, rust holes, and a shredded landau top all add up to one sorry-looking ride. The turbine-style alloy wheels are pretty cool, at least – but there are only three of them.

Either one of these is going to need a lot of work, even to get back to basic operational status. At least they’re cheap, I suppose. One you can drive home if you’re brave enough, the other must be towed but shouldn’t be too hard to wake up. The choice is yours.

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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David Lange
David Lange
1 month ago

Hello, this is David and just discovered your Site. Out of curiosity are any of the vehicles shown for sale?
Thanks

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