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.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

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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Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
6 months ago

How is this one not unanimous?

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
6 months ago

AMC has some die-hard fans

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
6 months ago
Reply to  Turbeaux

Dodge has die-hard haters too.

Tbird
Tbird
6 months ago

Dodge all the way every day. Cruise in comfort passing everything but a gas station.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
6 months ago

Pull the Dodge engine for a swap into an old 6 cly power wagon and toss what is left and the amc into a junkyard.

Don Kasak
Don Kasak
6 months ago

I owned an ’83 Concord, so part of me wanted to vote for the AMC. Sanity prevailed, though.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
6 months ago
Reply to  Don Kasak

How bad was it?
I ask because a I occasionally see a fairly good looking one down the street (suspect it live in the garage), and I’ve thought about stopping & asking them about it next time people are visible there.

Don Kasak
Don Kasak
6 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

My Concord was in really great shape until axle grease shot over the rear brakes one day. I used that car for years as my daily driver, as I got it with only 9K miles on it in the mid-90s. Seeing this ’79 made me realize how lucky I was with my ’83.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
6 months ago

This is exactly how bad an AMC Concord needs to be for me to pick a Metallic Pea 1974 Dodge over it.

Tbird
Tbird
6 months ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

You think you hate it now, but wait ’till you drive it.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
6 months ago

When I was a little kid my Mom’s cousin had an AMC Eagle. My Dad helped her with maintenance. I learned more cool new words when he’d see that POS coming up the street. Usually there was some kind of smoke trailing behind it, kind of like Candy’s car in ‘Uncle Buck’. So I voted Dodge.

Last edited 6 months ago by MATTinMKE
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
6 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

> I learned more cool new words when he’d see that POS coming up the street.

That’s funny.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
6 months ago

I like AMCs, but there are so many other AMCs I would rather have before this one.

On the other hand, there are so many other Dodges I would rather have than a Monaco.

But for the relative conditions, the Monaco is so obviously the right choice, as the current poll is indicating. Plus you would get the absolute joy of saying “Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration don’t fail me now!” at every stoplight.

Someone suggested parting-out the Concord, but between the abused powertrain, the rusty body, and mystery interior, I’m not convinced there are any parts worth taking out.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
6 months ago

The wheels are cool, but wtf do you do with just three?

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
6 months ago

I hovered over the Concord button for several seconds but I just couldn’t do it. I want to vote for the Concord but it’s just too far gone.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
6 months ago

Wife said it was her or the Derge. God I miss her.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
6 months ago

Having had the opportunity to drive a similar Concord, I can say that it feels like it is as big and heavy as the Monaco.

Dug Deep
Dug Deep
6 months ago

My dad had one like just this (no real proof it wasn’t this exact one), and I drove it a ton. I agree with your assessment, and will add that it definitely didn’t handle well where there was a 90 degree bend with a ditch along the outside. Ahem…

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
6 months ago

That Monaco is a freaking BARGAIN!

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
6 months ago

The Monaco is a far more worthwhile project. I have a soft spot for AMC, but this one is at the point where the owner should be paying someone to tow it away. The engine keeps seizing from oil starvation? Not even the legendary AMC straight 6 can handle that level of abuse. It may still run today but I wouldn’t count on it running much longer.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
6 months ago

I’ve been to Concord (several, in fact), but never Monaco. This is the next best thing, right? Dodge it is.

Maymar
Maymar
6 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Depends on your preference of the Dodge versus a Chevy Monte Carlo I guess.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
6 months ago

Wow, this is a wipeout.
I’ll take the Do-Or-Die-Garage-Experiment because I had a ’76 two-door in Royal Blue. It was the first car I ever owned with working air conditioning. It was also the first car I ever owned that a date didn’t sneer at, in fact she actually complimented it.
The only thing wrong with it was the headlight doors, which were Alex DeLarged permanently open.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
6 months ago

> Alex DeLarged permanently open

Evocative visuals.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
6 months ago

Both are Roadkill, so I have to go with the Dodge with the 400/440 in it.

Turbeaux
Turbeaux
6 months ago

No mention if the cigarette lighter works on the Dodge?

Frank Wrench
Frank Wrench
6 months ago
Reply to  Turbeaux

Nice! And when we’re talking about the 400/440, it’s not an engine, it’s a “plant”

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
6 months ago

For the price, I am taking both and pulling the drivetrain from the Monaco and dumping it in the Concord.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
6 months ago

Monacord ? ⃛ヾ(๑❛ ▿ ◠๑ )

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
6 months ago

I took Driver’s Ed* in Concords. They were pushy pigs with the 6: I can’t imagine how it would handle a 400.

*the 180 at the far end of the course was not visible from the air conditioned ‘control tower’, so they couldn’t see us doing neutral-drops there. After 6 or 7 of them one day, my partner got enthusiastic and literally spilled the transmission’s blood all over the lot.
Teenagers!

Last edited 6 months ago by TOSSABL
UnseenCat
UnseenCat
6 months ago

I’ll take the Dodge… And probably a loan to cover the cost of fueling the thing’s appetite for the next week…

Sadly, I suspect the Concord is probably too far gone and will do better with its parts going to the good cause of keeping other AMCs still rolling.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
6 months ago

I’m gonna go, with the Monaco! ヽ(•‿•)ノ

Toecutter
Toecutter
6 months ago

Malaise.

I’ll take the AMC.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
6 months ago

Poor AMC! I just couldn’t in that condition. The Monaco is way too big for me, but I’ve never had a big block, so worth a go.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
6 months ago

Dodge is gonna run away with this. And hell, I’d take it of the two
But I want to save the AMC. I want to have it roam the roads another few decades.

Realistically: Dodge, all day
Romantically*, in my heart of hearts: AMC

* as in:

in a way that is not practical and involves ideas that are not related to real life:

Not as in:

I wanna bone that car.

Last edited 6 months ago by Mr. Asa
Chronometric
Chronometric
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

That car got boned a long time ago.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
6 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Booooo. Boo this man. Boooooo

Acrimonious Mofo
Acrimonious Mofo
6 months ago

I really dig the color combo on the Dodge, and it presents quite well. I rather like it. Whereas the less said about the AMC the better.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
6 months ago

It couldn’t be too hard to get that Monaco running again. Take it to a detailer after that and you’d have a little something. But that Concord, goodness no. That’s a mess.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

“Little” is not a word that exists in the Monaco’s vocabulary.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
6 months ago

This wasn’t difficult at all, and I like the Concord body style!

That being said, Monaco, all the way. Just the engine and transmission, assuming they aren’t seized, are worth almost the price of admission here.

The Concord is just… beat to sh!t.

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