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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Greensoul
Greensoul
6 months ago

Wow, I had no idea any Dodge Monacos survived not being cast in a C.H.I.P.S freeway crash scene. C.H.I.P.S killed of many a Matador, Fury, and Monaco back in the day

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

The only worthy use for those cars.

Oldskool
Oldskool
6 months ago

As soon as I started reading about the Dodge, I about spit out my drink. The classic RAN WHEN PARKED. Been sitting for 10 years on what looks like pretty wet ground, with a rag over the intake. The upper body may be decent, but I wonder how much of the underbody stays on the ground when it’s disturbed with a tow strap. Replacing parts that have rotted from sitting is a huge rabbit hole. Besides, being a small guy, land barges don’t do anything for me.

Maybe I’ve spent too many years (all of them) in the sticks of Michigan, but the rust on the AMC isn’t that bad at all, and the body looks straight. Especially with those wheels it’s a good looking old car. Even better with a cheap paint job. Yeah it’s got some glaring mechanical issues, but it IS daily driven, which is a big plus. And I’d rather drive and work on a mid sized car with an AMC straight 6.

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

That’s an interesting take.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
6 months ago

The Concord reminds me of those stories about the last dog at the shelter finally getting adopted. And I am a gold-plated sucker for those stories.

Yes, the Dodge is the right choice here … possibly the only choice. But Sarah MacLachlan be damned, we’d take the Concord, and call Joe Ligo from the tow truck.

Stephen Walter Gossin
Stephen Walter Gossin
6 months ago

This one really needs an option for “both”!

God these are so awesome and just screaming to be rescued from their current misery!

Awesome, awesome Showdown as always, Mark. Huge thanks for the shout-out!

RB
RB
6 months ago

Oh no, I wish I hadn’t seen this because now I’m thinking about if I can get down to Champaign and back while my wife is at work tomorrow.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
6 months ago

With those trailer mirrors in the trunk and the heavy duty hitch under the rear bumper, pretty sure that Monaco is a big block.

Last edited 6 months ago by Theotherotter
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
6 months ago

I am lusting very hard over the Monaco right now.
Though I thought hard top sedans were all Royal Monaco’s, with the headlight doors? This looks like a regular Monaco with the round headlights, but with the hard top instead of b pillars. Does reality mean nothing? Have I been living a lie?

Last edited 6 months ago by Mike Smith
Vee
Vee
6 months ago

Monaco. No question. Monaco.

Cyko9
Cyko9
6 months ago

I like AMC, and had it been a Matador, I would’ve thought more about it. But that Concord is beat and the Dodge is in pretty good shape. The white vinyl roof isn’t to my liking, but the paint is nice.

10001010
10001010
6 months ago

Given these choices I’m gonna have to be a Dodge man, just like my hero Al Bundy from Polk High.

JDE
JDE
6 months ago

the Monaco all day for me, but I really feel like Kevin the Iowa Youtuber and Derek the Tennesse youtuber need to each buy one of these, Kevin loves those concords it seems and Derek is the more likely of the two to appreciate the age and size of that land yacht. he also would likely put that BBD to good use somewhere else once he gets bored with going ta town in it.

Griznant
Griznant
6 months ago
Reply to  JDE

If you haven’t watched Cold War Motors, you need to. The Monaco is the perfect car for those guys. They love almost anything weird, rare, big, small, crazy, wild, etc. but nearly anything is welcome. I subscribe to the other two channels too, but CWM is a great watch with an eclectic mix of automotive and Canadian shenanigans.

Turn the Page
Turn the Page
6 months ago

Mark, the Dodge is a big block as indicated by its front-mounted distributor. 400 or 440 as you mentioned.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
6 months ago

The Monaco would get you a talking piece, a reputation, dozens of cubic feet of old car smell, and vitally, a car.

The Concord is the joyless sort of shitbox, looks like a fart, and looks like it smells like a fart. At best it could be sold for $1 to get you in LeMons, but crushed works too. To throw it a bone, I’d pay $10 a wheel just cause they’re neat.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
6 months ago

I can’t say I’m surprised this isn’t a close contest. The Monaco actually looks nice. I would fix it and drive it as-is. A green ’73 Monaco will never be a valuable car, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This could be a fun daily driver, assuming you don’t mind paying for all the gas.

The AMC looks rough. It is also a midwestern car. I wouldn’t be surprised if this car wasn’t structurally sound. Also, while styling is subjective, I don’t think it is particularly nice to look at. I don’t mean to any disrespect to the seller, but I think this car is about $1100 overpriced.

EastbayLoc
EastbayLoc
6 months ago

Wow, these do make me sad but also nostalgic. You’re right about the look of the Monaco. My grandpa had a Buick that looked just like it, same color and all, and drove it around New England until he passed. Then my grandma got her license and drove it for another 12 years. Had to go Dodge. That AMC needs to go to the crusher ASAP.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
6 months ago

I want them both, but the Dodge is clearly the better choice here. Who could hate an avocado green land yacht?

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

Avocado green basically defined my 70s childhood. Mom’s Ford LTD, the entire kitchen (including appliances) in my childhood house, the carpet I used to sit on while watching Superfriends and Star Blazers on the 25″ console TV. The nostalgia is strong with this one.

Grimy Ghost
Grimy Ghost
6 months ago

Gimme me the Dodge!

My most unreasonable reason: my ex-wife once dragged me to a party in Champaign and it sucked and she made it worse. I’ve hated Champaign ever since!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
6 months ago

The Dodge for me. It will cost less to make it run AND look good for an fun weekend or C&C car.

To make the AMC look good will require a lot of work.

And at the end of the day, a polished up pre-emissions Monaco will look better than a polished up malaise AMC Concord sedan.

Luxobarge
Luxobarge
6 months ago

I think the Concord is the better looking and more interesting car, but your reasoning is sound: the AMC is just too beat up, whereas the Dodge has a more straightforward path to roadworthiness.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
6 months ago

I hear they were practically giving ’em away at the Mt. Prospect Police auction….

XLEJim700
XLEJim700
6 months ago

Mon Ami Monaco.

Several full-size MoPars have taken good care of me over the decades, and I don’t think that’s gonna stop with this Green Goddess.

Redfoxiii
Redfoxiii
6 months ago

Big ole’ American project boat.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
6 months ago

Before I opened the link, I was 100% sure I’d pick the AMC, no brainer.

I guess the no-brainer is actually the owner of the (almost certainly rotted out because Illinois) oil-starved AMC.

If I have to commit a mortal sin by picking the Dodge, at least I’ll have a little fun with it first. Maybe demo derby.

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

You have to give it to the AMC for an engine that periodically seizes up but still runs as someone’s daily.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
6 months ago

That Dodge is much better platform to bring back to life, other than motor refresh I do not see much else on the surface.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
6 months ago

the green car is a cooler color, and it might be easier to swap in a crate engine 😉

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

That brings up a question that’s been bouncing in my head for a bit.

People on car sites are always talking about LS swaps and crate engines. How many have actually done it, or know what it entails?

Parsko
Parsko
6 months ago

I am 1 of 17 right now.

Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman
6 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

I gotta ask- why?

Parsko
Parsko
6 months ago
Reply to  Saul Goodman

Blindly scrolling without reading the deep content, and an ingrained, irrational, hatred of Dodge. I almost always choose AMC, even though they ended up Dodge. Anything PRE-Dodge is cool, and deserves the win, by default. Again, irrational and emotional. Thanks for asking. 🙂

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