July 29, 2019
This 1981 AMC Spirit hatchback is a real survivor car. As this is written, it’s sitting in my garage with just over 9,800 miles on the odometer. That’s not a typo. Under 10 grand! We just bought it in the spring from a gentleman in New Jersey who had owned it for the past couple of years. He bought it online from a family here in WNY — the original owner lived in Barker. So in a sense we’ve brought the car back home. It’s equipped with AMC’s optional 258cid inline six (which has powered many a Jeep over the years), and a Chrysler-built column-mounted three-speed automatic transmission. It’s a base model Spirit, not the “fancy” DL, the “sporty” GT, or the “sizzling” Spirit-based AMX of 1979-80. Oh, and it’s also not the “off-road-worthy” Spirit-based Eagle SX/4. You’d be surprised how many people ask me if my car has 4-wheel-drive. Really? What in heaven’s name are they looking at? The black vinyl interior looks like it’s never been sat in, and everything in the cockpit — including the cigar lighter and the optional quartz clock & AM/FM stereo — still works. If you’re on the road in WNY, you may see our Spirit tooling around Tonawanda. In good weather only, of course!
Jim Corbran, RRofWNY
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