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Hagerty Employee

What If? 1973 Jeep Wagoneer Trackhawk

Who can forget that timeless moment in Greek mythology where Jupiter turned Narcissus into a swan? Well, if you are well-educated enough to know what I'm talking about, you probably aren't very interested in cars and just like me you would rather spend your time at the erotic spiral toilet of the Guggenheim, designed by the mighty I.M. Pei, checking out that blow-your-mind cubist stuff by Camille Pissarro.


Read the full article on

Hagerty Employee

Oh, this I LOVE. More!


Somebody change your meds? (switched your prescription to one that doesn't work, either) Why so condescending? (that means talking down to your audience) very few people on the dole (that's OPM) have multiple collector cars ,so chances are most of them are not illiterate. (that means their literate isn't sick) 🤪


The whole thing is a joke. Every single cultural allusion is WRONG. It's meant to poke fun at autowriters who think they're better than auto-readers.
New Driver

What a stupid article, AMC's 401 was superior to that orange boat anchor, 150 lbs lighter, better breathing, high nickle block, etc etc.    AMC's six cylinder was so good that Chrysler used it until 2006.   Given AMC's innovation, management, flexibility, project lifecycle that was the envy of the industry, Grand Cherokee and Jeep in general, had AMC been thrown a lifeline instead of the Renault arrangement, I've always thought that we'd still be talking about American Motors and Chrysler would be but a distant memory.


The AMC was lighter because it was essentially a small block engine, pretty much the same block as use in their 290. As for the venerable AMC inline six, it was a great engine but survived that long because Chrysler gave it a modern head. Regarding project lifecycles, there was a downside to the fact that into the 1980s AMC was selling the Concord/Gremlin, whose bones dated back to the Rambler American of 1961.  Engineering does progress over two decades.

Advanced Driver

AMCs Gen3 V-8 (1970-91 304/360/401... and 1970 only 390), and the almost the same Gen2  V-8 (66-69 290/343/390) are slightly larger than the typical small block, and the 390 and 401s have thicker main bearing webs to strengthen the block. No, it's not a big block, but it's not quite a small block either. Chrysler didn't give the AMC six a modern head, AMC did before Chrysler took over, and the same AMC/Jeep design team modernized it. The last couple head designs did appear under Chrysler leadership, I'll admit, but it was still pretty much the AMC/Jeep engineering team that did the work. The "Chrysler" computer system that appeared in 91 to replace the Renix isn't exactly a Chrysler design either -- it's an update of the Renix, obvious if you've ever worked with both (I run a Renix system in a 63 Rambler now, and have assisted with several swaps of the 91+ system in others). One more thing -- the Hornet/Concord, Gremlin/Spirit, and Eagle/SX/4 are descended from the 1964 version of the American, not the 58-63 body. The older body is VASTLY different from the 64. AMC came out with a new body design in 63 for the Classic/Ambassador (Motor Trend's Car of the Year in 63) then shortened and narrowed that award winning body to create the 1964 replacement for the aging 63 American, which actually dated back to the 1950 Nash Rambler -- same basic chassis, new sheetmetal and a few engineering updates. You are correct that there was a downside to the long life of the Hornet chassis (1970-88!!). It didn't sell well in the final years -- the 2WD version ended production after the 1983 model year. I think it's an attractive body, but by 83 it was dated. AMC didn't have the capital to put out a new car after the failure of the Pacer (due mainly to the fuel shortage of the late 70s, not the design -- they sold like hot cakes the first couple years) and the Matador Coupe. Both of those were unique designs that shared little (other than drivetrains) with other models, making them expensive to produce. Not selling well pretty much doomed small AMC... along with some earlier business decisions that didn't work out. Nothing wrong with the cars, but if you don't back them up with good business and marketing (AMC didn't have the money for huge marketing campaigns like the big three) you'll eventually run out of funding... as did AMC.


Renault wasn't the killer many people seem to think it was. Renault SAVED AMC, and was poised to finally turn it around when political events in France caused them to sell to Chrysler.  The Alliance/Encore were good cars, just not as well adapted to American driving as they could have been. Had the 1.7L been introduced as at least an option from the start it would have done much better. The little 1.5L was ok for around town, but not for long distance driving on the interstates. I had one, and a couple hours on the interstate trying to maintain 65-70 with two adults, an 8 year old child, and weekend luggage was actually tiring! Perfect around town though. AMC engineers tried to tell Renault that it wasn't enough motor, but they refused to listen. The R9 sold well in many countries, why would America be any different? Besides, you've run your own company into the ground, obviously you've been doing things wrong...  Well, they learned neither was so after a couple years and introduced the 1.7L... too late, as the car already had a bad reputation as an all around driver. The GTA with the hot little 2.0L was quite a nice "pocket rocket" right up there with the Golf GTI, but it was also too little, too late.


Jeep saved AMC in the late 70s, but by 80 there was a big drop in the 4x4 market. Jeep only produce the big Wagoneer/Cherokee and the CJs at the time. They had been working on the compact XJ Cherokee, but lacked funds to get it started. Renault influxed the capital needed and saved AMC that way as much as introducing economical new cars, as imports at first (LeCar, Fuego, and R18), then the US produced Alliance/Encore, and culminating in the car that saved Chrysler -- the Premier. Chrysler was having issues with their own new FWD platform, and turned to the successful Premier as the basis for the LH cars (see

Pit Crew

I wish you'd deal in more facts and less generalities.  😉

Intermediate Driver

I see that we're desperate for daily e-blast material again...

At least keep it all-AMC if we're pretending to take The Wayback Machine to 1973.


Bill Harrah had his mechanics install a v12 Ferrari engine in a 70s era jeep grand wagoner. He used it to commute between Reno and Lake Tahoe. It's now in the national auto museum in Reno


Not to be too nitpicky but did anyone notice the misspelled word in the original ad copy? 

In the second line they have "Jeep 4-whel drive!"  Surely this ad didn't get published this way

Pit Crew

Entertaining article?- could have been if written in a different format- ugh!



Moments ago (that's a unit of time measured in seconds or minutes (seconds is a time measured in mississippi's), and used as a descriptor of a period not less than a few seconds and not more than 5 minutes (that's 300 mississippi's); I pulled myself up off the floor after recovering from a bad case of hilariitis (that's a syndrome where you have great difficulty breathing because you are laughing so hard, you can't get oxygen into your lungs).
This piece is not just a Home Run, but a Grand Slam! Love it. 🙂 Bravo to the Alternate Universe and your Way-back machine! (I'd attempt to explain the meaning of Alternate Universe and Way Back machine, (for those lacking a Classical Education, I would translate these words, but your lack of $ 5 or even one dollar word vocabulary would make the attempt moot anyway, so I chose to look down my aquiline features instead).

I would expound on my current discourse, but it has taken me nearly ten minutes to write this and I'm still having trouble keeping my eyes clear, from the ear to ear grin on my face, after reading some of the screeds (for those of you from Rio Linda, or possibly Cleveland, that is a diatribe or castigation... Oh what's the use), written in the comments section.

You've done it again. I really look forward to reading more comments. The only thing that would make this better is if I was reading the comments to my own article writing about my mythical town; Grundy Park, MN. A lovely little town filled with characters and goof balls and some wonderful mythical companies like Underground engineering "Where the best ideas NEVER see the light of day".
Thank you for a wonderful trip down Mythical Memory lane. 🙂