Many a car manufacturer claims to have placed the very first crossover sister or crossover-so in the desperately craving market. But the AMC eagle landed way before.
Above all, the first real crossover was more or less born out of need. It was the end of the seventies and nobody was waiting for hip. It just had to stay whole once, did not use gallons per minute and you had to be able to use it in a decent way. In terms of driving behavior especially. Exactly what the Japanese were already building back then, and more and more disappointed Americans chose oriental instead of their own real american steel. Because that rusted, fell apart and swabbed the streets way too greedily. The American Motor Company could no longer listen to those constantly ringing doorbells from the Toyota and Datsun dealers, and went to work feverishly.
Time was running out. Moreover, the greenhouse was not too full, enough reasons for AMC to pull the existing Concord from the shelves as the basis for the Eagle. In any case, they were not going to win the innovation award: that Concord was in fact no more than a modified Hornet, the compact that was on AMC's price lists since 1970. Not a very modern basis, but the hamburger has never changed much. Matter of what ingredients change or add and people were completely satisfied. The basis was good and with the adaptation of the old recipe, the AMC Eagle inadvertently became a true trendsetter. Even visionary, because by the time the crossover came up with a lot of screaming and became hip, most AMC Eagles were already quietly on the demolition. Probably even long ago recycled in uselessly higher mounted and plastic-lined station cars for self-proclaimed leaders. The irony.
The idea of combining a hopelessly old-fashioned Concord with the technology of a still moderately popular Jeep was pretty daring. Or not at all. Anyway, that combination of existing techniques in an old jacket predicted no standing ovations or full order portfolios in theory, but the Eagle proved a small success for the declining AMC. The unique 4 × 4 was available as a two or four-door sedan, station wagon and even as a coupé. As a motorization, the well-known 4,2 liter six-cylinder line found a place in the front. True to the concept of reuse, this power source was also well up in age. To make it not too difficult for the clientele, this was also the only option under the hood. They already had enough to explain after they left the showroom in their still-to-be-opened market hole.
But it was fantastic. Everything in the right framework, of course. In the early eighties there was no American translation for tight handling. Simply because Joe Average had no idea that that existed. And therefore did not need it. The AMC Eagle also had no sharp handling, but felt a lot more secure and stable on the asphalt thanks to its permanent four-wheel drive. Outside of that you also got a lot further than with the average native cruise-o-saurus, but of course it never became an all-terrain vehicle, simply due to the lack of a low gearing. But the all-wheel drive and the greater ground clearance certainly made a trip in light terrain possible and under slippery or winter conditions the AMC Eagle had undeniable added value. He offered the safe traction of an 4 × 4 without the rudimentary one. The AMC Eagle was indeed unique.
The AMC Eagle was equipped as standard with American luxury: steering, power brakes and automatic transmission were indispensable. The Limited and Sport equipment levels further enhanced the rich feeling with quality-enhancing features such as leather trim, wood trim on the dashboard, a radio, central locking and the ultimate luxury of upholstered sun visors. Nothing peered so comfortably. And nowadays unthinkable, but at that time an anti-rust treatment could also be selected as a factory option. If only everyone had done that at the time, many more of these unique all-rounders would have remained to be amazed to see the hyped rebirth of their own niche. Everything was already there.