American Motors was a car maker formerly known as Rambler before the mid-1950s. It was absorbed by Chrysler Corporation in the late 1980s, but not before it came out with a new line of vehicles called the Eagle. The first AMC Eagles were 1980 models and included four-wheel drive as standard equipment — something no other American car had at the time. Different body styles were offered that used the old AMC Concord bodies, which can trace its roots back to the Hornet in the early 1970s. The SX4 was one of the smallest Eagles, using the old AMC Spirit body and its four-cylinder engine. The SX4 was only available from 1981 through 1983.
The Eagle SX4 was introduced for the 1981 model year. Total Eagle production was 37,429, and 17,340 of which were SX4s. The SX4 production for 1982 dropped a bit to 10,445 units, while total Eagle production rose slightly to 37,923 cars. Total Eagle production dropped considerably for 1983 to 17,730 units, with only 2,259 of these being the sporty SX4.
Power front-disc and rear-drum brakes were standard on the SX4. Power steering was also standard, as was a front anti-sway bar. Select Drive, AMC’s four-wheel-drive system, was also standard. It allowed the driver to switch from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive by pushing a button on the instrument panel.
The 258-cubic inch displacement, in-line, six-cylinder engine was an optional to the standard 2.5-liter, four cylinder. This upgrade cost $150. A three-speed automatic was a $411 option to the standard four-speed manual transmission. A heavy-duty battery was a $25 option. An electric rear window defroster was $125, while full tinted glass was $82 extra. An AM/FM multiplex stereo was a $208 option.
Eagle SX4 Sport Package
The optional package added several sporty items to the SX4 at a total cost of $394. Included were Arriva radial tires, floor shift console, black bumper with strips, bumper guards, halogen headlamps and fog lamps, black left-hand, remote-control sport mirror, vinyl sport steering wheel, black wheel flares, black rocker molding and black hood moldings.
The wheelbase of the SX4 was 97.2 inches. The overall length was 164.6 inches, while the overall width was 73 inches. The height from road to roof was 55 inches, while maintaining a 6.9 inch ground clearance. The front overhang was 35.5 inches, while the rear overhang was 33.9 inches. The front tread width was 59.6 inches and the rear tread width was 57.6 inches. The turning diameter was 33.8 feet. Fuel tank capacity was 21 gallons.