To answer the question posed in our Antique Auto Advertising post this week, “what’s a Matador?”, here’s a very clean 1972 American Motors Matador that gets regular drag strip duty. Drag racing sedans were one of the featured categories at this year’s Cars R Stars show at the Packard Proving Grounds. For V8 duty, AMC used the same block for small, medium and large displacement engines. That meant that the 390 and later 401 cubic inch versions of the AMC V8 were lighter than comparable big block engines from the Big 3. Since that same engine would fit in everything that AMC made (including some Jeeps if I’m not mistaken) that meant that any AMC product could possibly be a sleeper – though this Matador’s 401 fender badge and aggressive stance makes it clear that it’s not exactly a grocery getter. Later Matador coupes are a polarizing design and the later Matador sedans were among the ugliest cars in the already uglified 5-mph battering ram bumper era, but I’ve always thought the early ’70s midsize AMCs, first the Rebel and then the Matador, were handsome cars.
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