Ugly Duckling: Fairy Tale of the ugliest car ever made

amc_eagle_wagons_1987

Shout out to my 80’s babies here – I actually remember these horrors driving around the Esplanade in my early years of consciousness. Man – what a fucking eye-sore. Oddly shaped, 4 door, 4-wheel-drive, seating for 5, some had a turbo-diesel engines…. wait hold on – that actually sounds like a pretty modern, useful car.

Fast forward 25 years and it seems like all auto manufacturers are building new vehicle platforms on this exact model. They didn’t use the term ‘Crossover’ in the 80’s, but that’s what it was – and what the new vanguard of family vehicles are today.

The AMC Eagle came out of necessity. There was an oil crisis, gas was expensive, and sales of AMC’s other product (Jeep) were feared to fall. So what did they do? Stick the Jeep’s 4×4 system in a family wagon. Tossed some bigger wheels on it to accommodate for the 4-wheel-drive system and there you have it: one of the ugliest cars ever made.  What’s crazy is that today in 2013 – gas prices and fuel efficiency is back as the ‘big bad wolf’ in the auto industry… and you see the exact same thing happening over 25 years later.

It gets better though. AMC also predicted the future beyond the crossover. Those future-hipsters at AMC took the 4-door Eagle, and made a coupe version called the SX/4. Kinda like a sports coupe with elephantiasis. Shit was hoss. BUT! Lo and behold at this year’s most prestigious auto shows, some of the most talked about concepts were exactly that. 4-wheel-drive, on/off road sports coupes.

AMC Eagle SX/4 (mid-80's model)

AMC Eagle SX/4 (mid-80’s model)

ItalDesign Giugiaro Concept - Geneva Motor Show 2013

ItalDesign Giugiaro Concept – Geneva Motor Show 2013

Audi Nanuk Concept - revealed at Frankfurt Auto Show 2013

Audi Nanuk Concept – revealed at Frankfurt Auto Show 2013

BMW X-Coupe concept - secret project in 2001 to identify the next big thing after SUV's. There's a good TED Talks with BMW's chief designer on this project..

BMW X-Coupe concept – secret project in 2001 to identify the next big thing after SUV’s. There’s a good TED Talks with BMW’s chief designer on this project..

It’s crazy to think back and say – those ugly ass, unreliable, American made AMC’s in the 80’s would lay the blueprint of the post-SUV era of automotive engineering. Shout out to Roy Lunn – Jeep’s chief designer at the time who developed the AMC Eagle line. Now, what I really want to see a throwback to is AMC’s other ground breaking vehicle…. the Grand Wagoneer. Now doing a 2014 version of this beast would be very cool to see… Any designers out there want to take a stab at it? (Wood paneling is a must…)

2013-grand-wagoneer

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