Seen from today, the difference between 1970 and 1974 seems trivial. After all, the cars looked similar, and it’s only four years… what could possibly have gone wrong? The short answer is: everything, and the long one… also everything! The 1974 AMC Matador Coupe doesn’t have styling that please everyone, that’s for sure, but it has the undeniable look of a muscle car. Now here’s the rub: 1970 is the magical year for muscle cars, the last year before the introduction of the hated catalytic converters, which saw compression ratios (and horsepower) plummet, and the oil crisis of 1973, which spooked just about everyone into making smaller, cheaper and less fun cars. Getting a 1974 muscle car is just not worth it, and despite not being a terrible car, the AMC Matador Coupe just wasn’t very popular.
The Matador Coupe came with a choice of 3 engines, one straight six and two V8s. For the sake of brevity, and because few people care about the less powerful options, we’ll concentrate on the top of the line, which was a 6.6-liter – 401 cubic inches – V8, producing a miserable 235 horsepower. What that dismal lack of horsepower under the hood, the Matador Coupe could reach a top speed of 116 miles per hour, and “boasted” a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.9 seconds. Now don’t get me wrong: those are not terrible figures. Taken in a vacuum, they’re not bad. On a car that billed itself as a muscle car, or a personal luxury car, they are pathetic. Sorry.
The AMC Matador Coupe remained in production until 1978, when it was put out of its misery. The model years 1974 and 1975 saw a special Oleg Cassini edition, which are today collector’s items.