An old myth is that while other birds wait out stormy weather sheltered away from the wind and rain, eagles fly up above the layer of clouds to stay safe and dry. I haven’t found scientific corroboration to this tale, but at least vehicular Eagles aren’t troubled by precipitation. Not in the least.
The vehicular Eagle, in case you’ve forgotten, was AMC’s almost anachronistically-conceived all-wheel-drive high-riding wagon (though there was a sedan, a coupe, a convertible, and two different hatchbacks also on offer). Though the idea makes a lot of sense today when Volkswagen, Volvo, Audi, Buick, and, of course, Subaru all have tall AWD wagons on offer, it was a revolutionary notion back in 1979, bringing AMC’s fight against the Big Three to a market they never entered because it didn’t exist yet.
And yet, there was AMC, and this ad demonstrates pretty well that the car was exactly what families were looking for back then. It was spacious enough to haul a number of kids and all of their equipment from school to home to those all-too-important extracurricular activities that all the good schools look for, and it was sure-footed enough to get them there in almost any weather.
With that all-wheel-drive available on the fly and at the flick of a switch, the Eagle really did bring features that were not present in other similarly-sized vehicles to the market. And with a bunch of body-styles, it seemed like AMC might have been able to tie down at least one new niche market.
But buyers, for their part, weren’t yet convinced that all-wheel-drive was all that important for family cars (or sedans or convertibles or coupes or hatches).
Though they’d almost all be buying Eagle-influenced crossovers by the 2010s, car-buyers were either going for more conventional cars, or, if they needed something more substantial, minivans. Chrysler built that segment almost from scratch while AMC was still trying to make Eagle happen, and, at least as of press time, Chrysler is still here while AMC… got gobbled by the minivan-maker.
Since then, crossover sales have largely proved Eagle’s approach right, if a little early. Eagle and AMC are both gone, though, so does it really matter? If it does to you, there luckily still are plenty of Eagles out there to spot and to buy. And if you manage to pick one up, I’ve got no doubt you’ll make it to the recital on time, even if we get a little rain.