$975 1990 Eagle Premier

The Eagle Premier is a lost sedan that has flown totally underneath the collector radar. But it has a lot of important history tied to it.

Eagle was a brand by American Motors Corportaion. AMC lasted as one piece until the 80s. First, Renault gained controlling interest. Then, Chrysler bought it out altogether and dissolved it, although they kept the Eagle and Jeep brands.

The Premier, which was designed under AMC's partnership with Renault before they were bought out, is therefore notable for being the last American Motors car ever built.

They tried to go out on top, though. The Premier was supposed to herald the brand's focus on a new range of front-wheel drive family cars to fight Detroit and Japan's offerings.

It helped they got one of the greatest automotive stylists of all time (literally voted Car Designer of the Century by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation): Giorgetto Giugiaro. Using his trademark touch, he crated the definitive large sedan shape of the late 20th century: long hood, flat planes, minimal detail, a love for rectangular forms and a big greenhouse. It was not only handsome, but aerodynamic and efficient, with an impressive drag coefficient of just .31.

The interior is equally functional-mod with an array of buttons close to the steering wheel, clear gauges and simple layout.

One of the best things about spare exterior design is that it usually means a spacious interior, and the Premier is no exception. The comfy front and rear seats as well as the trunk are all huge.

Underneath the metal lay some sophisticated equipment, including fully independent suspension and a choice between either an AMC 4-cylinder or a Renault V6.

Unfortunately the car wasn't a success. Some blame a lack of faith and promotion on Chysler's part. Others point to the crowded field of competitors in which another sedan just didn't have a chance. Production ended in 1991, along with the Soviet Union and so many other things.

Seeing that so few were sold, even less remain. These aren't exactly things that people are preserving and restoring, either. You can bet a whole bunch were lost to Cash for Clunkers. This Premier is the kind of car that gets trashed and then scrapped.

This one claims only 75k miles and a bunch of new parts but a dead battery. The seller wants just $975 for it. Granted nothing else is wrong, a car battery is usually about $60-$100. Total investment to drive a piece of automotive history would be a little over a grand. Not bad.

Available here on craigslist.

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