This Forgotten Car CRUISED Streets AND Ruled the RACETRACK! – 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona

In the big world of cars, some brands may not be as famous as others, but they still leave their mark. American Motors Corporation (AMC) is one such hero, even though it became part of Chrysler in 1988.

AMC created a special car the 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona. Let’s explore this cool car that not only cruised the streets but also made a name for itself on NASCAR tracks.

The Matador’s Story

Born in 1970 to follow the Rebel, the Matador originally had three body styles: sedan, station wagon, and a two-door hardtop.

However, the 1973 oil crisis led to fewer sales for the hardtop, so in 1974, designer Dick Teague gave it a makeover. The result was the Matador Coupe, with a sleek design inspired by the 1964 Rambler American.

At first, the Matador Coupe did well, selling 62,629 units in 1974. But by 1978, AMC sold fewer than 100,000 units, and only 2,006 Matador Coupes were sold in its final year, marking the end of an era.

The Barcelona Upgrade


Among these, the 1978 Matador Coupe with the Barcelona package is special. Priced at $849, this deluxe package turned the Matador Coupe into a luxury car. It came with a two-tone paint finish, an opera top, color-keyed bumpers, and unique upholstery.

Initially available in Golden Ginger Metallic on Sand Tan, it later expanded to Autumn Red Metallic on Claret Metallic in 1978.

Because of low sales, the Barcelona edition became one of the rarest AMCs ever produced. Experts estimate that fewer than 700 were sold, making this tan version a rare find in the car world.

Cool Features and Uniqueness

The 1978 Matador Barcelona we’re talking about is super rare and almost perfect inside and out. It’s still mostly the way it was made, having been repainted just once.

What makes it stand out is the optional 360-cubic-inch (5.9-liter) V8 engine, different from the standard 258-cubic-inch (4.2-liter) inline-six. It might not be a famous car, but it’s definitely a unique gem rarely seen on the roads today.


Here’s a surprising twist – the Matador Coupe has a connection to NASCAR! It came into the NASCAR scene about a year after AMC’s first official entry, replacing the hardtop version.

The coupe’s aerodynamic design helped it win four races between November 1974 and September 1975, all thanks to Bobby Allison’s skills.

Allison also got a solid second place at the 1975 Daytona 500. Some people think AMC designed the Matador Coupe with racing in mind, showing off its versatility on both roads and tracks.

Wrapping It Up

In the huge world of cars, the 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona is like a forgotten luxury car, adding a cool chapter to AMC’s history. Besides looking good, it also has a NASCAR connection, making it even more interesting.

Even though not many people remember it, its rarity and unique features make it a cool piece of car history that’s worth checking out.

Now that we’ve uncovered the story of the 1978 AMC Matador Barcelona and its NASCAR journey, what do you think about this hidden gem?

Share your thoughts below! And if you love car history, make sure to show this article to your family and friends. Enjoy the read!


Our mission is to take you on a thrilling ride down memory lane, exploring the history, design, and unforgettable moments that define the golden era of automobiles.

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