CLASSICS: 1978 AMC Concord – To D/L Or Not To D/L

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An interesting question came up in a Facebook discussion about the late AMC Concord: just how much did you save if you didn’t go D/L?

The AMC Concord dropped for the 1978 model year as a fancier version of the Hornet that debuted back for the 1970 model year.

Hornets could be quite basic.


To differentiate the Concord from its economical predecessor, AMC ladled on the luxury. Same body, with a very different look and appeal.


Add two-toned paint, and the former Hornet became its own kind of showboat.


The D/L’s vinyl roof treatment was distinctive, and it was effective in hiding the Hornet’s son-of-Rambler roofline…


…and so it’s all AMC featured in its brochures.


Inside, the “velveteen crush fabric seating” photographed well, and nothing says posh like carpeted seat cushions.


A look through AMC brochures turned up zero images of non-D/L Concord two-door sedans, so AMC was clearly focused on getting the meat in those D/L seats.

Related: Streetside – 1979 AMC Concord D/L With A Russet Vinyl Top

So if the base Concord wasn’t in the brochures, and even some of the hard-core enthusiasts in that Facebook discussion remarked on its rarity, then how much did that base Concord’s original owner save by fighting the pressure to go D/L?

If the Facebook Concord is a 1978, then this six-cylinder, base two-door sedan ran $3,749, which adjusts to $13,837 in today’s dollars. The D/L would have added $200, or $738 today. Total adjusted entry price for a D/L two-door: $14,575.

Today, that would get you in a subcompact Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic, not a ritzy compact sedan. But remember that even with the D/L, fundamental features were still optional.

We’d probably want to add the Air Conditioning Package, which also included power steering and tinted glass ($2,506 adjusted), power brakes ($236) and an automatic transmission ($1,092). The AM/FM Stereo – no tape player, just four speakers – would be a startlingly pricey $827 option today.

With these features added, we’d be up at an adjusted $19,236 in a Concord D/L, and the destination charge would likely kick the total up over $20K.

And note that we’re still rolling up the windows and pressing down and pulling up the locks on each door, and up front, the durable but emissions-strangled 3.8-liter V6 filtered out all of 90 horsepower.

The D/L may have been bargain-priced glamour, but it’s a good thing that technology has moved on from the rest of the Concord. Although we still wouldn’t mind having in our garage the rare brown non-D/L pictured at the top.

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Brochure images from