Wednesday, March 18, 2015

5k: PRV V6 Power: 1991 Eagle Premier ES

What we have here today is an AMC built sedan packed full of sketchy advanced electronics from 25 years ago that uses a temperamental Audi transmission and a Renault V6 engine, and you should buy it.  What is this, Fear Factor?  Are you going to fill the car full of roaches and make me drive it in my underwear? It is like a Who's Who of abandoned car components assembled by raving lunatics, one every day and you'll be part of an exclusive club.  Find this 1991 Eagle Premier ES here on eBay currently bidding for $3,500 with 5 days to go. located in Salt Lake City, UT.  Tip from Mike F.

What you see on the page is a very Audi-esq looking car from the early 90s, but its elegant shape was designed by the ineffably talented Giorgietto Giugiaro.  It sort of looks like what you would get if you asked someone to draw a generic sedan from 1990.  Rumor has it that the drove nicely for the time, floating nicely over bumps, but tighter in the turns compared to a Cadillac.

The Premier uses the seldom seen longitudinal front-wheel-drive setup, with Renault 25 greasy bits on the underside for suspension and basic chassis dimensions.  Under the hood is a 3.0 liter PRV V6, the same engine found in yesterday's DeLorean DMC-12.  Expect 150 horsepower and 171 ft-lbs of torque, which won't be fast, but will be enough to push the 3000 lb chassis around.

See another Fear Factor special?


  1. Incredible find and another example of a less desirable vehicle that's now very rare. I wonder what shape all of the rubber and fluids are in after basically sitting all its life in a Mormon garage.

    1989 Eagle Premier 51,xxx Miles New Tires Inspected - $2150

    89 Eagle Premier - $600 (parts car)

    89 eagle premier - $650 (needs fixin' in Alaska)

    There's also a relationship to Volvo and Peugeot with that engine, too. I remember driving one once and thought it wasn't bad, for the time. The biggest noticeable problem was the poor fit and finish, with a large turning radius and expected understeer coming as no surprise. This was no sports sedan, but it rivaled some of the comparable Euro-sedans in many ways. It had a badge on the side that read "design giugiaro" and there was a monochrome white Limited Edition. Good luck finding one of those.


  2. Let's see, you start with yet another application of the clunky and fragile ZF 4HP18 automatic transmission in its Audi-like FWD form, plop on top of it an interior of typical '80s Detroit quality festooned (or should I say riddled? Slathered?) with cheapo touches like electric seatbelts and the cheesiest switchgear they could find, all wrapped in a sort of oddly-proportioned shape with enough nose overhang to provide shade for an entire colony of prairie dogs.

    What's not to like?

    The Renault 25 these things were pulled from was kind of a French Saab 9000, a big and fairly attractive hatchback, but the translation to a US-market sedan did not go off well. I think they stretched both ends which accounts for the sort of swaybacked, car-too-long-for-its-wheelbase look.

    Francois Castaing hung around to be absorbed into Chrysler and used this platform as the basis for the LH cars, which benefited both from being much nicer shapes and from having been rid of the PRV V6 and ZF transmission.

  3. POS! I remember working on one of these when new, and remember how brittle the interior parts were. If the tranny problems are as described as well STAY AWAY!

    1. The 4HP18 got into products from most of the Euro automakers, it probably had as much to do with Peugeot leaving the US market after the 505 as any other single factor. It was never very well behaved - the first ZF transmission that could match a '60s vintage Ford FMX or GM Turbo 350 for shift quality was probably the 5HP24 of the late '90s* - but it was also notorious for blowing up hours or days after smog tests, where the car had been run at 2500RPM in neutral for sniffer testing.

      The 4HP19 that replaced it is routinely seen at Audi shops sitting on a transmission jack under a raised car waiting for a replacement torque converter.

      * that 5HP24 was the one shipped with a 'lifetime' fluid fill, and if you never replaced the fluid the transmission's lifetime was about 100K miles. Despite ZF's initial claims to the contrary, it does just fine on any modern multi-vehicle synthetic fluid changed at 60K miles like every other slushbox...

    2. @mrkwong -

      Wasn't the ZF 4HP18 also used in the Saab 9000? I had several friends in high school who drove Saabs back in the day - one had an '87 9000 Turbo, one had an '89 9000S. Both were automatics and both transmissions went out around 130k-140k miles.

      Do you remember the 4HP22 gearbox? Until late last year, I had an '86 Volvo 740 GLE with that transmission. I wrote a note to myself that said "Never rev this car in Park or Neutral," and stuck it on the glovebox. After seeing what happened to my English teacher's '85 BMW 528e that saw its 4HP22 blow up in the late '90s at 141k, I did not want to take any chances.

  4. Thorsday pick for worst proportioned PRV-equipped vehicle: Volvo 262C Bertone


    And ironically, its successor is arguably the best proportioned PRV recipient: Volvo 780 Bertone


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That 262C is the spiritual predecessor to the late RWD Chrysler 300, right?

  5. The evolved Eagle.

    Chrysler 300M

    The LH cars were pretty damn big, but Chrysler cut the rear off the 300M to get it down to a more competitive size for the European market. They did try to sell it over there, it did better than typical for US cars but they didn't move a lot of them. The 'Touring' package for the US market was I think the base suspension in Europe.


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