No, the Matador was not a great car. But was it really one of the 10 worst passenger vehicles of all time? Hagerty Insurance's car collector customers think it was.
The unfortunate Matador, an undistinguished midsized car that was really a thinly made over AMC Rebel pitched as "all new," may suffer from what McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance, calls AMC's "negative halo effect." Cars like the Gremlin and the Pacer are tossed out as prime examples of automotive awfulness so the Matador gets thrown in there, too, even if it was merely not so great.
The Matador coupe was actually named "Best Styled Car" in 1974 by the editors of Car & Driver. The Matador even had a moment of MTV stardom. In the long version of Michael Jackson's "Black and White" music video he smashes the glass out of a Matador.
AMC's ultimate failure as a business - it was bought by Chrysler in 1987 and only its Jeep brand survives today - adds weight to the popular notion that AMC cars were all laughably bad.