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Author Topic: The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle  (Read 2247 times)

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Offline Illeagle1984

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The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle
« on: March 16, 2021, 06:39:25 PM »
The year was 2016.  East-central Wisconsin.  My winter car was a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville.  This thing had gone through black ice, 8" of unplowed snow, the great Fond du Lac flood of 2008, anything nature could throw at it.  Best winter car I ever had.  The old Bonneville was getting pretty rusty though.  I mean Fred Flintstone, put your feet down to stop rusty.  It had ripped the subframe mount holes off the body couple years back and I forced it to live again with 1/4 inch barstock and some big bolts. 

Came time to poke her with the big stick, the old Bonneville said not this time.  Subframe was getting more janky, fuel lines leaking, tires down to the cords, major problems piling up.  Such a good car, she did more than I ever expected, but it was time to send her to that great parking lot in the sky.  Still broke up about letting her go.  The friggin' A/C still worked.  But I look at my other two cars.  A 96 Eldorado is no good winter car.  Four inches of fresh snow, also known as Tuesday 3 months of the year, and she's a 300HP beached whale.  A 73 Mustang with a 351C would be the same minus the heated seats and traction control.

So back to November 2016.  I'm all depressed, making dinner on a weeknight after work.  What the hey, I think, let's check out Craigslist real quick.  Winter is coming and all.  The first, I mean the very first post under cars for sale was an 84 Eagle sedan.  An hour and a half away, needs a ton of work, 800 bucks.  I don't know exactly what compelled me to think that was the ticket, that it was just what I needed.  And I had no idea what it would really take to make it roadworthy.  Ended up driving the Eldorado til February.  But maybe since it was on top like that, I felt like it had been there just for me.  I called him and told him to hold it for me.  I would come tomorrow to check it out and bring the almighty cash.

The next day after work, I loaded up my old lady and we drove way up around Weyauwega to check out this thing in the middle of the woods.  Came up to an old house with a junkyard of oddities sprawled before it: there was an old Land Cruiser (the one that really wanted to be a CJ), Saab 900 and Opel Manta that I remember.  A Ramcharger was his plow truck.  I had never seen a Manta before, and I had worked on everything from Model A's to Bentleys.  I knew this was a good place.  A unique place.  The man behind the junk identified himself as Justice Miles; that was his name, as it was on the title of the Eagle.  Car was from what we call 'down south;' West Virginia if I remember right, so not too rusty yet.

After firing up the Eagle and showing that it moved back and forth, he said it needed a rear wheel bearing and a carb rebuild.  Now I'm not going to point the finger at ol' Justice, but it needed way more than that.  It had two 15" Jeep wheels on the back, and two 16" Intrepid wheels on the front.  It wouldn't idle, there were wire nuts (the house kind) everywhere, and some dumb inconsiderate person bashed the corners of the fenders in for tire clearance.  The rear end made noises that said, "You're not driving me home."  The left side of the front bumper was pushed up, the grille was smashed to pieces and put back in with lots of clear RTV.  Rivets in random places on the hood, after what looks like a small tree fell on it.   It used to be white and orange, but it and most of the chrome was fizzbombed gray and black.  Evidence of clown activity everywhere.  Hence the name, "Illeagle."

For some reason, though, I was drawn to it.  The rear doors are noticeably shorter than the fronts, the side mirrors are about 5" further back than they should be.  The pedals are a few inches to the left compared to any other car.  The transmission tunnel is massive, a constant reminder you've got truck stuff down there.  It's just an odd car.  I didn't even know there were Eagle sedans before I saw this one.  I knew my ma had an Eagle woodie wagon at some point before I can remember; she swears it had fuel injection. :)

So anyway, I bought it and told him I'd give him an extra $100 to tow it to my shop.  That's when I was offered a chicken.  Not the kind in the freezer section of your local grocery store, not on a rotisserie or sandwich, but the cluck-cluck kind that is still walking around.  See, there was around a dozen free-range birds were wandering around the sprawl.  They looked like happy chickens, to be sure, but when was the last time you were offered a live chicken to go with your used car?

The car had been sitting inside the barn for awhile, apparently with the windows down, and I'm pretty sure the chickens had taken refuge in it at some point.  It smelled really bad inside and there were small feathers strewn about.  Once I got the back seat out to rewire the speakers, there was most of an actual chicken skeleton stuffed down there.  So I can say with some confidence this Eagle was a chicken coop at some point.  Took two passes with a Bissell steam cleaner to get it all out.

Anyway, I told him we're city folk.  I have nowhere to keep a chicken, no desire or means to kill a chicken, and they all looked so content wandering the property and pecking on that deer carcass laying two feet from the passenger door.  He relented, but relayed an amazing story of a chicken they called 'Stumpy.'  Old Stumpy somehow got her feet frozen to the ground one cold winter night, so they cut off the frozen feet and let her stay inside, planning to eat her eventually.  But old Stumpy had other plans.  She got better, and got smart.  She learned to poop in the toilet, got along well with the dogs, and still plopped out eggs.  They also said she would run faster than all the other chickens by flapping her wings and tiptoeing on her stumps.  So they kept her on for a number of years after that as a house pet and breakfast machine.

I'm not that imaginative, I couldn't have made up a story like this if I tried folks.  Just telling you what I heard.  Sounds like the plot of the next Disney movie or something.  But coming from a man named Justice Miles, I'm more inclined to believe it than some stories.  That is what happened when I bought my first Eagle.  He dropped it off the next day, I gave him $900 as promised, and thus began the long arduous journey of 'rustoration.'  To be continued...

(Finally, some pictures for you guys too.  She ain't purty, but I love her just the same!)

(Edit: not sure why the last two pics are upside down!  I tried to rotate them 180 and repost, but they're still the same...)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 06:54:22 PM by Illeagle1984 »
It's getting crowded down here:
1973 Ford Mustang "Rustang"
1984 AMC Eagle Sedan "IllEagle" 183k
1984 AMC Eagle Wagon "Eagle 2"
1996 Cadillac Eldorado 178k
1998 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight 239k
2002 Cadillac Eldorado Doral Edition
2005 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 179k

Offline vangremlin

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Re: The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2021, 06:49:52 PM »
That's quite the story lol!  Can't wait to read Chapter 2!
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
1964 TBird 390 - sold

Offline Still Pat

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Re: The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 10:36:59 PM »
Waiting for 'The REST of the story' as Paul Harvey would say! ;D
'83 AMC Eagle wagon 258/auto.
'84 AMC Eagle sedan (4 door) 258/auto.
'72 Gremlin X 304/3 speed
'81 Eagle Kammback 258/4 speed (Purchased new)
'82 Eagle wagon 258/5 speed (Ordered new, traded Kammback)
'86 (I THINK) Eagle wagon - BlackBird 258/auto. (Got hit/totaled)
'83 Eagle wagon - White Eagle 258-auto. (Front subframe was rotted out - sold for parts)

Offline Softbuster

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Re: The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 10:22:40 PM »
Wow That story reminds me of an old hilbilly song from C.W. McCall called Classified.

I bought a few neglected eagles but yours takes the cake.
Doesn't look too bad tho.
If you want a cheap paint job you could do like i did to my old pickup, spend time sanding (not taking it all off just smoothing it all out) and clean it with dawn dish soap.  Spray flat primer like tan and black trim and just put a clear coat over it all.  Of course the more detailed you get the better it'll turn out, like pulling the trim off to paint it. 
But of course mechanicals come first.

Is there anything you need for it?  I'm on the east coast but might have some small parts that would not take much to ship.

1985 Eagle sedan rescue project

Offline Taylor

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Re: The Curious Case of Justice Miles - My First Eagle
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2021, 06:32:33 PM »
Great story, thanks for sharing. Keep us informed on how the project goes.
2010 Toyota Rav4 pack mule, totaled 3/26/24 rear ended REAL HARD. concussion and whiplash. not fun
1999 Ford E250 conversion/work van 238,000 see if it will make 300,000
1985 AMC Eagle Limited Wagon 🖖🏼🦅
2020 Honda Africa Twin, the long haul trucker


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