AMC Eagle: 1979-1987
Subaru DL: 1971-1994, 4x4 from 1974
We, too, tried very hard to wrap our heads around the AMC Eagle because, like you said, it's a 4x4. With a V8. Also, it amazingly had independent front suspension, a novelty that the American 4x4 magazines actively pooh-poohed until GM started putting it on the Blazette (S-10 Blazer and Jimmy) in '89. Unfortunately it was basically a bad imitation of what Subaru was doing excessively well.
The AMC Eagle was the first production car to use a full time four wheel drive system.
Right... Subaru had a legit transfer case. With compound low.
Other four-wheel-drive automobile-type vehicles – the Subaru DL/GL (1972 for the Japanese domestic market and two years later in the U.S.), and much later the Toyota Tercel SR5 Wagon (1983) - only had part-time four-wheel-drive systems that could not be engaged on dry pavement.
...because why would you do that? The American transfer case that provided full time 4x4 was the NP203. It weighed about 300 lbs and stuck down about seven inches. I had one so I used it but boy howdy is it a piece of shit.
The Eagle was also years ahead of Subaru's simplistic, part-time front-drive/4WD system, due to Roy Lunn's creativity and Jeep's experience producing 4WD vehicles.
This is why DLs are still on the road while Eagles are a memory.
Another feature was the Eagle's independent front suspension, accomplished by mounting the front differential to the engine block with universal joints and half shafts to drive the front wheels.
Holy mother of God
I have a friend whose family owned three Wagoneers. He's a big AMC booster. He is also wrong. They were a company that saw the future coming and doubled down on the past. That said, I appreciate what they tried to do and you can't easily transition from a 304cc V8 designed in the late '50s to a water-cooled 1600cc boxer motor.
But the fact of the matter is, the AMC Eagle is what an American company saw as the future when Subaru had been doing this for four years
And Audi was about to do this
And if they had paid more attention to what people were buying, rather than what they could sell, they might have had a contender.
I would have slagged less hard if I, too, didn't fight the urge to believe that the AMC Eagle is cool. Here's a consolation video.