Car: American Motors Corporation (AMC) Gremlin
What makes it special: American Motors Corporation’s Gremlin was a subcompact introduced in 1970, manufactured and marketed in a single, two-door body style for model years 1970-1978 in the U.S. as well as in Mexico from 1974-1978 by AMC’s “Vehículos Automotores Mexicanos,” ( aka VAM ) subsidiary. Featuring a shortened Hornet platform and bodywork with a pronounced, almost vertical tail, the Gremlin was classified as an economy car by 1970’s U.S. standards, competing Chevrolet’s Vega and Ford’s Pinto models, as well as Volkswagen’s Beetle and Toyota’s Corolla imports. Gremlin was marketed as “The first American-built import.”
What made it famous: The 1974 year brought the AMC Gremlin it’s first re-style since its introduction. The nose was more substantial-looking, with a body-color surround on all models encircling a horizontal-bar grille with integrated parking lamps. The lower back panel and rear quarter panels were also slightly redone. New “free-standing” bumpers eliminated the plastic beauty panel that usually filled the gap between bumper and body, and was considered innovative at the time. The new Pacer was AMC’s big news for 1975, so the 1975 AMC Gremlin made do with minor changes. Electronic ignition was added and overdrive became available, recognition that Gremlin needed help in the area of fuel economy. The 304 V8 was still available, but the continued high price of gas made it less popular than before.
Why I would want one: I love the “slightly-off kilter” models of the 1970’s. This was a fun looking economy car, but did nicely as a V8 equipped performance car.
Fun fact: The AMC Gremlin reached a total production of 671,475 over a single generation. Not too shabby.