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AMC Gremlin, the Subcompact of AMC

ER Classics Desktop 2022

AMC needed a subcompact car. A small car, by American standards. A car with approximately the size of a VW Beetle. Americans are usually pretty bulky, but practical thinkers. If you have large cars in your selection, but no small ones? Then you make a small car by sawing off the back of a large one. That's a bit short. But the Gremlin is no less strange by it. And whether it is a four-person car? Whah ... As long as the kids aren't too big, yes.

The AMC Gremlin (1970-1978)

The new subcompact was on a shortened AMC Hornet platform and, from a technical point of view, the almost steeply cropped butt was visually and aerodynamically surprising. The Gremlins from AMC were a lot less invasive than the Gremlins from the movie of the same name from 1984. Gremlins played the lead roles in that horror comedy. And what a gremlin is? A gremlin is a folklorically mischievous creature with Celtic / Irish roots that causes machine malfunctions. Their appearance is disputed. They are often described or depicted as cat-sized creatures with spiky backs, large strange eye claws and spines. In the States, the definition of a gremlin was milder: a gremlin was friendly to friends, but a disaster if it got angry with you.


How good the idea is to name your car there?

Ah: Shakespeare already said it: “What is in a name?” And thinking about design and external beauty is also overrated. In fact, the story goes that the design sketches of the AMC Gremlin by Richard A. Teage, who was the head of the AMC design studio in 1966, were drawn on the back of a couple of puke bags during an air trip. More than 670.000 AMC Gremlins have been made. All in all, that resulted in a car that was only 5 cm longer than the Volkswagen Beetle. And that he vaguely resembled the Studebaker Avanti? That was seen as a plus. Here in NL there are still 5 with MOT on license plate.

With six in line or V8. Or an Audi four-cylinder

The AMC Gremlin was equipped with a six-cylinder as standard, but was also available with a V8. The last two production years, the Gremlin was also available with an Audi two-liter block. The car made a convincing impression on all fronts in its homeland and was the first American car to be sold with a one-year warranty.

In the meantime, good AMC Gremlins are quite rare and have a certain cult value. The most paid is for models with V8 blocks.

The inspiration for this text

Retro Rides in Arnhem (and at FB) is a garage association according to a very well thought out and new concept. The company falls under the name DHZ garages. But the approach is unique. It is a kind of universal garage 2.0 +. In principle, you cannot become a customer or a member of it, you can become a donor. At least: if you have participated a few times and if garage owner / welder Tjalle and the donors find you a suitable pear.

For a monthly donation of € 15 you can come to the key evenings that are held twice a week. The AMC Gremlin we saw there is from Tjalle. He got the car in exchange for a crate of beer plus the promise to make it right again. And there is still work to be done. But the AMC is now OK in terms of welding and undercarriage technology. MOT included. That the thing doesn't look any further? We are working on that. Fresh doors and a new windscreen have already been found. Because promise is guilt.

AMC Gremlin

AMC Gremlin

AMC Gremlin

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