1 of 784: 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360

AMC replaced the venerable Rambler American in 1970 with the Hornet, a more stylish looking compact than its predecessor. Whether inspired by the success Plymouth had with putting a 340 into a Duster or to continue down the performance path the American set with the SC/360, AMC Hornet offered one like the latter for a single year only. Out of 123,300 Hornets that AMC built for 1971, less than 800 were the SC/360. That would include this edition located in Hayward, California. It has seen better days, but the seller says the car used to stink up the place around Oakland. It’s available here on eBay where a Buy It Now price of $11,111 has been set, but you can also float an offer.

When the American gave way for the new-for-1970 AMC Hornet, it marked the end of the Rambler marque in North America. The Hornet nameplate, resurrected from the days of the racy Hudson Hornet, lasted for eight model years, but the platform would serve other AMC brands through the 1980s, like the Concord, Spirit and AWD Eagle. Following in the footsteps of the American SC/360 (and the Rebel Machine the year before), AMC came out with the Hornet SC/360 for 1971. It went around chewing up asphalt with its 360 cubic-inch V-8 that put out 285 hp when the $199 “Go” package was added and gave it a 4-barrel carb and ram-induction. To help distinguish it from the ordinary Hornets of the day, the SC/360 came with styled wheels, body striping and reclining bucket seats. The direct comparison to the Plymouth Duster 340 was inevitable.

This 1971 SC/360 has a bit of a story that goes with it. The seller says the car was owned by a friend’s boss who ran a garage and those guys would regularly soup up their cars for the “Main Street Dragstrip”. This very machine supposedly whooped up on an SS396 Chevelle on a regular basis back in the early 1990s. Some time that same decade, the car went into hibernation and stayed there until recently. The passage of time has not been kind, with rust in places and you can see daylight through the trunk. The blue paint, original or not, has passed the point of no return.

The most noticeable thing with the interior is that the original bucket seats have been swapped out for racing style seats, which apparently worked better for running the quarter-mile. The rest of the interior may be passable. The roll bar speaks volumes regarding the intent of the owner at one time. In stock trim, the SC/360 could do 0-60 in under seven seconds and the quarter in under 15. This particular Hornet likely did much better.

We don’t know what modifications to the engine may have been made over time. It doesn’t currently run, but the seller says the engine will turn by hand. The brakes are weak at best and the gas tank is not serviceable. The car has a 4-speed transmission with no mention if any of the important numbers are matching. The odometer reflects under 77,000 miles, but we don’t know if that’s original.

The SC/360 Hornet was a one-year wonder at a time when rising insurance prices and emerging emission reductions were putting a hurtin’ on the muscle car business. While 10,000 of these cars were allegedly planned, these reasons and probably competition from the likes of the Duster 340 marked the end of the SC/360 at 784 units. Of those, 304 were built with the preferred combination of a 4-speed and a 4-barrel, so perhaps the seller’s car may even be rarer.

If you look around online, these Hornets in primo condition can fetch $60,000, much more the daily drivers would. At the seller’s asking price, how much will it take to get this rough example into that kind of territory? Everybody seems to have a hot Chevelle or Barracuda these days, but not so many AMCs. This car could make quite the statement if brought back to life.

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Comments

  1. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    I would love to do a 90 point restoration on this and drive it until it looks like that again.

    Like 11
  2. Mark Lawson

    I have a hard time gushing over a hornet when there’s a series one E-Type convertible sitting next to it. Priorities…

    Like 6
  3. Troy s

    Well we know it’s got aftermarket valve covers anyways, which was good for a hundred horsepower….ha ha ha, off today I tell ya. I finally got to see one of these at a local car show a year or two ago and I really liked it, surrounded by the usual array of Chevys and Chevrolets. I guess if I went back to 1971 and had a real choice between this, the 340 Duster/Dodge Demon, SS350 Nova, or any number of other high powered machines including the nasty looking Javelin….well,…I just don’t know. Would I have given it a second glance..back then. Cool ride.

    Like 2
  4. Haywood Jublowme

    What the h**l is WRONG with people asking THAT much $$$ for a truly piece of junk & why does anybody pay ANY attention to it!!!!

  5. Superdessucke

    It’s got ’72 taillights, and of course the wrong seats. And it’s caged. But beyond that would be an interesting project, though maybe not for 11.1k.

  6. CCFisher

    What’s an “American SC/360”? Are you referring to the ’69 SC/Rambler?

    Like 4
  7. That AMC Guy

    “The car has a 4-speed transmission with no mention if any of the important numbers are matching.”

    Come on guys, all should know by this time that there is no such thing as “numbers matching” on AMC cars! :)

    Like 7
  8. jerry z

    $60K for a primo one! Didn’t think they were fetching that kind of money. For a California car, this one sure is rough. I’m more in the hatchback version of these cars.

    Like 1
  9. Retiredstig

    The numerological pricing is a bit “unique” . How about $10101? Is that close enough? $01,010? It’s all just so puzzeling.🤔
    $5,432.10 and a bowl of turtle soup.
    For something slightly different-this would be a rather cool car, especially with a 390 or 401, oh yeah baby. Just not for some peculiar price that includes chicken feet and some beads.

  10. Howard A Member

    Yeah, that’s amazing, $11g’s for a beater. These were the “Rodney Dangerfield” of cars, they just got no respect. While in 1970, muscle cars were still alive and well, and AMC had great success with the Javelin, I think they may have overdid it with production and had a lot of V8’s and 4 speeds laying around, along with a glut of Hornets, that weren’t the best sellers anyway, why not combine the 2, with no new tooling. Great idea, but trouble was, AMC didn’t have the fan base of the Big 3, and people bought these, almost as a joke. They were nothing special, every car maker offered something like this, and people killed them with no remorse. Another classic AMC “swing and a miss”, and the plug was pulled early.Looking at production numbers and how many are actually left, one would think this is the “Holy Grail” of AMC cars, and the seller is banking on that, but they never reached “Grail” status. Typical, unappreciated AMC. I think this was one of the coolest AMC’s made and at $2300 bucks, the cheapest muscle car ( $40 bucks cheaper than a 340 Duster, which I’m sure it would “dust”). They did 0-60 in 6.6 sec. and a 1/4 mile in high 14’s, but some easy mods( gearing, tires, exhaust) brought that down to the 13’s. Took down many a stock Camaro or Mustang( Mopar, not so much) to those drivers surprise,,,”What was that?”, I’m sure was said. Still a great find.

    Like 7
    • AMCSTEVE

      Howard I’m surprised you don’t know the history of these cars. They were meant to get around the soaring insurance prices for muscle cars at the time and it worked. Quit knocking things you know nothing about.

      Like 1
  11. scottymac

    Russ,
    The SC/Rambler you refer to a couple of times had a 390, AMC’s biggest engine at the time. In ’71, AMC’s V-8s grew from 290 to 304; 343 to 360; and 390 to 401. The AMC 360 didn’t exist in ’69.

    Like 3
  12. John Ammeter

    I owned a green SC360 for about a year or so…. I agree it was fast but didn’t corner all that well. I took it to a local race track and ran it against a small sports car. He would pass me in the curves but when I got to the straight section of the track he was history…

  13. Perry Dangerfield

    Howard, I’m a Dangerfield, “No respect!” “Take my wife, please!”

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      He was great, my hero, of sorts. For the record, “take my wife” was Henny Youngman.

      Like 2
  14. SC/RAMBLER

    I liked these back in the day,but 11grand for this one is way too much. As others have noted numbers matching for AMC is non-exsisting. A few years ago Car Craft mag. got 285 H.P. out of a 360. And the SC/RAMBLER only came with a 390 not a 360

    Like 1
  15. Russell C

    To a trained eye it’s obvious this is 1 of 304With that said I have seven cars in my classic collection all seven are under 100 total production being a numbers man the buyer of this cannot go wrong.

  16. JoeNYWF64

    May not be amc carpeting.
    What is that rod for with the knob at the end in the passenger footwell?
    Surprised seeing staggered rear shocks & long tube headers.

    • Don P

      Isn’t that a passenger controlled heater door?

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