Angry Hornet! 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360 Ram Air 4-Speed

If angry hornets invade the world in 2020, I hope they’re all like this one! Offered as one of 306 factory Ram-Air four-speeds equipped with the 360 cid (5.9L) V8, this 1971 American Motors Corporation Hornet SC/360 in Newington, Connecticut would have packed a viscous sting when new. Those stains emanating from the door crevices may look like rust, but they’re actually signs of progress. After repairing the rusty metal, a prior owner sprayed the door-jambs in the original Mustard Yellow hue. Stored since ’85, this AMC seeks a new owner here on eBay where over ten bids have set the market value above $9000.

Like most AMC products, the Hornet is unlikely to be mistaken for another car. Individuality came baked in! The killer 360 motor and the shocking Mustard Yellow paint would have made this two-door compact impossible to ignore. Hemmings says the “61” in the fifth and sixth digits of this car’s VIN confirm the SC/360 package.

While the seller was told the fewer-than-27,000 miles on the odometer are original, a difference in wear between the driver and passenger’s seats suggest 127k. Either way the upholstery will need to be replaced, hopefully as close to stock as possible. The Hurst shifter was optional even to the Ram-Air package, according to lov2xlr8.no. Only a couple of rust areas remain as described in the listing.

The SC/360 came standard with a two-barrel 360 making 245 HP, but this one features a numbers-matching four-barrel Ram-Air version making 285 HP. Though not stock, the performance parts date to the ’70s according to the seller, and the new owner can consider going all-stock or keeping the period mods. The only Hornet I have experienced drew power from a 258 cid inline six-cylinder engine, and that I6 remained vibration-free even at 258,000 miles, so much so that a friend of mine once re-keyed it while waiting for a stoplight to turn green, because he thought it had stalled. This V8 may not be silky smooth, but it will surely kick you in the pants once sorted. Can you see yourself rowing through the gears in this mad Hornet?

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Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice one, Todd! What do you mean “if” angry hornets invade, given what 2020 has been like it’ll be when they invade. (not to mention the murder hornets). That would be one of a handful of halo AMC cars for me. Nice!

    4
  2. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    True, Scotty. I prefer hornet encounters of the vehicular kind! If I bought this one I’d have to source a matching mustard paisley shirt with an ascot and purple corduroys. Yeah, baby!

    12
  3. nlpnt

    Interesting wear on the seats; they didn’t tear on the cloth/vinyl seam, but the cloth unraveled.

    1
  4. Steve R

    I like it. I’d do a cosmetic restoration and leave the period performance parts in place.

    Steve R

    8
  5. Howard A Member

    The author doesn’t say what an important car this is/was ( unless I missed it), but this, to AMC fans, is literally the Holy Grail of AMC’s. This was one of the last gasps at a muscle car. It, at the time, was nothing special, a basic Hornet with a big motor and 4 speed. Yep, it had all the qualifications, too bad it was too late. I think the owners, at the time, had fun blowing the doors off of Mustangs and Novas, but few realized what they had, and trashed these cars, as shown. They were cheap ( $2,663), cheaper than a 340 Duster, which was about the cheapest. They weren’t unusually fast, ( mid 14’s in the 1/4) but you couldn’t find more bang for your buck, than these. The public was not convinced, and was gone for ’72,,,and with it, the muscle car era,,,forever. Great find.

    16
    • AMCSTEVE

      NOT the holy Grail for AMC. 71 Javelin/AMX 401 4 SPEED, The Machine, SC/Rambler, Rouge V8 4 SPEED, Randall Gremlins, 74 401 4 SPEED Matador are all more desired than these and harder to come by.

      6
  6. Joe Defelice

    Ah, from the home of the Berlin Turnpike!!! My 2nd home for much of the ’80’s. Hell, I’d be there 7 nights a week. My regular spot was the Mr. Donut, right next door to Mc D’s.. The “squirrels” would make their bets in the Mc D’s lot, line up right in front of the donut shop, and race to the next light (
    the 1/4 mile mark). Cruising the Pike was a CT institution back then. It’s pretty much dead now. :( I’ve seen a lot of cars out there. I don’t recall any Hornets, so no telling where it migrated from.

    1
    • FordGuy1972

      I remember the Pike back in the late ’70s-early ’80s very well, Joe. Cruisin’ from McDonalds to Burger King and back again. I had a ’72 Ford Custom with a 429 PI, an ex-State police cruiser. It was a model still in use with the State police at the time and I’d scare a lot of hotrodders by sneaking up on them when they lined up at a light to race. Mine had the whip antenna, an official State Police sign (I found it in the car when I bought it) and a PA set up along with a flashing blue dash light. I’d come behind hot cars at the lights and as soon as the lights went green hit the dash light and start hollering at them over the PA. It’s a wonder me and my buddy never got arrested but we had a lot of fun acting the fool. I hung out there with my ’66 GTO, ’70 Nova SS and a ’70 Ranchero GT for a few years, too. The Pike is too built up for that sort of foolishness these days. Fun times back in the day when we were young and dumb.

      4
      • Mike Brown

        We could get away with that sort of thing back then. Not today though…unless it’s a REALLY small town where everybody knows everybody. I’m fortunate enough to still live in a town like that. The 4 police officers that we have also have rods and bikes.

        1
  7. Retiredstig Member

    While I would take the Rebel Machine that was featured earlier in preference to this, it would be quite straightforward to make this a 390 or 401 with 400 plus HP. The joy of embarrassing Mustang, Camaro or Mopar drivers by being sent off by an AMC Hornet!

    3
  8. jerry z

    I’ve never seen a yellow SC360 Hornet. This is probably the cheapest bang for your bucks AMC out there.

    Curious if the SC360 ever came on the fastback version if they made them in ’71.

    • bone

      No, the fastbacks came out in 73 , but you could get a 304 with them ,

      1
      • RC Paulsen

        Actually, you could get a 360 in any Hornet, including the wagon, from 1972 through at least 1974. I was only able to verify availability for those years. I know it eventually disappeared from the option list, but I’m not sure when. Only the 2-bbl version could be ordered from the factory, but a 4-bbl was available as a dealer-installed option.

        1
  9. Troy s

    Man, now there’s a hot machine you don’t see everyday! Very rare to see one of these, probably pretty rare back then too.

    2
  10. Mitchell Ross

    You can take any Hornet and put a 401 in it, putting a 401 in an SC360 would be like putting a 351 into a Boss 302.

    3
    • Howard A Member

      That’s true, but you’d miss what this car represented. I was there in the early ’70’s, and the muscle car was fading, ,,fast, and like it or not, the car makers made a fortune. They were big money makers, because the cars themselves were really cheapies with big motors and 4 speeds. AMC had some thoughtful people in charge around this time,, and this car was all “off the shelf” parts, and was cheap to make for AMC. It was the beginning of the end, and this car was one of them, from the most unlikely source. I don’t think people realize, in 20 years, people will say, “what was an AMC SC360?” One year offerings, no matter what kind, deserve special recognition,,,,I think.

      5
  11. TimM

    Talk about a sleeper!! This is the ultimate sleeper no one would ever expect a car like this to be housing a 360 under the hood!!

    3
  12. don

    I think AMC missed the mark on this car. Sure the muscle car market was shrinking , but they sold plenty of Duster 340s , SS Novas, etc. in the same time period . I’ve always wondered what could have been if AMC had done a massive ad campaign with their muscle car entries as Mopar did with their “rapid transit system” , and then seeing what Hyundai used for a name on their cars , I think AMC should have called it the the Hornet Stinger instead of SC360.

    3
  13. RC Paulsen

    The only disappointment I have with the SC/360 is that it wasn’t an SC/401. I read recently that AMC considered building that instead, but with muscle cars waning, and a commitment to slipping in beneath the insurance surcharge, that proposal was DOA. Too bad.

    3
  14. Classic Steel

    I like it but no room in the garage or two deep storage unit to store.

    I would put back with original paint and interior to best parts available on or get a upholstery shop remake to original specs.
    The only addition would be a small 6”x7” murder hornet above or below the front Hornet emblems. (Similar but smaller than mopes S Bee)
    I guess sorry AMC filks 😜
    The rest would stay the same.

    This would be a great sleeper to have tuned up with 3” exhaust pipes to back. Pump up the engine some then tighten up motor mounts, drive and suspension to run the ponies on weekends.😉.

    • AMCSTEVE

      AMC engines don’t do well with 3 inch exhaust. 21/4 supplies the back pressure needed to perform well.

  15. mainlymuscle

    This is AMC day here at BF,which is GREAT !
    I like these SC/Hornets a lot,and this one seems like a nice start.I’d really want to check the metal out to see what’s under the primer.Super rare cars,but restored examples are not expensive enough to justify going overboard on restoration.

    1
  16. Vince H

    cool car. I would put a coat of primer on it. Do something with the seats and enjoy it.

  17. Eddie Stakes

    There were 784 total production of 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360s with 131 known to still exist in 2020. 1/2 the production of the 69 Hurst SC/Rambler, 1/3rd of production of 1970 Rebel Machine. While not a holy grail it is in Top Five. The 69 SS/AMX & 70 Trans Am Javelin quickly come to mind. Possibly 71 base 401 Z code Javelins, only 97 built, but most went to Alabama Police if not all. Maybe 71 Matador Machine, 68 of those built.
    http://www.planethoustonamx.com/stuff/matador_machine.htm

    You can check out the AC/360 Registry on my site here http://www.planethoustonamx.com/sc360/sc_registry.htm to learn more about the angry Hornets. There are other oddities aMC build like 360V8 Gucci Hornet wagons, four door and hatchbacks in 73-75 that fly under radar. To answer way above, no AMC never built a SC/360 Hornet “wagon” or anything after 1971 SC/360 Hornet 2dr. But as mentioned above also, 360V8s, none with four speed, just automatics, built in 72-75. You can see the figures of how many under PRODUCTION FIGURES on my site at http://www.planethoustonamx.com

    There as I write three SC/360s for sale besides this one, quite rare, a beautiful example just sold for $34,000 in a North Carolina auction before all the coronavirus mess happened. Hope this one finds a home

    2
  18. z28th1s

    My all-time favorite AMC car by far!

    A guy in my hometown growing up had two of these cars. Both were 4 speeds, one was stock and the other one was built. The modified car was pretty well known around town for being a pretty quick car!

    1
  19. Howard A Member

    Thanks RC, Jessie has been notified. We don’t need people like that in our “club”. I’ve been the Barn Finds “punching bag” before, and the good folks far outweigh the bad. This is my favorite site, and I’m not going anywhere.

  20. Stevieg Member

    If the car weren’t as relatively solid & restorable as it is, it would be fun to take the drivetrain & all related parts & install them in the brown woodgrain wagon posted earlier. What a sleeper that would be!

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