$2,500 Hatchback: 1974 AMC Hornet

It ain’t no Hornet SC/360, but this 1974 AMC Hornet hatchback is a fraction of the price at $2,500 or offer. I threw in the “or offer” part, because we all know that 99% of humans who buy vehicles try to work on the price a bit with the seller This hatchback Hornet is on Craigslist in Apple Valley, California. Thanks to Pat L. for hunting down this Hornet!

On the 1971 Hornet SC/360 story, jdjonesdr mentioned that AMC should have made the SC/360 in a fastback version and I also think they should have done that. For $2,500 maybe this could be an SC/360 tribute car.

You can see that this example looks pretty solid with no visible rust to speak of and just a few dings here and there. It seems strange that out of 19 colors available for the Hornet in 1974 the original owner chose fawn beige. The seller is pretty much AWOL on any info about the car, this is what they have written in the ad, “I have this 1974 AMC Hornet that i’m letting go:( Its a complete car with nothing missing. Car fires up. call for any ????” But, on the other hand, they have a wealth of good photos unlike the vast majority of other Craigslist ads so kudos to them for providing so many photos!

I’m not sure what happened to the passenger side of the dash, but other than that, this interior looks much nicer than I thought it would in a $2,500, 43-year old car. The seats appear to be almost like new, front and rear. AMC made over 55,000 Hornet hatchbacks in 1974 but out of 23 great photos in this listing there isn’t one photo with the hatchback open in this car. I’m guessing that maybe the lift struts are worn out. If the hatchback area looks as good as the rest of the interior does, and the body does, this could be a nice find.

This isn’t a monster V8, unfortunately, but I believe that this is the base 232 straight-six which would have had around 100 hp. The seller says that the “car fires up”, so you’ve got that goin’ for ya. What are your thoughts on this base Hornet hatchback for $2,500 compared to the SC/360 Hornet for several times that amount?


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  1. Rabbit

    Considering the car has A/C, P/S & P/B, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that was the 258, which was peppy enough. The car appears to be in great shape, except for the dings & minimal rust. Cleaning this one up should be easy, & if it’s a strong runner (no reason for an AMC 6 not to be), it’s well worth the asking price. I’m just wondering why it’s in ‘Neutral’ with a rock blocking the wheel. If it were about 3000 miles closer, I’d be all over it.

    Like 1
    • Rabbit

      Correction: It’s only in neutral in pics 20 & 21. Odd. Regardless, I’m waiting until a decent hour & making that phone call.

  2. Rock On Member

    I’m thinking that the owner transported something long in the car that was sticking out of the hatch and rubbing on the dash. An afternoon with some fine sandpaper and some spray paint would make that scratch disappear. Nice find.

    Like 2
    • Adam T45 Staff

      I was thinking something similar Rock On. Alternatively, some bright spark has placed a sticker of some description on the dashboard, and the seller has made half an effort to remove it.

      As for the colour (I’m in Australia, so pardon the spelling): About 30 years ago there was a redneck joke doing the rounds here in Australia and it went like this. “I built me a street rod. I painted it Candy Apple Beige….and I even used a new brush!”

    • Car nut from Wpg Member

      Drug dog scratching on the glove box door?

      Like 1
    • Jeremy

      Possibly a sloppy attempt to remove a sticker or decal?

      Like 1
  3. Blindmarc

    It hasn’t been on the road for awhile, since it has blue plates…..

    • Steve65

      The blue plate just means it hasn’t been registered outside of California. It’s the year sticker in the upper right corner that tells you the last time it was on the road, if you could read it. I can’t remember what years were red.

  4. JACKinNWPA Jack in NW PA Member

    Why oh why am I on the other side of the continent ?

    • Steve65

      To save you from temptation.

      Like 1
  5. slickb

    change tires and drive

  6. Steve65

    When the ad says something like “fires right up”, my immediate response is “so why won’t it drive?” People don’t generally park fully functional cars for years.

  7. jdjonesdr

    I’d love to have it as is.

    Like 1
  8. 68custom

    Man when I saw it I was hoping for a 304/3 speed manual but it is a nice ride regardless. 258s respond well to mods and you could always make a crazy sleeper out of it motivated by a LS!
    the Mustang wheels look like factory equipment!

  9. John Newell

    A 401 with a 727 behind it would bolt right in. After that a Ford 9″ and you’re off to the races. THAT would be a sleeper especially with the column shift.

    The rock in the photo is just sitting there. It isn’t stopping the car from going anywhere.

    Like 2
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Sounds like something Freud would say –
      “Sometimes a rock is just a rock”.

    • MB

      Sorry John, will not “bolt right it” Front crossmember with motor mount pads for V/8 required. Pretty rare part. Add in the kickdown/throtle pressure linkage for transmission and various mounting brackets and it turns into a treasure hunt of epic proportions. Years ago I converted my 74 Hornet 360 V/8 to a 258 six after I caught my wife doing burnouts with it….

      • John Newell

        Not if you know the right people. Brackets you fabricate if you have to. Yes difficult if you don’t have a sample to work from.

        I didn’t realize crossmember was so different from a Javelin or even an American.

        I don’t understand why a crossmember from a V8 Gremlin wouldn’t bolt in along with the block. They are around. In a pinch why couldn’t the stock one be beefed up?

        Like 1
      • MB

        John A V/8 Gremlin or Hornet front crossmember would work, maybe where you are V/8 Hornets and Gemlins are just laying around all over the place, But were I am from they were and are still pretty rare. Here is my friends 72 Gremlin with my Rebel Machine’s 390 in it….Taken about 44 years ago

        Like 2

      Actually you would need a small body V-8 crossmember and then the 401 would bolt right in.

      Like 1
  10. txchief

    It’s got an AC compressor but no vents. I bet those under dash AC vent units are hard to find.

    • That AMC Guy

      I think I still have one that color laying around in the garage from a ’75 Hornet I owned years ago. It’s a parcel shelf with AC vents on the ends.

  11. Rabbit

    Actually…..as I recall, these cars (and Gremlins) had a shelf under the dash, & that’s where the A/C vents were. This one’s appears to be missing.

    • darrun

      The vents were in the package tray. That should have been just the outlets. The AC should work without them.

  12. AF

    Junkyard Dog. Drive it like you stole it and ditch it when it dies. Climb out, pull tags and chuck the keys.

  13. Chris Londish Member

    There might have been 55000 built how many exist today in this condition I’d snap it up simply for the rarity and fix up the blemishes and watch it appreciate

  14. David Miraglia

    I agree, its a good investment. And a good daily driver

  15. Troy s

    Don’t grab me like that sc360 that was on here. This was basic transportation for whoever bought it new, not a bad choice at all compared to other basic transportation cars in ’74, but I’d like to see some attitude built into it now.

  16. Davey

    Lots of rust on trunk lid Center and corners. Rear left bumper has a twist to it.

  17. Rob Pasquinucci

    What’s with the passenger mirror on the fender?

  18. fish56

    Rust inside the doors, too.
    Still a nice car, but no way rust free, maybe free rust is more true.

    Like 1
  19. Car nut from Wpg Member

    In pic 18 does anyone know what’s with the bar above the back seat? World’s weirdest oh $&*t handle?

    • Steve65

      Looks to me like a shower curtain rod.

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      That’s for hanging your shirts/pants,etc.,
      when you travel.You used to see older people
      using them.

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Thanks for the laugh angliagt, I have one hanging in the back of my Grand Cherokee now. I use it to hang my shirts on after I do laundry. I will remove it today, take care, Mike.

  20. jesus bortoni

    I guess I’m showing my age but I’d do her! It really is a car that would be invisible in traffic. I like it.

    • Rabbit

      We used to call that “Strategic Invisibility”. Hornets, Novas, Valiants, Darts….. In the right colors, nobody noticed you in these cars, including the cops, which guaranteed you an extra 5 MPH over the posted limit.

  21. John Newell

    I guess I am spoiled. Recently passed on a 360 4 speed Gremlin. Couldn’t raise the cash fast enough. Never thought they were that rare.

  22. Mitch Ross Member

    If this had a stick, i would be on my way to California.

  23. Eddie Stakes

    Hatchbacks were made from 1973 to into early 1980s, depends on mode, Hornet & Concord. This one is a exceptional looking one and for those of you brand X owners looking at it, many, many parts interchange with: 70-77 Hornet, 70-78 Gremlin, 78-83 Concord, 79-83 Spirit & 80-88 Eagle. For instance windshield interchanges all the way across board above models.

    There is a rather rare Hornet 304 4 door for sale right now in Reno craigslist https://reno.craigslist.org/cto/d/1970-amc-hornet-sstautomatic/6384093303.html

    I reproduced the SC/360 ram air scoop (original ones for 71 SC/360 made by Rockwell, yes, the aircraft people in 1970)

    but I reproduced the SC/360 Hornet scoop years ago and only do about 10-20 of them per calendar year

    The hatchback owners could order a Group 15 Accessory tent
    like this 77 AMX
    when you see a Hornet hatchback at National meet, sometimes these displayed, be sure to go take a look at those, make sure no one sleeping inside though.

    Yes, you CAN make a “SC/360 Hatchback” and while no factory ones built, AMC “DID” build factory 360 V8 Hornet hatchbacks, Sportabout wagons and two and four door models from 73 into early 75. Some of the wagons were Gucci http://www.planethoustonamx.com/amc_ads/72_gucci_hornet.jpg and seeing a Gucci Hornet wagon, whether 232-6 or formidable AMC 360/V8 2bbl is a real treat.

    John, no Gremlin left Kenosha with a 360V8. Hornet, yes, Gremlin no, only could get 304 2barrels in Gremlin Series from 1972-76. See PRODUCTION FIGURES on my site. Happy Hunting Eddie Stakes’ Planet Houston AMX

    Like 1

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