401 V-8: 1973 AMC Gremlin X + Levi

The Gremlin was the quirky little car that AMC managed to sell more than 670,000 of in the 1970s. One of the coolest versions was the Gremlin X, which could be combined with a Levi’s option package and a V-8. Just like the seller’s car, except someone has pulled the original motor for a 401 instead. So, this car should be able to surprise some Chevelle’s at the stop lights! Located in Lucerne Valley, California, it’s offered by a dealer here on eBay for the classifieds price of $14,995.

AMC was the auto manufacturer that had the knack to make at least two cars out of one. There was the Javelin that also became the AMX. Then there was the Hornet that also became the Gremlin. The latter was AMC’s response to the sub-compact car market that was really starting to take off in the U.S. in the late 1960s. With its larger frame and six-cylinder engines, it wasn’t quite the same as a VW Bug but sold well enough to help keep AMC afloat another decade. Because the Gremlin had a performance advantage over the Japanese and German cars, AMC rolled out the Gremlin X with the largest six-banger they had, wider standard tires, tweaks to the suspension, slot-style wheels, bucket seats from the Javelin, and its own graphics. Then there was the Levi’s interior trim package that included spun nylon upholstery made to look like denim with matching door panels sporting removable map pockets, burnished copper denim rivets and red Levi’s logo tabs.

The seller’s 1973 Gremlin has both these options, the X and Levi packages. The paint is original but a bit thin in a few places. And the Gremlin X stripes are starting to crack. But it’s certainly presentable, and I would have left it that way for a while, but there is some rust in the fenders/rear quarters that should be dealt with before they get worse. Which means some new paint in places; so if you have to spot paint, you might as well do the whole car.

The Levi interior has seen better days as both bucket seats have tears/rips in them. And the carpet on the back side of the rear seat has had it. The other carpeting has been removed, at least in the front, and shows rust-free floors, always a good sign. The car has 106,000 miles on it and doesn’t look to have been abused.

We don’t know which engine the car started life with, but there’s a 401 AMC V-8 there now, complete with a Demon 750 carburetor and a Borg Warner T10 manual transmission. The seller doesn’t elaborate on any other mechanical modifications that have been made but does provide a short video of it idling in the shop. The 401 sounds pretty tame here. Click here to give it a listen!

AMC sold 85,000 Gremlins in 1973. Since the X and Levi packages were options and not series, we don’t know what chunk of that number this car is from. Hagerty pegs a super nice Gremlin at close to $15,000. And you get to add another 20% for the Levi’s package and another 30% for a 304 V-8. When you deduct for the body work and interior rehab that’s needed, you probably get back to $15,000, which is our seller’s price. Imagine that.

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Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    The 401 is cool but considering the rust and destroyed front seats this is wayyyy overpriced

    Like 25
    • Tom

      The interior is a wreck and how about some pics of the undercarriage. Way over priced. But Vinny used to say that there was an ass for every chair!

  2. George Louis Member

    Looks to me like the door scuff plates are missing which leads to ask the question WHAT ELSE IS MISSING?

    Like 3
  3. 57Chevy

    I equate Gremlin’s to the Yugo class! Any Questions?

    Like 1
    • Skorzeny

      I regularly see the Gremlin on worst car lists online, and it pisses me off. They were well built, tough cars with great engines. AMC did a hell of a job with what they had. I’ve worked on Yugos and this is no Yugo. I would love to have this car!

      Like 36
      • DON

        100% agree !!!!!!!!!!!

    • CCFisher

      Yes, I have a question. Why? Gremlins were solidly built and very reliable. Yugos fell apart on the trip across the ocean.

      Like 8
    • AMCFAN

      For the uninformed (there seem to be many) 1973 was the best year for American Motors and the Gremlin. Record profits and quality at its best. First year for the unusual Levis interior option.

      This particular car is an H code 304 with E code 3 spd manual transmission originally. A rare find today and a perfect storm. It would have torque links on the rear pulled out of the parts bin from the 68-70 two seat AMX. All but a few like this were run into the ground long ago.

      The amount of couch potatos who comment on Gremlin’s or Hornet’s on this site through the years always say the same thing. Put a 401 in er! It has been done here. The easiest swap imaginable.

      The cars condition body and interior is consistent with with an all original unmolested car that has been sitting out in a hot dry climate. The minimal rust is consistent with the rear tires kicking up gravel on the rear wheel house. It wasn’t sealed or undercoated. Cars like this in the rust belt were gone by the 1980’s With a little work on the interior and some repo period Polyglas tires you would have a winner here. The price isn’t too far off. Lowly Gremlins do sell in the $20K and above range today.

      Sounds like 57Chevy above got his feelings hurt being parked next to the only Gremlin at a car show. Interestingly the same thing would happen to him with a Yugo. No question about it.

      Like 14
      • Ed Taylor

        I went to a show on 9/19/2020 and there was one of these there…X and Levi option but the exterior was white, sharp looking little car!!!

        Like 3
    • John

      Yeah-what are your qualifications?

  4. That AMC Guy

    A major difference is that the Gremlin had reliability at least as good as most domestic cars of the time. A decently-optioned Gremlin could even be pretty pleasant to drive.

    Like 17
    • petemcgee

      Wife had a 258 Gremlin that was a rolling anvil. Couldn’t kill it. The dash was chintzy, but the mechanicals were very robust.
      Later I had a 72 Gremlin X with 401 and T-10 4 speed. It was a very fun little car and surprisingly comfortable, even for at 6’4″.

      Like 13
  5. Phlathead Phil 🚗🇺🇸

    Now wait a minute, why would any gear head pay this much dinero for such a dingo? I mean do the math… you pay around 15k for it and then have body, paint and interior work to do.

    That’s an easy 5k or more? At what cost is your time, labor and frustration ?

    Can you sell it for $20,000+? Probably not no matter what kind of mill it has.

    And the sticker? Who cares.?

    A fair price is $5,000.00 IMHO. Then do the fixes, and list it for 12-13k and HOPE you get lucky.

    Like 7
    • Rick Buckenberger

      I agree. $5000 would be a fair price. Needs to much work.

  6. Howard A Member

    Not abused? Hold the phone, how could you NOT abuse this car? The fact it held up to multitude of power shifts, tells you right there, they were tough little cars. Designed for a 6, even a 401 doesn’t tear it apart. Temptation would be too great. With no apparent markings, I guarantee, you’ll surprise someone that just plunked down $50g’s on a new Camaro, or whatever. It’s no drag car, as I’d think traction would be the biggest problem, if you could get it to hook up, be a low 13 machine easy but for a thrill from 1st street to 2nd street, be a blast, but, ( aw, why is there always a “but”) , gonna cost ya’. Seeing as many Gremlins as I have in Wisconsin, I’d have a hard time paying 5 figures for one, but fun to see them still out there. Great find.

    Like 2
  7. Arby

    If I want to see Levi’s ripped in the seat, I want them to be on a girl!

    Like 15
    • Phlathead Phil

      Now that’s an idea with Horse Power!!!🐴

      Like 1
  8. AMCFAN

    Agree Howard. I remember picking them up for $100-$500 all day long back in the early 1980’s. A lot has changed and it’s hard to digest prices for vintage cars now. All vintage cars. Because we are older and (wiser) It’s hard for me to think in reality that $14K is a good or bad price. Find a California Gremlin for one thing. Find it with a factory V8 and manual. Find a good 401 engine ($1500-$8000) etc etc. Break it down it isn’t hard to digest. That being said If it is what you want why would price ever be a factor? It shouldn’t. We live once.

    Like 5
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Loved my 74 Gremlin X 258 3 speed manual.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  10. Miguel

    If this car was in pristine condition I could see the asking, but I don’t want to pay the finished price for a project car.

    I am going to assume the engine needs work just like the rest of the car, so what are you really paying for here? The VIN?

    Like 1
    • AMCFAN

      You are getting a lot. I will break it down, One Gremlin body with solid floors hood doors and fenders that needs no work other than sanding and prep. This is an original paint car that happens to be a V8 manual shift. That is a rare find. It already has the specific items needed for a V8. Last year for tiny bumpers.

      A core 401 is $1500-$2500. Buy one rebuilt ready to drop in $7000-$8000. The price went up due to all the Jeeper Creepers. Then $500. + for a Super T10 and shifter. That is only the tip. It has bucket seats and factory X package too.

      This car is for sale by a collectadealer on ebay. That should say it all to everyone. The price is an ASKING price. He can ask anything he wants. The real price in my opinion is $7000-$10,000. and thats what should buy it from said dealer.

  11. Jeff58

    I had a 72 Gremlin X , 258 with a 3 speed on the floor , drove it all through high school. Very tough and dependable , I hated it then but now I wish I would of kept it.

  12. Jim

    What is this seller smoking? 15 grand for a rust bucket with torn up upholstery? Bwahahahaha!!

  13. Randy M

    I learned to drive a stick in a 304 3spd Gremlin and it was a mean little car and would suprise a lot of people. I wouldn’t mind having one today for a litle fun but I am and will always be a Mustang guy.

  14. AMCFAN

    It has to be me to bring it up but for fun I inquired about it after the collectacardealer ended the posting on ebay. Guess what? IT SOLD

    With being picked up by this site there was a pending deal within the first day. A testament to the power of advertising. Seems the buyer didn’t pay any attention to the GM guys slamming it.

    Good for him and the perfect storm of a Gremlin

    Like 1
  15. Cerno

    This could be a car worth investigating a bit !!! I don’t know if the person knows what they have but it could be a XR model that did come with a 401 and had production levels in the single digits in 72 don’t know if that carried into 73 with the gas crunch and smog additions . 72 was the best looking year for these cars. I remember seeing them new with the Levi interiors and that neat little sticker saying just that . Way cooler then a Pinto or Chevette if you dig those

    Like 2
    • 57Chevy

      I put them in the same class as the Pinto & Chevette!!!! JUNK!!!

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