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62k Mile Survivor: 1974 AMC Hornet Sedan

American Motors brought back the Hornet name in 1970 for its new compact that replaced the aged American. That change also brought an end to the use of the Rambler moniker. The car would remain in production through 1977 and then morphed into the Concord for the 1980s. This ’74 Hornet is a rather basic sedan and looks like a survivor at 62,500 miles. Perhaps only needing new carpeting, it’s available here on craigslist and in Prunedale, California for $5,000. Kudos to Rocoo B. for this vintage tip!

Perhaps more memorable than the Hornet was its spawn, the quirky Gremlin with the chopped-off rear end. The Hornet was little changed over its single generation, with 1974 bringing bigger bumpers fore and aft as did the rest of the industry. The car got its 15 minutes by being the focus of an unusual car stunt in the 1974 James Bond flick, The Man With The Golden Gun. Total production that year was 186,000 units of which 30,000 were 4-door sedans like the seller’s car. The hatchback was the most popular at 55,000 copies.

This ’74 Hornet comes across as grandma or grandpa’s car with four doors and a six-cylinder engine (258 cubic inches). With an automatic transmission, it’s said to run well and has power steering and brakes. For the standards of the day, this would have been a fairly economical car to drive and may have gotten a sales boost thanks to the 1973 OPEC oil embargo and the subsequent increase in gas prices.

The body and paint look good, though the beige color isn’t the most thrilling. The interior presents well enough, but the seller is going to need to install a new set of carpets. The vehicle is currently registered, so it must be at least occasionally used. The seller will consider a trade but doesn’t hint at his/her interests. If you’re looking for a vintage car to start collecting, you could do worse than an AMC Hornet. But it’s probably not the most exciting choice out there.


  1. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    Plain Jane, sorry.

    But I need to ask, why was a front bench seat so prevalent in the US?

    Only the most basic cars here in Aus had front bench seats, late 60’s, very very early 70’s

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Stan

      Seats 6, sleeps 2 Davey. 🙌

      Like 9
      • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

        Thanks for the info.

        Like 3
      • Avatar photo JAMES. Wesley HOBKIRK

        We make more people in this country…bench seats help

        Like 6
    • Avatar photo Mark

      And this is as basic as they came but still seated 6.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

        Not even our fairlanes post 1969 came with bench sears.
        It seems strange to my Aussie eyes that muscle cars and high end cars had bench seats.
        Just saying.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Steve R

      For a long time manufacturers highlighted in their advertising the number of people a car could seat. A bench seat met two heads, it was cheaper and made the car seem suitable for carrying an extra person.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

        Different worlds I guess, the last car I had with a front bench seat was my HQ Holden, and it came in handy, lol

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Cameron Scott

      Drive-in moves.

      Like 7
    • Avatar photo Neil R Norris

      Hey baby … wanna go for a cruise in my beige Hornet? … wait … where ya goin?

      Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Zen

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an AMC with tilt wheel. It looks like it has factory A/C, but the seller doesn’t specify. I think the price is reasonable for someone who likes it, since it’s in such great condition with low mileage. It’s not for me, but someone else may love it.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Rick

      I owned a ’67 Ambassador DPL convertible and it had a factory tilt wheel.

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Jim

    I love this! These cars which were once common and now are rare excite me much more than another Mustang or Corvette. I hope whoever buys this preserves it!

    Like 17
  4. Avatar photo BA

    Yes it reminds me of my where I came from not only was the Willys plant in Toledo OH just 30 miles away but the union bumper stickers proclaiming “Buy American & keep America working” there was a direct connection to us from the rust belt between if the plant closes you will not have a job. You know the rest of the story.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Dave D

      I had a 72 in high school… Your right Tom, you knew the gal sitting right next to you on the bench seat certainly wasn’t there be cause of your car. I remember my buddies yelling “the brown hornet” from Fat Albert when I pulled up. They would tease me, and I would reply, you can walk if you want. LOL, I had fun in the car. At least mine was a 2 door. Sold it to a gal and her husband for $150.00.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Bob

        I bought a new ’72 for my wife with a 304 V8. It was an SST loaded. Wish I kept it.

        Like 1
  5. Avatar photo TomP

    I remember in the 1970’s nobody cool owned one of these. My super nerdy neighbor with the bald head and hair comb-over had one, and various gray haired granny’s in town had one.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Jack M.

      I guess that you hair is never going to go gray Tom. Just a normal part of aging.

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo Tony Primo

      Most of my buddies have gray hair now or shave their heads. Not one nerd in the bunch. I doubt that you could pull away from any one of them when the stoplight turns green!!!

      Like 5
  6. Avatar photo Everett W.Baynes

    I am the 3rd. Owner of a 1976 Hornet,2 door,6 cylinder, automatic, absolutely rust free,with 113,000 miles,driven once a week with clean title in my name and I’m 66 years old.How can I add a picture?

    Like 11
  7. Avatar photo Bob C.

    Good, solid, and reliable people movers. Nothing fancy, but a good value at the time.

    Like 8
  8. Avatar photo Azzura Member

    Plain Vanilla!

    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Pete Phillips

    That’s a very well-equipped Hornet: Power steering; power brakes, factory A/C, automatic transmission, and tilt steering wheel.

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo That AMC guy

    I used to own a ’75 Sportabout that color, with the same interior. If you spend more than 15 or 20 minutes in that wretched bench seat you’ll get to be best friends with your chiropractor! I installed seats out of a wrecked Concord in my Hornet which made a world of difference. They just bolted right into place.

    I see the factory radio has been removed but at least the dash has not been cut up to fit an aftermarket unit. There’s something odd with the wiper switch knob, looks like round chrome but should be soft-touch with kind of a squared-off oval shape to it.

    Grille and headlight surrounds have been painted in a somewhat non-factory manner, and it looks like the plastic Hornet emblem for the hood is missing, which is typical on these. Also it appears that someone pasted woodgrain shelf paper on the glovebox door.

    The tilt steering column was sourced from GM and might suffer from the malady of floppiness those are prone to due to bolts inside loosening up over time.

    Overall if this car is in good mechanical shape with no significant rust it could be a nice driver for the money, with the bonus for those stuck in California that no “smog” check is needed – this car is a ticket out from under the CARB racket.

    Like 6
  11. Avatar photo Jon

    AMC were good cars. I had 2 Rambler Americans, one 67′ stick and one 68′ auto 199 cu.in. great mileage, easy to work on. Would love to find another…

    Like 0

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